Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Autumn Light Parade

"Good morning sunrise, welcome," I whisper under my breath. "Your warmth and radiance disguise the gathering gales of November and frosty breath of winter looming on the northern horizon." Familiar harbingers, such as wedges of geese, also remain absent. Prolonged drought continues to ravage their playa lake rest stops and forces less familiar flyway detours.

Heartened by azure skies and a gentle southwesterly breeze, Cooper and I weave down game trails and soon relish a sense of harmony with the prairie. I pause to savor the pungent aroma of crushed Fetid Marigolds. The scent, akin to sage, typifies the aromatic essence of prairie wilds. To my left a Northern Harrier glides low and slow just above an array of yucca skeletons. It plunges briefly then takes to the air with prey in its talons.

As I inch forward, noisy launches of Red-winged Grasshoppers divert my attention from the raptor. Crepitations of the hoppers’ wings in flight rattle the serenity, while Texas Trilling Crickets sing harmony. From out of nowhere, a Painted Lady butterfly brushes my cheek and then alights on a Texas Blueweed for a sip of nectar. The winged finery of this colorful lepidopteran begs exaltation. The poet within me obliges with a moment of reflection.

Just ahead on our trail Cooper alerts on a Bullsnake and veers from his intended route. With overnight temperatures in the forties, I surmise this juvenile constrictor has taken advantage of the warm morning and hunts one last meal before settling in for its winter slumber.

A distant train whistle drifts in on the winds, urging me to resume my trek towards the sun. I take a trail less traveled eastward and unwittingly ingress nature’s light parade. Autumn hues dominate. The imminent trials and tribulations of winter adversities sweeten my indulgence in the moment. I rejoice in the magnificent scene. I take a deep breath and rend the air with a joyous shout of, “prairie paradise, just ahead!”

© Ilija Lukić 2011

Snakeweed Master (Cooper)

Rough-Hewn Corsage

Autumn Serenity

Autumn Light Parade

Painted Lady

In The Prairie Milieu (Cooper)

Green Bayonets

Mixed Company

Golden Crownbeard Constellation

Lonesome Llano Trekker (Cooper)

Autumn Gold

Autumn Brush Strokes

Triumvirate Of Crowns

Eyes Of A Hunter (Cooper)

Fetid Marigold

Gentle Flair

Prairie Tale (Bullsnake)

Share The Trail (pituophis catenifer sayi)

Threadleaf Groundsel

Silent Pappi

Scarlet Harmony

Buscando El Llanero Viejo (Cooper)

The Shadow Of Your Smile

Broom Weed

Early Autumn Greenery

Llano Autumn

Ragwort Lantern

Groundsel Foursome

Crownbeard Scepter

Plains Zinnia

False Boneset Puffs

Autumn Shadow

Ballet Company

Light Posts

Think Snow...Not Really (Cooper)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Llano Insectarium III - Early Autumn

The diversity of invertebrate life on the Llano Estacado astounds even seasoned high plains dwellers. Here is a retrospective about the endless magic of the prairie ecosystem.
I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the crawling on my belly, the patient jockeying for position to get my camera within inches of elusive quarry. I want to capture the invertebrate fauna of the Llano in its natural setting. This means researching and then studying my subjects in the field to become familiar with feeding habits and survival tactics.

© Ilija Lukić 2011

Narrow-Winged Sand Grasshopper

Painted Lady On Tansy Asters

Two-Striped Grasshopper Nymph

In The Shadows

Yellow Bear Dew Catcher

Acrea Punk Rocker

Acrea Moth Caterpillar

Making Tracks

Faking Death

Dog-Day Cicada

Texas Trilling Cricket

Wounded High Plains Warrior

Death Becomes Her

Three-Lined Flower Moth

It Takes Two To Tango

Spotted Cucumber Beetle et al

Comparing Notes

Sun Worshippers

Red Harvester Ants Dismember Grasshopper

Are You OK Down There?

One, Two, Three...Lift

Harvester Ant Removing Seed

Yellow Woolly Bear Caterpillar

Virginia Tiger Moth Larvae

Opuntia Bug

Assume The Position

Black Blister Beetle In Pigweed