The Vernal Desert

In Texas the beloved and common indicator of springtime’s arrival is the Bluebonnet.  The wildflower is also the hallmark of spring road trips in the state. There are six species of these members of the genus Lupine in the state and all are considered to be the state flower (state law also grants that any […]

The Old Stuff

In the days of the old prairie, its perennial members reveled in dormancy and cast their seeds with a starry eye and a mind full of hope toward the next vernal season. Returning each growing season only from seed, those with a monocarpic life cycle, such as the obligate annuals, have no rooted memory of […]

Why prairies matter and lawns don’t

Prairies – those critically endangered and complex ecosystems understood by few and misunderstood and destroyed by millions of people. Lawns – those myopically obsessive (and evil) urban, suburban, and increasingly rural monoculture eyesores that displace native ecosystems at a rate between 5,000 and 385,000 acres per day* in favor of sterile, chemically-filled, artificial environments bloated […]

A time for goodbyes

As I leave Nebraska and make my way back south for the short term, I wave goodbye to the tall and mixedgrass prairies, goodbye to the sunsets and thunderstorms of the Great Plains, and goodbye to the coming fall, whose soul-stirring winds are carried in on roving, sweeping fronts from the north. Here is to […]

Fire, wolves, mountains, and a guest essay

I recently read author Philip Connor‘s latest published essay, “Smoke”, and as usual, it’s a great read.  Connors is currently in his 11th season as a fire lookout, stationed in a Civilian Conservation Corps-era fire tower in the Black Range of the Gila National Forest near Kingston, New Mexico.  Suffice it to say, he has a […]