Thursday, March 15, 2012
Every time I go to the prairie, I remember that my Australopithecine ancestors evolved on the open savannah. I feel at peace here. Not much on closed-in landscapes. The open ones, more better.
I watch the open spaces, the sun and wind, make their mark on my fellow birders as we collapse one by one in the grass. The Lizard Effect, brought about by early mornings grading into warm noons. It helps people relax when their guides flop down in the grass at the least opportunity. That's the Potholes and Prairies Birding Festival in a nutshell.
How can you stay tense and uptight with vistas like these?
Even the barns are lying down.
and on this warm June day the cattle are taking their bafs.
A coyote prowls, hoping to start up a jackrabbit, as the wind makes whitecaps on a flooded valley. (Those are pelicans behind him).
We visit our favorite farmstead with a grand old barn who is not yet ready to lie down. Nitrophilous lichen paints its roof a delicious cinnabar.
Overhead the odd, insectivorous little Franklin's gulls, a vanishing specialty of the prairie, wheel and cry.
We look through the empty eye of a small house
and climb to a rocky outcrop that's never seen a plow
where the locoweed blooms in rose and purple
and the little white daisy with no name nods
and the rocks are so old and weathered you know they've been here since well before there were hide tipis studding the place
but the same flowers bloom that the Sioux saw
and we are thankful to be here to see them, too.
Can you hear the prairie calling you?
Potholes and Prairies 2012. June 14-18. Be there.