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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunflower Bud

Pray tell the worth
Of modest flower bud
Upon the grassy plain.

It moves ordinary hearts
To muse ‘bout beauty and
Lifts the breath of life anew.

It embodies high hopes
And spunky notions
Of glory days untold.

It speaks of both
The past and future
In the same breath

And gives substance
To the whispers of God
Adrift on prairie winds.
© Ilija Lukić 2013

Just Before
(helianthus annuus, aka Annual Sunflower)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn Gold

Clear skies and cool breezes greet Cooper and me as we meander through burnt orange and golden hues of withered prairie vegetation. We find recent monsoonal rains have drenched a wide swath of New Mexico and have brought a revival of greenery. The mix of summer straw and emerald green creates a dreamscape. Aromas of wet soil, grasses, and sage permeate the morning air. The ambience relegates tedious summer months of heat and drought to fading memories. Human high plains dwellers embrace the upbeat mood. City folk let loose gleeful hip, hip, hoorays while cowboys chasing cattle below distant mesas echo their sentiments with hearty yippie ki-yays. Forces of autumn marshal to the north and portend crisp mornings, kaleidoscopes of foliage, and more tranquil rhythms of life.

Autumn gold surrounds my passage through the early morning prairie. The landscape invites my senses to feast on splashes of yellow flora. The hardy survivors of weather extremes insist on sharing their age old dances of celebration. I partake willingly. They flaunt their showy garb. Their beauty emulates the sun. My spirit rises on the distant song of a meadow lark into the azure, ethereal canopy of New Mexico sky. I am reborn.

© Ilija Lukić 2013

Golden Crownbeard

Forbidden Fruit
(euphorbia heterophylla, aka Wild Poisettia, Toothed Spurge)

Lemon Kisses
(haplopappus ciliatus, aka Wax Goldenweed)

Larger Than Life (Cooper)

Sunflower Moth Larva On Wax Goldenweed
(haplopappus ciliatus)

Snakeweed Gold
(gutierrezia sarothrae, aka Broom Snakeweed)

Hairy False Golden Aster

Ready For The Harvest
(opuntia macrorhiza, aka Prickly Pear Cactus)

Buffalo Gourd Beetle
(diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi, aka Spotted Cucumber Beetle)

Rocky Mountain Zinnia

(brickellia eupatorioides, aka False Boneset)

Broomweed Autumn
(guterriezia sarothrae)

Wild At Heart
(euphorbia heterophylla, aka Wild Poisettia)

Nose-To-Nose With a Diabroticine Beetle

Farewell To Drought (Cooper)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Equinox Moon

Morning light on the day of the 2013 Autumnal Equinox finds the waning Moon in the western skies over the Llano Estacado tablelands and Clovis, New Mexico USA.

Summer blazes cut ‘n run
Waning Moon smiles with delight
Autumn frolics upon winds
© Ilija Lukić 2013

Equinox Moon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Paragon Of Eternity

Rain storms on the Llano Estacado can wreak havoc but also create artful aftermath and lyrical glimpses into eternity.

Alluvial deposits of soil
Left by torrential runoff
Paint prairie arroyos.

The treasures of sand
Cast in silent swashes
Whisper of rivers wild.

Each grain rollicks
With kindred specks
And longs for purpose,

Till their chaotic rambles
Become artful footprints
In the eternal sands of time.

© Ilija Lukić 2013

Footprints On The Sands Of Time

Alluvial deposits of soil left in the wake of torrential downpours overlay prairie drainage arteries with elegant masterpieces of sand suspended in time. All that remains of turbulent watercourses are silent swashes of sand grains. Each grain is unique, yet rarely noticed by denizens of its high plains neighborhood. Each grain is unremarkable until a significant, essence-altering event rips it out of its mundane existence. It tumbles about in a familiar, ephemeral liquid suspension of kindred particles. Every collision, graze, rub, or nudge alters its destiny. The grain of sand becomes an essential smithereen of footprints on the sands of time. I am a grain of sand.

© Ilija Lukić 2013

Footprints On The Sands Of Time

Sand Ristra

Remarkable Existence

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sojourn On The Spiral Of Life

Just below the eastern horizon brother Helios stokes furnace fires and prepares his chariot for pursuit of sister night and her celestial entourage escaping westward. Before long his fierce countenance edges into pinking skies.
As I amble down red dirt trails and ranch roads my shadow rises and falls across bountiful stretches of ripened grass panicles. The withered pulchritude glows in sunlit splendor. Soothing aromas of dried grasses fill humid morning airs. The tranquil mood fades briefly when a hawk launches from a perch in a lone tree and gracefully wings towards the rising sun. First harvester ant scouts emerge and sluggishly move about refuse piles of chaff around nest areas. Grasslands teem with bird activity. The Llano Estacado readies for another sojourn along the venerable spiral of life.

© Ilija Lukić 2013

Sojourn On The Spiral Of Life

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome Illusions

Golden waves of straw
Once again hold sway,
Where prairie winds played
On emerald seas,
Coyote yearlings learned
Life is more than play,
And antelope raced clouds
Nose to the breeze.

Be silent telltale heart,
Speak not of woes,
Playa lake beds remain
Harbors for reverie,
Carefree wildflowers adorn
Dry arroyo flows,
And swallows on swift wings
Instigate gaiety.

Ere long
Shimmering illusions
Come to pass,
Wondrous alchemies
Of heat, light, and air,
They swallow
The endless horizons
Of flaxen grass,
They calm uneasy hearts
And allay despair.

© Ilija Lukić 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tasiwóo - The Great Plains Icon

Just above the banks of Running Water Draw, a band of Comanches enjoys several days of respite from their arduous trek across the Llano Estacado in pursuit of big game. Survival of their ten families is at stake. A young boy shatters the tranquility. He runs the length of his band’s encampment and stops at his family’s nʉmʉ ka̲hni, a steeply pitched conical abode covered in stretched buffalo hides. The excitement in his voice can only mean one thing. He points into the sea of grass and hollers tasiwóo, tasiwóo, tasiwóo, the Comanche word for buffalo. Within minutes the men of his nomadic band mount horses and surge into the grasslands brandishing hunting weaponry.
A distant roll of thundering hooves drifts into the camp on the prairie winds. The hunters have engaged a maternal buffalo herd and it’s on the run. Except for several old bulls, male bison are conspicuously absent. Breeding season is still a few months off. A ferocious chase fraught with danger ensues. The daring hunters pit bows and lances against the formidable giants of the Great Plains. Comanches hold the magnificent beasts in high regard and will only kill the number they can use. Just before sunset word of the successful hunt reaches the camp. A song of joy erupts. Tonight and in the days ahead nemene (our people) will eat well.
The Great Spirit has smiled upon the people of the Buffalo-eater Band. Out of respect for the animals they do not waste any part of the kill. The meat feeds their community. They work the hides into shields, saddles, foot gear, robes, and cover their dwellings with it. Sinews make excellent bow strings. Shoulder blades become tools. Horns are fine head dress. Hooves boil down into glue.
Within a few days the Comanche band strikes camp and renews their journey on the northbound highway carved out by thousands of hooves. On the shortgrass prairie of the Llano Estacado the bison favor warm season grasses. They graze on the move, rest and chew cud during midday heat, then lumber onward along watersheds and across ridges. Their instinctive ability to find water and travel routes of least resistance allow the men of the Buffalo-eater Band to mark future warrior trails and thoroughfares to hunting grounds. The buffalo touches every part of their lives and defines their spirit as a people of the plains.
The American Bison, colloquially the American Buffalo never overgraze. As a keystone species their grazing load on the vast grasslands of the Great Plains ensures a robust and diverse biome.

© Ilija Lukić 2013


Bison Bison

American Bison

Buffalo Cow

Great Plains Icon