When my brother was in town for a visit this summer, he spent some time musing about childhood experiences he'd like to share with his own sons. One memory was of running through grassy fields and hearing many grasshoppers whirring away in all directions.
I wish he could have been along last week when I walked up to the prairie plantings on campus and heard the dry patter of grasshoppers launching off, so many that it sounded like a brief hard rain shower.
I also had to think of him another morning when I checked out the cone flowers pictured above. I discovered a grasshopper sluggish enough in the morning coolness that it didn't jump and I was able to get a photo. And then I spotted another, and another, and another, all shades from grass green to traditional grasshopper brown. And they were all in nearly the same position, sunning their backs.
This one is for you, Don. How many grasshoppers can you spot?
More patterns from the prairie plantings, mostly featuring a plant I don't remember seeing before --
I'm not sure whether this last one is a mind-reading act or a friendly head massage.
The prairie plantings on campus are full of color. Earlier this summer, the campus staff mowed the plantings by the music center and the dorms, hoping to delay the blooming so that students -- most of whom aren't around in July -- would be able to enjoy the show when they return to campus. The plantings by the railroad are tall and exuberantly in full bloom; the mowed areas are shorter but still splashed with color, and catching the light in their own quiet way.
Tuesday was a typical northern Indiana, transition-into-winter day, one that could make you gloomy just looking out the window. Warm though, with a forecast for below-freezing temperatures the rest of the week, so I found time to go out with my camera.
It took about half the walk, heading out from the house, to shed the writing project I had been working on. The scenery didn't help -- bare tree branches, gray skies, prairie plantings full of blackened, weedy stems. I didn't even bother pulling my camera out of my pocket.
When I got to the southwest corner of campus, a couple little rusty-capped sparrows flew up from the grasses to take refuge in nearby bushes. They caught my wandering attention. I listened to them sing and started looking more closely at the weeds and grasses nearby. I found silver and gold, and evidence that the birds had been enjoying the banquet spread out before them.
Here's some color to store up for the gray winter days ahead -- yellow highlights spotted amidst the prairie plantings on campus this past week.
Coneflower, bee balm, daisies, foxglove, butterfly weed, grasses -- the summer prairie is at its most colorful. The bees and the finches are loving it, as am I.
The coreopsis are still gilding the prairie plantings on campus, but the arrival of the next batch of performers is imminent -- there are buds everywhere you look.
Judy M tells me that another name for the spiderwort is Trinity Flower -- for obvious reasons. They continue to bloom amidst the prairie plantings on campus, where I've been enjoying the interplay of light and shadow on green leaves and flowers. There are a host of buds just about to burst into bloom -- an ever-changing canvas.
The prairie plantings on campus are full of golden sunshine right now -- the golden yellows of coreopsis, or tickseed, and the bright light of June sunshine through green leaves. There are green flames everywhere and in an amazing variety of shapes.
The prairie plantings on campus are mostly yellow with tickseed at the moment. I continue to be intrigued by the occasional purple spiderwort -- with thanks to Barbara T. for alerting me to the name of this native plant. Whatever its name, it seems to be celebrating light and springtime.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"