Saturday, April 27, 2013

Home grounds

photo of nesting geese in moonlight at dawn
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for stopping. Although many of the larger lakes are still ice-covered, the Sunrise River pools in Carlos Avery WMA are open water. The pair of geese are still looking or have already picked out a muskrat mound for nest building. One reason the photo's not brighter is that it was taken during that magical time before moonset and sunrise known as dawn. This morning was spent in a much drier location, the sand plain prairie (restoration) in Wild River State Park. The Women's Environmental Initiative sponsored a learning session and hike led by Dave Crawford, Retired DNR Naturalist & current Volunteer Naturalist. It was part of the 2013 Prairie School Series. If any of you, like me, keep thinking that prairies are only found in western Minnesota, please adjust your mental map. They're not in their standard biome, but there are prairies in eastern Minnesota. Some of the pictures taken today will no doubt show up here from time to time. After last week's snow, being out in 70 degree sunshine was a definite culture shock. Actually, that was less of shock than the results of my search for a poem that fit today's report. I found one that fits so well it proves again that no amount of planning will ever replace dumb luck. There's a book of poetry called "County Lines." It's a League of Minnesota Poets anthology of the work of 130 Minnesota poet's from each of 87 counties. It was published in conjunction with our recent sesquicentennial celebration of statehood. In the Chisago County section [Wild River State Park, where the learning session occurred, is in Chisago County], Jane Levin has

ten little blue stems at sunset
the minyan stands tall
bends in unison
whispy heads bob to earth
then sky
            then earth again
whiskers quivering
 For someone who basically doesn't believe in coincidence, I'm at a loss to explain the fit. There were twelve learners, plus the naturalist. I suspect, to varying degrees, wach of us is devoted to the beauty and preservation of natural places. We spent time talking about big and little bluestem grasses whose stems bent in unison in the breeze and whose heads bobbed toward earth, then sky. Perhaps Ms. Levin has visited a prairie in Minnesota? Perhaps in Chisago County. Perhaps not. It's been quite some time since read "County Lines." I didn't consciously remember that poem. I just looked for Chisago County. What do you think about this kind of coincidence? Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.