UK Wildflower Meadows v. Illinois Prairies/ Learning to Appreciate the Subtle

In an article in The Conversation about Roadside Wildflowers, the author states that…

Since the end of World War II, 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been dug up or destroyed. Many won’t remember a time when the countryside was filled with grassland that rippled with rainbows of flowers, but they are likely to recognise the intense yellow glare of pesticide-soaked oilseed rape fields that dominate rural landscapes today.

(See here for the article: http://theconversation.com/roadside-wildflower-meadows-are-springing-up-across-the-uk-and-theyre-helping-wildlife-in-a-big-way-120014)

Here I am in the Midwest USA and I cannot imagine the joy of finding a roadside wildflower meadow! I do try to find parking lot beauty, sky beauty, nature’s beauty wherever I can, but I have yet to find a wildflower meadow.  I do notice lovely small colors in early and late spring, weed like plants in the Midwest that must do for us, but no riot of colors as seen in UK wildflower meadows.

Meadows of flowers? I cannot imagine such joy.

However, I grew up near a native Illinois prairie, but rarely appreciated it. The colors are much more mute, scruffy somehow compared to a wildflower meadow.

Nearby, a group of conservationists at the Morton Arboretum have preserved this mostly now gone natural wonderland, the Illinois Prairie.  I must visit and report back, keeping in mind that no, the colors won’t be as dramatic, but I am practiced in finding beauty.

I have often used this more subtle beauty in my poetry and fiction, and I do appreciate nature’s beauty and healing properties–but admit to loving the dramatic colors of autumn more.

Thanks for reading.  May you find beauty everywhere as well.

 

milkweed in prairie  (Image of milkweed in a prairie from the Creative Commons.)

 

A Nature Walk is Always Appreciated

Even during the short nature walks, I learn something. Today I learned that as everything becomes so green, we do lose some of the spring colors. It’s such a lush time of year!

The Virginia bluebells are no longer in bloom, but some type of small purple wildflower and another pink wildflower are in bloom.

There are still rather exotic looking birds passing through on their way north. Delightful to see the small songbirds, catch a glimpse of the glorious colors of indigo and gold, orange, black, and red.

Soon I won’t be able to do my favorite walk, a beautiful path in a Spruce Forest. Why? Mosquitoes. Let me just say I’ve tried everything, absolutely everything and I am just too popular with the mosquitoes! My favorite path runs along a creek, and mosquitoes certainly love water.

But every time has its beauty, and this is a lush green beautiful time.

Nature and Grief

(From my phone)  And I’m here, still.

...I’m trying hard to keep it together. My husband is pulling me off the ceiling sometimes, as I’m finding I’m having chest pains and horrible urges to sob loudly.

When I see her, I will be cheerful and not dwell on the fact that she is most likely dying and going to die an awful death. But in my alone moments, I don’t handle things so well.

Took a short nature walk today and it really helped. Saw a flying squirrel and an ornate box turtle. The poor turtle was stuck between a rock and a hard place, literally, but got free. The flying squirrel froze when it saw a human. I tried to be still, to disturb it as little as possible.

The walking paths were snow-covered, which is surprising since it is still autumn.

Sitting at home, done with grading, waiting for night to fall. Flashes of red from outside. Three male and three female cardinals picking seeds up from the bush in back of the house. Those brief flashes of red are so beautiful and so life affirming somehow.

I stand up to look outside, and they fly away. They must have been able to sense my presence, perhaps see my shadow.

And it helps. And the sunset helps. And the trees and the birds and friends and loved ones help.

But it is impossible to inoculate yourself from grief. At least I think so, if you are a loving person, the loss of a loved one will hurt greatly.

About 13 to 14 years ago, my family and I suffered the loss of many. Some died from a freak set of accidents, some from cancer, some from old age, etc. But it was so many in a short period of time that I was truly overwhelmed and didn’t get a chance to really mourn the loss of most of them individually.

Of these nine losses, the loss of my best friend, Susan, my godmother, and my mother hurt the most. The others I feel bad that I have not mourned them individually; it was like a collective grief.

So I know I’m going to face a lot of pain, and if you love someone, that’s to be expected.

But not something to be looked forward to.

It’s the price of loving people and getting older, surely.

The cardinals have returned, cautiously picking out seeds from the bush behind the house.

 

And I’m here, still.

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Lest I Forget

Lest I forget. Find beauty even in the quiet of a gloomy day. It’s there. Especially if love is there; I do not take anyone for granted.