Some prankster moved two of the park picnic tables into the pond a few weeks ago. Then it got cold, fast, and the tables were frozen in place.
I tried to get all Monet with them, and take pictures in different light…
Notice the snow above was in tiny clumps – reminded me of popcorn.
Early morning, with dog tracks.
Midafternoon, dog tracks still visible.
Admittedly, I don’t think I can compete with the real deal…
But it’s still fun.
Laura said to Mary, “This prairie is like an enormous meadow, stretching far away in every direction, to the very edge of the world.” The endless waves of flowery grasses under the cloudless sky gave her a queer feeling. She could not say how she felt. All of them in the wagon, and the wagon and team, and even Pa, seemed small. …It was an enormous stillness that made you feel still. And when you were still, you could feel great stillness coming closer. (Laura Ingalls Wilder, By the Shores of Silver Lake)
Bolingbrook is home to parking lots, subdivisions, and malls, but we’re also home to a few bits of prairie. Or what I like to think of as prairie – I’m not sure what qualifies, to tell you the truth.
Biology Online says: An extensive tract of level or rolling land, destitute of trees, covered with coarse grass, and usually characterized by a deep, fertile soil. But what if you have a huge lawn that hasn’t been mowed for weeks? Is that a prairie? What if the tract is twenty feet wide and a quarter mile long and backs up to a subdivision, is that considered “extensive”? What if there’s a big sign on the land that says, “For Sale: 8 Acres, Commercial”?
Some of our suburban “prairies” are vacant lots, left to grow whatever comes up. Some of our prairieland is intentional, labeled with a sign, and gets burned by the park district every few years. There are wildflowers, singing insects, coyotes, rabbits, birds, many kinds of trees, and tall grass that waves in the wind. When I’m walking our dog at 6:30am and feeling tired, hot, or cold, I try to see what a beautiful place we’re walking in – with big open land and a big sky.
It’s not as quiet as it must’ve been for the Ingalls family out on the prairies of South Dakota in the late 19th century. We’re surrounded with cars, trucks, motorcycles, sirens, soccer games, and airplanes. But I’m struck by the quiet inherent in an open field with waving grasses, even if people are honking their horns in the background. Which reminds me of something Annie Dillard wrote once, that, struck by the silence of some pasture near her own home, she found herself saying to a neighbor: “There are angels in those fields.”
There’s something about grassy fields and sky; some kind of listening, waving openness to existence. Or something.
I hope a few of our vacant lots stay vacant a little longer.
(Really? Do I really feel that little man-made strips of prairie and vacant lots out here have a sense of mystery? Maybe I’m being too romantic. But maybe it’s important to look for transcendence wherever you are. Whether it’s real prairie or an empty lot down the street.)
Soccer field (to the right).
Tree, probably from the farm that was on this site for 100+ years.