Sunday, February 22, 2009

For the convalescent

The winter landscape in the Niangua Basin makes my heart swell. Thick stands of cured warm season grasses cast a golden hue across the rolling topography. Persistent brown leaves of black oaks rustle in the whipping winds. My trusty fieldmate was with me the last time I was there, setting fire to glades and woodlands as we scampered over 500 acres of rugged terrain, despite his torn ACL.

Now, in the dead of winter, he's stuck in a recliner recovering from a painful ACL reconstruction surgery, a process that will have him out of the field for several more weeks. He'll miss the first green flush coming up from the burned woodlands, the stark white blooms of bloodroot, maybe even the jack-in-the-pulpits, what with their primitive flower structure. So these are for him, images from one of his favorite places in Missouri: Lodge Glade (note the low branches on the cedars that have been killed by high flame lengths) looking into dry chert woodlands; unburned chert woodlands of the Natural Area; and Coakley Hollow Fen Natural Area, where the rich layer of warm season grasses grows right to the streamside.


Anonymous said...

A gorgeous landscape. Thank you for caring so much about our little state!
my best--ted

Justin said...

Convalescent or not, thanks for the photo tour. I am especially fond of the first photo. It is the very glade in which I asked my wife to marry me; the loop trail was our engagement ring.

Allison Vaughn said...

The same glade where I know of some ashes that will be scattered when the time comes. Awesome place for proposal! You just earned brownie points from Paul!