The prairie has a never-ending appeal for me. A place to be in the present, although the past swirls around me. The footsteps of ancients, I cross their paths and see what they see. The moving wave of vegetation dotted with tall compass sentinels. The gurgle of a glacial stream running beside a new yet old trail. I may hear voices speaking softly in an unknown language, yet some part of it I understand. "This is where we belong, the land that provides for us. We will always be here. You must know this."
I'm here to lead an herb walk through this beautiful space. To a group of knowledgeable master naturalists. I feel the gnawing of my inadequacy - how can I contribute to this highly motivated and energetic group? We were drawn to enter the prairie by a stand of flowering elders with their delicate sweet scent, serving as a gateway. I am immediately at ease as we enter the conversation, drawn forward by the recognition of plants that I know, and those I have yet to study. We quickly lose track of time, enthralled with the present. We return to our starting point - return to our lives.
Weeks later, I find myself back in that beautiful space and time. it has become part of me.
Photo credit: Kristine Chavez