Hazy sunlight penetrates milky skies and emboldens gusty westerlies to spawn whirlwinds of dried leaves and dust. Cooper and I cut short our prairie escapades and settle in for a day in the comforts of home. As he drifts off into dreamland, subdued barks, snorts, and leg twitches recall lively chases on the open prairie. Fittingly, my musings hark back to yesterday’s exploits in the wilds.
After a three-dog night clear blue skies, dazzling sunshine, and nippy prairie airs greet Cooper’s and my advance into the realm of cactus spines and yucca bayonets. Frost-bound pockets of short-grass prairie vegetation persist. Our choice of trail is on the rough side. The copper glow of Caléndula Fétida lanterns and lemon yellow Prairie Berries affirm past glories and bode well for magnificent light shows in the spines.
Deep, rolling trumpets and rattling bird calls draw my attention to the skies. Fifty or more Sandhill Cranes unravel classic flight patterns for several minutes. They stay bunched and drift off to the west--commanding elegance comes to mind.
We advance cautiously. Free-spirited splays of yucca daggers, chest-high sprawls of cholla, and dog crippling spears of prickly pear cactus beg prudence and frequent changes in the line of march. The rewards are intimate vistas of prairie rough necks subdued by splashes of sublime light--a heaven in the spines.
© Ilija Lukić 2012
|Triple Play (Texas Prickly Pear)|
|Prairie Berries (Silver Leaf Nightshade fruit)|
|Prairie Watchtower (opuntia engelmannia)|
|Sunshine In The Spines|
|Cactus Sun Dial|
|Free Spirit (yucca campestris)|
|Plains Pocket Gopher Smorgasbord|
|Intimate Diorama (Fetid Marigolds)|
|Trekking Hurdle (Cane Cholla)|
|Dog Crippler (Plains Prickly Pear)|