I have found it difficult to walk in my prairie these days. It is so dry and brown. Such a short time ago it was awash in brilliant yellows with surprising dots of pink, purple and blue. The asters bloomed in September and were gone almost before I could enjoy them. The Maxmilian sunflowers, so heavy laden with blossoms, they bent over in the wind, now stand tall again, the yellow blooms turned brown, petals crumbling to dust. Do I sound a little depressed? Maybe so. I know it will be months before green shoots and flashy flowers entice me to come everyday to see what ‘s new. Winter is on its way. Since I cannot look at flowers, I find myself drawn to other sights.
The prairie is harboring unexpected creatures. Two cats – one black and one white – stationed themselves along one of the paths this afternoon. I imagine they were waiting for the mice that make winter homes in the underbrush.
One large area in the prairie is completely flat. I’m not knowledgeable in reading animal signs, but this area looks very much as though a deer – maybe more than one – spent the night. Big Blue Stem and Indian grasses, dry as they are, provided shelter from prying eyes.
As always, the prairie encourages me to look closer. Under all the brown, new leaves of Black-eyed Susan, Aster, and Purple Coneflowers plants remain green. Are these new seedlings getting set to take off in spring? I am reminded that much happens underground in a prairie. Perhaps the winter is for putting down roots.
This may be the lesson to take from this prairie season. In fall and winter – prepare and rest, put down roots, get ready for the wild activity of spring and summer.
Spring will come again. With winter rest, I will be ready.