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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dressed To The Nines

Two fortnights ago hail storms pummel the Llano Estacado prairie. Quarter and penny-sized pellets leave pockmarks and small impact craters in the prairie soil. The furies of ice and wind decimate several years of straw and plant debris, raze early summer vegetation, bruise cacti, and strip yucca of seed pods. Picture knee to thigh-high vegetation reduced to nearly bare soil. Sprawling prickly pear cacti resemble high rise prairie condominiums. They tower conspicuously over their tableland realm.

Fortunately several weeks of soaking rains follow. Erelong the Llano makes a striking comeback. Shortgrass prairie graminoids and amaranth dominate. At first wildflowers emerge in widely scattered bunches. Buffalo Bur, Silverleaf Nighshade, Prairie Zinnia, and Small Palafoxia show the way.

Great things happen when nature and the human spirit meet. Hear the poetry of the prairie. Let her delight in your presence. Let her scented breath tussle your hair. Find her wisdom within Silver Sage, wildflowers, and clouds suspended in azure skies. A heart away from nature suffers. Allow the energy of a glorious sunrise to reach into your heart and free your soul. When the heart, mind, and soul communicate the conversation is poetry.

- © Ilija Lukić 2013 -

Zinnia Whoosh
(zinnia grandiflora, aka Plains Zinnia)

Pink Sunshine
(palafoxia callosa, aka Small Palafoxia)

New Mexico State Flower
(yucca campestris, aka Plains Yucca)

Arizona Cottontop
(digitaria californica)

Prairie Shuffle
(bouteloua gracilis, aka Blue Grama)

Twinkle Toes
(bouteloua gracilis, aka Blue Grama)

Prairie Morning
(palafoxia callosa, aka Small Palafoxia)

Candid Reflections
(solanum elaeagnifolium, aka Silver Leaf Nightshade)

In The Snake Cotton
(froelichia gracilis, aka Slender Snake Cotton)

Slender Snake Cotton
(froelichia gracilis)

Parched Trail

Rocky Mountain Zinnia
(zinnia grandiflora)

Silver In Black And White
(digitaria californica, aka Arizona Cottontop)

Stink Grass
(eragrostis cilianensis)

Shortgrass Prairie
(Buffalo Bur, Palmer's Amaranth, Sand Dropseed, Blue Grama, Cholla, Yucca, et alia)

Adorned Villains
(solanum rostratum, aka Buffalo Bur)

Sea Of Green
(amaranthus palmeri, aka Palmer's Amaranth)

Ears Of Grain
(amaranthus palmeri, aka Palmer's Amaranth)

Dream State
(digitaria californica, ala Arizona Cottontop)

Bow To The Heat
(amaranthus palmeri, aka Palmer's Amaranth)

Sunshine Comes Softly
(amaranth in cottontop and dropseed grasses)

Tickle Fest
(bouteloua gracilis, aka Blue Grama panicle)

Nightshade Sprinkles
(solanum elaeagnifolium, Aka Silver Nightshade)

Shady Respite

Nasty Hombre
(solanum rostratum, aka Buffalo Bur)

It's Only Rock 'N Roll--But I like It
(solanum rostratum, aka Buffalo Bur)

Dressed To The Nines
(palafoxia callosa, aka Small Palafoxia)

Cotton And Horns
(froelicha gracilis, aka Slender Snake Cotton)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Prairie Renascence

Cooper and I slip onto a Llano Estacado game trail at the crack of dawn. On the plain heavy dew underfoot and lively rain cooled winds set the mood of the prairie. The tablelands reluctantly lift the veil of night. Fluid shadows draped across the gentle undulations of the plain capitulate to the sun. Bird chatter fills the air and lends credence to the revival of this recently parched biome. With each morrow the crucible of drought we endure fades further from collective memories. Scattered meadowlarks balance atop yucca stalks and serenade the dayspring. A pair of Swainson’s Hawks take flight from their withered elm perch and wing our way. Curiosity satisfied they climb into the azure hues of New Mexico skies and disappear. My soul takes wing. My heart breaks into song.

I pause on a rise in wagon trail ruts and reflect on this moment in time. Cooper saunters my way and eases along side. Our spirits bond.

- © Ilija Lukić 2013 -

Goat Head
(Puncture Vine)

Dew Catcher
(gaillardia pulchella, aka Fire Wheel, Indian Blanket)

Sawtooth Daisy Bud
(Wax Goldenweed)

Heart Of The Santa Fe Aster

Velvety Gaura

Weevil On Engelmann's Daisy

Bee Fly Paradise
(Yellow Spine Thistle)

In Your Face
(Golden Aster)

(Prairie Fleabane)

Ready To Explode
(Wax Goldenweed)

Half An Aster

Insect Lure
(Indian Blanket)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Embrace The Details

The prairie is a patient and subtle teacher. She deepens my well of knowledge, wisdom, and spirituality by inviting attention to the minutiae within her temporal existence. As I reflect on her adamant whispers of enlightenment, I find it’s not the colorful headlines of fat years that paint her masterpieces. It’s the incidental stories and details buried on pages six, seven, and eight of her perennial saga that tug at my soul and quicken my heart. Surely divine genius governs the precise alignment of the details. Nature’s grandest endeavors depend on the success of the smallest component.

King Of The Plains

Essence Of Asclepias
(asclepias latifolia)

(desmanthus illinoensis, aka Prairie Mimosa)

Fading Glory
(White Gaura)

Unattainable Quest For Beauty

Imperial Scepter
(yucca campestris, aka Plains Yucca)

Baby Pricklies
(Prickly Pear Cactus)

(Bush Morning Glory)

Navajo Tea With Ant
(thelesperma megapotamicum)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shade Tree Junkie

Cooper and I trek across the prairie at a brisk pace. Our enthusiasm belies the palpable humidity and 72ºF morning airs. Soon rivulets of sweat run their cool fingers across my brow and cheeks. Cooper spots a Black-tailed Jackrabbit on the trail ahead. The five-pound Llano Estacado speedster pauses, ears raised, then launches its escape maneuvers into a green tableland of thigh-high grasses, scattered chain link cacti, and silver sage. Cooper cannot resist and dives into the chaparral. He soon loses sight of the elusive lagomorph and launches into the air every few paces to draw a bead on his quarry. His jumps remind me of African Springbok showing off to potential mates or trying to intimidate pursuing predators. Chalk up another skirmish to the rabbit team.
After the chase Cooper heads to the shade of a lone Siberian Elm. I willingly join the respite.

- © Ilija Lukić 2013 -

Off The Beaten Path

Shade Tree Junkie

After The Chase

Made In The Shade