Here are a few different views of downtown Chicago, this time from South Pond in Lincoln Park. The naturalized prairie grasses are prominent in the scene. After a leisurely walk through the park we lunched at the delicious Café Brauer; this time dining was a bit of a challenge. This time of year, worker bees are instinctively anxious to gather as much energy (sugar/nectar) and protein (pollen) as possible to store for the coming winter months. So, as my eyes admired the sweet view from our table, they were eyeing my lunch. And typical of me, I watched with love and allowed them to feast in between my bites and sips.
Warning: If you aren’t fond of bees then don’t look at last two images!
For more on bee behavior during the autumn:
Thinking of the sun and the moon and tomorrow’s eclipse I can’t help but think about the place where the sun and moon always draw attention; the beach. The sun’s heat effects currents while the moon effects tides; both effect the earth and us.
Spring brings to mind a myriad of thoughts. Positive, optimistic hopeful. Creative sparks of energy take hold and get us moving forward.
“We had heavy, long lasting snow again this winter, which results in matted down garden beds. Nevertheless, spring’s sun and warmth becomes stronger, longer, and less sporadic, gently inviting us all to stretch and wake up.
Sustainability is manifest in this image. The rise of a cluster of daffodils ensues as the sun’s warmth provides the energy for growth. Last year’s leaves and stems provide support and soon will add nutrients to bear health in the perennials. Unseen life will aid this process and sustain themselves in the process.
My energy grows too as I find myself outside more discovering signs of spring’s arrival.
Time to share some of my summer’s images from Florida’s Atlantic coastline. Each day, sometimes each hour, presented new perspectives of the beach, water and sky, along with the wildlife within these environments. I am a novice naturalist here; I am feeling waves of fresh energy realizing the learnings from my observation, I have yet to understand. Could this be the truth in why so many elder “retire” to the coast; to gain fresh energy, insight, and experiences?!?!
Awesome, open, stable, prolific, clean, diverse, and untamed. These are all words that help explain a prairie. Some have mistaken a prairie for a weed patch. This particular prairie is a restoration project, roughly five years towards maturity. The diversity of summer prairie blooms is event on this low hill, a good place to test plant identification skills. With any luck this prairie will survive for hundreds of years; dormant seeds can lie wait decades when poor conditions occur; roots grow many feet deep insuring survival during drought and fire. In addition to the plant species that make a prairie a prairie are wide open blue skies with a few wispy clouds, masking the reality of strong blowing winds animating the plants beneath.
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) (which like most flowers does attract bees) was plentiful this late July evening, partly because it tends to colonize. Considered native by some naturalists and “introduced” by other, its origins are the Eastern United States and has since spread to the Midwest, providing more fuel to restoration dialogues. What time period does one choose as a restoration point when restoring “native” lands?
Full of peace, secluded, ever-changing, mature, subtle diversity, and safe. As I review these images I think reflect on my garden, perennial beds home to some native species; twenty-seven years in the making. My garden is loosely organized. Living across the street from a forest preserve I purposely chose to keep my garden casual in design. No squared off lawn edging, no crisply trimmed shrubs, no formal brick division between lawn and perennial beds. The perennials have chosen to re-seed outside of designated planned spaces, reinforcing the casual design plan.
Sometimes they are hiding in the midst of grasses; sometimes they are hiding behind layers of grasses; each is elusive to me as a photographer. The challenge is to train my lens to focus on the plant that has captured my attention. This is easier said than done because the camera’s focus tends toward the profusion of grass leaves that command attention because they make up the major portion of the scene. Our eyes are able to change focus easily between layers of interest making the task of photography a chore of patience and persistence when working to acutely focus on a specific object.
The Goldenrod’s rounded clumps of fuzzy white seed heads make a striking contrast of texture among the smooth tall grasses in the prairie. The scene appears sepia toned, typical of the end of season prairie landscape. A full color photograph is shown with hues limited by nature.
Creative landscapers snuck some colorful cool weather pansies into some perennial prairie grasses beginning their autumn color change. The pansy draws attention while echoing the warm colors of the soon to be, late afternoon, setting sun.
Perhaps it’s the optimist in me that likes to find the jewels in the otherwise nondescript. The flower and seed heads were my treasures for the creation of these images. I find pleasure purposely looking for the good in each person. I would rather make lemonade from lemons than wince from sour situations. It can be a challenge to find the positive in life; but it is a challenge that energizes me. Ironically challenges I find most difficult often leave me with a surplus of energy when completed. The prize is the joy of the find: be it the good in a person or the treasure in nature or the gift of a learned new skill. Such glory in success is the energy for future explorations.