Tag Archives: kickapoo mud creek nature conservancy

Prairie Bugs and Blooms

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” — John Muir

It’s August. The prairie shimmers with heat.

IMG_7607.jpg

 

Even the cumulus clouds fail to dial down the temperature and humidity.

IMG_7559

 

Dragonflies wiggle their bodies into cooler positions.

P1000025

As the temperatures rise, big bluestem unfolds seedheads. You can see where it gets its nickname, “turkey foot.” Autumn seems to draw closer.

 

Blazing stars light their torches, showing the way to a new season ahead.

P1000033

 

Tiny black bugs beetle their way across the blooms. When I shake a flower spike, there’s a tap-tap-tap of bugs falling into the tallgrass, like the patter of raindrops.

P1000020

 

Some of my friends won’t walk with me on the prairie in August. “Too many bugs.”

Most of us find it easier to appreciate blooms…

IMG_7141

 

…than to enjoy the complex world of insects.

IMG_4989

Some people, longing for a insect-free yard, even contract for companies to spray and destroy everything that flies, crawls, creeps, or hops across their lawn.

But when we realize that there is a butterfly effect–that small actions can have a big influence on all living things…

IMG_7518 (1)

…that everything is related, we consider this:

IMG_7562.jpg

 

The bugs and blooms need each other to exist. When we lose one living thing, others go with it.

IMG_7496 (1)

Then, we begin to appreciate the bugs of late summer along with the flowers.

Yes, we may brush a few insects off our clothes, and there might be a crawly critter lurking behind a petal or two.

IMG_7404

 

But without bugs, we wouldn’t have blooms.

And who would want to live in a world without flowers?

IMG_8801

 

****

The opening quote is by John Muir (1838-1914) from My First Summer in the Sierra.  Muir was a naturalist, a preservationist, an activist, and the father of our national parks.

All photos copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), The Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; eastern amberwing dragonfly, female (Perithemis tenera), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) unfolding and open, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prairie blazing star, (Liatris pycnostachya), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL;  prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL;  eastern forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; great spangled fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) on beebalm (Monarda fistulosa), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; the tallgrass in August, Kickapoo Mud Creek Nature Conservancy, Oregon, IL; rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus), and some other assorted critters, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana),  Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL;  late August, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL.