At last, we're blessed here by a cool morning, a hint and promise that autumn will soon return. The cool air tightly hugs the rolling contours of the Flint Hills, mist implying mystery, humid air dissolved to fog, dew droplets draped over the prairie.
The view above is to my west, a view that greeted Bella and I this morning as the sun rose and the clear blue sky broke into radiant pinks and yellows. Just across the road, the prairie begins, seemingly endless to the horizon, evidence of man's touch only in the stripes of mown hay and the distant aquatic totem pole that supplies water to us and the hordes to the south.
If you're wondering about the stone in the foreground, prominently placed at the beginning of my neighbor's driveway, this closeup may satisfy your curiosity. My neighbor has some deep connection with the old Lee Marvin movie, Paint Your Wagon, and the inscription is from the movie. I like what he's done with this bed, the 'Tiger Eye' sumac, low sedums in the foreground and tall ornamental grasses behind, but I don't think he is yet aware of how tall the 'Tiger Eye' will get or how much they'll spread into the surrounding buffalo grass. Mrs. ProfessorRoush believes that my neighbor spends more time working in this bed than I do on my entire garden, forty times this size. He's changed the "perennial" planting almost every year in a search for the perfect combination.
Bella loves these morning walks around the yard, patrolling the perimeter and searching for intruders, mammalian or insect, harmless or evil. The heavy morning dew destroyed the stealth of this morning's scouting survey, our course conspicuous across the sopping wet grass. But the tracks are telling, meandering Dog and lumbering Man, moving forward in the same direction and with the same purpose, checking the cave environs and beginning the new day ahead, together.