Stiff Gentian

moon phase Week of 10/19/2008 Grub out weeds, briars and other plant pests.

The forest full of green leaves that covered the summer landscape had become taken for granted, until they started to turn different colors. Now the leafy countryside is so beautiful that I can't take my eyes away from the splendor of it all. Leaves were a hot topic all week and I doubt there is anyone around here that hasn't been moved by the Autumn color show.

Stiff Gentian

This morning my walk through the meadow made me realize that the green color that was all around me a month ago has now turned to brown and beige. Now is when my patience will start, as I begin the long wait for the return of the flowers. As I spotted some dried coneflower heads, I instinctively reached out and gave one a twist with my thumb and forefinger, thus releasing the dried seeds into the palm of my hand. I broadcast the native prairie seed as I continue my walk. I do this many times while taking a walk; it gives me a chance to see flowers each year, in new places.

The grassy meadow is beautiful, even after the summer colors are gone. The subtle reds, yellows, purple and golds of the different grasses have a special Autumn beauty of their very own.

Over the past ten years, I've come to know the Prairie meadow like the back of my hand. I thought I knew exactly what was growing on every foot of ground, but every year there is a new surprise. A native plant will suddenly appear where there wasn't a plant before. I'm always on the lookout for a grass or flower that I didn't plant from seed, that just appears. This year I didn't see anything new, and I'd kind of given up. That's when I caught a glimpse of blue, a foot off the ground and five feet to my left. I knelt down for a closer look and I was stunned, for I was face to face with a beautiful patch of Stiff Gentians.

I was shocked. I must have walked by that spot 500 times in the past ten years, and never new they were sleeping there. Now this year, they've decided to surface and show me their lavender-blue flowers. They are gathered together in a small community only 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. There were no others nearby or anywhere, as far as I know. They made my day. For me to find a new flower is like finding a hidden treasure.

The pretty little Stiff Gentians are the third kind of Gentian I've discovered in the meadow. The other two include the Bluebottle Gentian and the similar, but white, Creamy Gentian. All of them could be a continuous regeneration of the same community for a thousand years. I am always amazed when I see them still surviving when so many others couldn't. The pretty little Gentians are among the last to bloom at the end of summer, but the wait is well worth it.

here are photo topics everywhere this Kickapoo Autumn. There are so many things I'd like to record. I'm struck by how intense the color yellow is this year. It seems to be everywhere, near the ground, in the leaves of a milkweed. Maple and Elm leaves float on the black water of a woodland pond. The dark yellow leaves of the Cottonwood have floated down in to the stream. A huge yellow crown forms over the top of a big patch of prickly ash. At the bottom of the valley is a nice stand of Popple trees. Their branches are completely covered in sunburst yellow leaves that flutter in the breeze and seem to glitter like yellow sequins. Yellow orange leaves cover the ground and the dark bare trunks and limbs of some of the old trees make a striking silhouette against the bright yellow ground. An ageless fallen trunk, green with moss, is also color clashing against a leafy yellow background. An assortment of yellow-orange, red and greenish leaves float in a thick leafy mat at the edge of a backwater.

I'm grateful to be able to capture some of these Autumn memories. There are so many beautiful scenes down Nature's trail, I couldn't possibly remember them all. And besides, the best part is, I get to share them with you.

Naturally yours,

Dan

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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