Prairie Seasons

Now the grasses and wildflowers, brown and gray after the first hard frost, heavy with seed, begin their long sleep under winter’s blanket.  Another year’s growth now dying back, dropping seed onto my dark and ancient soil.

Growing like a riot in the hot and sunny seasons, reaching to the sun, rooting into the earth. Dancing the ancient dance of life on this planet!

Remembering summer, not long past, as our magnificent tall and slender grasses waved in the wind, soaked in the strong sunlight of the endless summer days.

Tall prairie grasses

Remembering the exquisite opalescent skies at dusk.

Remembering our roots reaching deep into the earth to anchor us and draw in nourishment. Remembering our huge network of interwoven roots holding the soil as the storms blew through the rains washed over and pounded our grasses almost flat.

Our deep roots giving grasses taller than a man stability on their slender stems, the strength and resilience to flex and sway with the constant summer breezes, the great masses of big bluestem undulating like waves on the sea, in constant motion.

Here is abundant life in summer! Any bit of open soil claimed by another fallen seed. This beautiful land, a variegated community, a web of growth.

I am home to furbearers, insects of all descriptions, frogs, turtles, snakes, songbirds, birds of prey. Our summer prairie teems with life, teems with promise.

Redwing blackbird

Now in late fall a time of rest as the sun turns its face to the south, draining warmth from the land.  Now  we fold our tents, burrow deep, send life down into our roots, slow our breathing and hearts to sleep awhile, out of the freezing cold.

Wildflower seedheads

Our summer has been a riot of color, growth, raucous birdsong, feeding butterflies, burrowing mice, dancing green grasses, blooming wildflowers. 

And now it is our season to rest and renew ourselves for next year’s gathering, our exuberant celebration of life under the huge dome of sky and light that gives us life.

Grandmother Cottonwood speaks

Because of my rooted nature, I am by necessity a homebody. I observe and experience my world…and I am never bored!

I am exquisitely tuned to the shifting air currents and breezes, the temperatures that rise and fall, that are different at my crown and my roots.

I know minutely the angle of the sun as it moves through the yearly cycle of seasons, I know patterns of bird migration, seasons of nesting, hatching, fledging, the first flight; the burrowing habits of the fur bearers, the call of the owl, the secret places they drop their feathers, the movements of the deer at dawn and dusk…

I am witness to the patient gliding and flicking tongues of snakes in warm weather as they embrace mother earth with their bodies; the buzz or quiet wing beat of insects as they go about their business of crawling all over me… or nesting in the soil nearby.

I know the prairie grasses, from their first show of green in early spring to the late summer when they’ve grown taller than a man, seed heads heavy and nodding, swaying in the wind.

Prairie grasses

I know the exquisite blue of the sky, sometimes perfectly clear and fathomless, sometimes holding storm clouds that move swiftly to the south, sometimes holding clouds slow and heavy, blotting out the sun, stalling over our valley for days.

From my height, I feel the sunlight gilding my upper branches on clear mornings. I know the gentle swelling and unrolling of my leaf buds in spring, the effortless growth of my bead-like seed pods from tiny and tender to dry and brown and bursting with tiny seeds.

Cottonwood seeds

I know the flight of my cottony seeds on spring winds. I fill the valley with my white fluff. I know them all. I know every leaf on the crowns of my offspring.

From my chosen place on this great planet, I observe the beauty, the variety, the oneness of all things and I am richly blessed!

GCW’s speech is to be continued in the next post…

Big Bluestem

I am the deep rooted tall prairie grass that you call big bluestem.

My commission is to send my roots deep into this rich black soil, down through the fertile layers deposited over many thousands of years, from the decaying roots stems and leaves of my ancestors, to draw in sustenance from all the elements of the earth, to anchor myself firmly here as my stems and leaves reach toward the nourishment of the naked prairie sun.

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Big bluestem

I grow taller, absorbing the joyful energy of the light and atmosphere, swaying gracefully, bending, in waves with the wind. I have learned to be flexible when storms roar through and lightening strikes.

Then, when the sunlight begins its slow late summer slide toward the south, my flowers appear, bloom, and quickly develop into seed heads.   Next spring, the age old cycle will repeat itself.  It begins with one seed!

I feel the feeling that you call “joy” as I grow taller than a man, spreading into the vast sunny space under the prairie sky. The roots of our community interweaving, holding the earth, gripping the soil, forming a vast deep network, a wreath of intricate connections across this wide open land, anchoring all the grows here.

Know that I love this life – I am a native- I belong here! This is my home!

I drink in the life giving sunlight and rain, swaying and dancing in the wind with a million others like me; we who grace this timeless landscape.

You can feel better!

Over the years of your life, energy, inspirations, emotions, feelings, ideas, thoughts, fears that you block and deny and push down have nowhere else to go but to stay in your energy field. The energies that makes up these thoughts get stuck, build up and accumulate like heavy storm clouds.

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Storm clouds and prairie grasses

If you are sensitive, you feel the extra weight, the heaviness. Does it hold you back, press you down like a weighted blanket, a back pack full of stones?

It is not your work to carry this weight. You can clear and release it with patience, courage, commitment.

Foreign substances in your body will not solve the problem, will not clear the clouds, but only allow you to pretend for a short time.

Tap into your emotions, the buried ones, the old and stale ones, the emotions that flash through when something triggers you. You must focus and feel the emotions within you. You do not have to react to them. Simply feeling and acknowledging is enough.

The emotion is not you, it is energy that is meant to flow through you.  I am telling you, you can feel better!

Find help if the emotions feel overwhelming. It is like learning to walk, learning to read. This is a life-saving skill you can learn, and it will set you free.