Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Misty Magic

I believe ProfessorRoush has mentioned it before, but the monotone beige of the autumn Flint Hills comes completely alive when rain or mist dampens the tall grasses.  Without moisture, the grasses are an uninspiring shaggy carpet of light browns and tans, some perhaps rarely displaying a dusky red undertone.  If the heavens bestow a mild drizzle, however, or perhaps engulf the land beneath a damp cold mist, the prairie becomes a sea of fall colors, reds, golds and yellows woven into a tapestry of summer's bountiful growth.

I came back from a day trip to Nebraska last evening, fighting mist and fog over the last thirty miles of backroads, to find my little corner of prairie transformed into a quiet paradise of colored foliage studded with clear aqueous gemstones.  The mist imposed a sense of isolation and dampened all sounds from the adjacent roads and city as well as raising a veil to screen out the view of other houses on my horizon, leaving my garden as an oasis within Eden.  Some might label the silent misty cloak as an ominous warning of apocalypse, but I felt only peace and calm draped across the land.

The evening mist also provided me a victory of sorts.  Mrs. ProfessorRoush finally conceded that the unmown prairie grass on the rear-facing slope behind the house might have some redeeming qualities beyond her fears of a snake-infested meadow.  I made sure to get a firm verbal commitment of support for my laissez faire approach to the landscape, but I prudently decided not to push my luck with a request for her surrender in writing. Mrs. ProfessorRoush was, in fact, madly snapping close-up photos of the grasses, presumably with the goal of adding them to her already voluminous Facebook page.  In unusual fashion, she was even squatting at eye level with the foliage, capturing a much broader and more artistic view of my meager gardening efforts than she normally strives for.  Oh my, vindication and validation are such sweet wines to the gardener's palette!

My own quick Iphone capture in the growing dusk resulted in the photo displayed above.  There was barely enough light left to trigger the digital pixels, but I found that I liked the blurring effect that the dim light added to the mist.  This is the Kansas prairie, untouched and unsullied by man, carrying all these harvest hues now exposed into winter.  I slept soundly on the prismatic prairie last night, wrapped in a silent blanket of inner peace, separated and protected by a misty curtain against the waves of civilization.    


  1. Beautiful! I'm going to promote this for you a little bit, actually. Anytime someone wins a victory like this for a native landscape is a time for celebration. I take it we have quite a lot of Little Bluestem there?

    1. Yes, this piece of ground is native Flint Hills prairie that has a lot of Little Bluestem. I mowed as a "back yard" for about 6-8 years, gradually decreasing the size of the mowing until I now only mow paths among it. I mow it with a bush hog to the ground every spring both to get some sunlight on the forbs and to stimulate those winter-dropped seeds to grow.


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