Making lists or Ennumerations is a familiar activity for most of us. Here is one of mine with an introductory quote.
“Considering the many onslaughts endured by Iowa’s wildlife and plants, it is amazing that native species have survived at all. . . Many native plants and animals were able to adapt to new niches in the refurbished landscape, competing well even though their competitors had changed overnight.” Cornelia F. Mutel, The Emerald Horizon
1. The deafening sound of the prairie surrounds me as I walk within it. A spider web woven between gracefully bending Canada rye and upright coneflower shimmers in the early light.
2. A redwing blackbird sits atop a big bluestem’s turkey foot seed head on a misty, gray morning. How does it support his weight?
3. Bees move between prairie flowers picking up pollen, performing pollination while ensuring diversity in the prairie. Striped beetles investigate flowers, cutting through leaves and petals while feeding.
4. Swallowtails and monarchs flit through the air, landing on the flowers allium, lilac and butterfly weed, looking for food, water and a place to lay their eggs. They must choose a plant their caterpillar offspring will be able to eat.
5. Just when I have lost hope that the oaks will lose their brown leaves from fall, I see small, new green leaves on the tips of branches. The bur oak may serve as habitat for more native insects than any other tree.
6. The hummingbirds are back! Somehow, my husband sees them when I miss the sighting. They drink from the bearded iris and the native columbine.
7. The goldfinches swoop and fly high into the sky as bright yellow brush strokes and land on our tallest trees, the river birch. They are the state bird of Iowa.
8. I hear but cannot see the tallgrass prairie winds travelling from Nebraska over Iowa and into Illinois. They are great pollinators. I wonder how the insects and butterflies are not blown around; maybe they are.
9. Heavy rains, lightening and tornados passed through. The next day the prairies look as though bison have napped in the flattened areas. The gardens are sagging. The birds are back to business.
10. We burn just a portion of the prairie each spring, leaving overwintering insects time to awake. The entire prairie is green and lush two months later.