Awakening to the spirit and beauty of the northern Great Plains
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Grass, Sky, Song Illustrated: "Out of the Trees"
This is the third installment in GSS Illustrated, showing photos that relate to passages in the new book. I used this first photo because the chapter discusses prairie as a movement out of the trees, away from wooded landscapes where we tend to build settlements and cities. These are Aspen Poplar trees growing on the edge of a pasture where I often look for grassland birds.
The Mountain Bluebird (thanks to Don Delaney for the image) is a species that symbolizes the encroachment of trees out onto the plains since settlement and the suppression of prairie fire. In this first chapter I mention that, while we think of bluebirds as a "prairie birds" these days, they would have been rare or altogether absent on the original treeless plains.
Much of the first half of the book recounts experiences with grassland birds at or near our place out of town in a remote prairie valley. We own the land together with two families we are close to. I mention that we had a lot of help from them the weekend we framed our little cabin.
This last photo shows a camping spot I mention at the end of the chapter.