Outside the AhTahThiKi Museum on the Seminole Reservation in Florida is a mile-long boardwalk through a Cypress Swamp Dome. Prior to engineered draining of the Everglades in the 1930s this land was wet enough to canoe the wet prairie land, swamp. Seminoles canoed for hunting. This means of provision is no longer available, cattle farming is now the main product of the land. The floor is wet seven to ten months of the year, which is then the growing season for the Cypress trees. The Dome appears sparse allowing enough sunlight to sustain its lush fern ground cover.
Images copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
The overal scene looks so much like an untouched prairie; greens are flourishing and going on for miles and miles. The sky is never ending. A vulture scans for lunch. This prairie is wild; no telephone lines or roads interupt it’s untamed beauty.
But on closer inspection, or if you remember you’re on “Aligator Alley”, a part of I75, you see evidence that this isn’t even a wetland prairie swam or bog. It’s much wetter and is infact part of the Florida Everglades. Take the closer look into this profound region.
Looking back to the more colorful days of late summer, early autumn.
Black eyed Susans, aka Rudbeckia , indicates that summer is well under way in the U.S. heartland, the prairie. Illinois is the “prairie state” yet less than 10% of virgin prairie lands remain. This piece of prairie is part of a restoration project, West Ridge Nature Preserve on Chicago’s north-east side. In Chicago one does not have to travel far to pretend they are a part of a time long ago; the stuff of good summertime daydreams.
The prairie is a favorite hangout for me. Grasses are the dominant species of the Midwest prairie. Blue skies and accompanying white fluffy Cumulus clouds are prime background to show off the vastness of the prairie. A prairie in the midst of suburban Chicago offers a treasured environs of solace. Maidengrass (Miscanthus sinensis) is not to found however, in a native prairie. This Eurasian import is a perennial in this climate, and it found only in human-created landscapes.
This patch of Maidengrass occupies only about nine square feet at the parking lot curb entrance to my doctor’s office. This morning they caught my attention because of their gentle swaying against the bright autumn sky. It was a tiny piece of non-native wilds that brightened my morning.
Life has had other things in store for me lately, so posting to my blog was sidelined. My intent of sharing my joy of nature’s wonders remains. I begin with today’s post of an image that I like for its composition and content.
The composition follows the rule of 1/3s with the grasshoppers on the right third. Ideally I’d have the subject on the right third, since eyes tend to look from left to right; your eyes would “rest” on the right 1/3 more naturally. But the background flowers leaning to the left work to send one’s eye back to the subject on the left. Depth is created with a definitive background and foreground.
Two prairie natives appear in this image. The Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) was on the edge of a trail bordering a patch of preserved prairie inside the Cook County Forest Preserve. Typical of native prairie plants, this tall, deep-rooted plant commands attention with its sunny blooms. The Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis), as evidenced from this image, mates in the fall and prefers flourishing flora. Egg pods will be laid and buried one to two inches underground and hatch the following spring.