The last day of the Prairie Festival I decided to play hooky and find out why the Land Institute and all its followers were so influenced by the Prairie in their work. Of course one short hike would never reveal all the Prairie’s secrets, once I got there it was not hard to see why everyone loved this place so much. There were sounds of birds and crickets and a multitude of other creatures and it was so peaceful. Life was going about the business of life not in a grand scale, but in an everyday, renewable way that was somehow peaceful. When the sun broke out and lit up these grasses, they looked like gold. It made be feel in my soul once again that no living things are ordinary or should be taken for granted.
There are so many small scenes within the Prairie where flowers and grasses come together to create beautiful tableaus. Silphium is also one of the flowers that the Land Institute is growing for a sustainable crop However, on their land the Silphium was beset by insects and disease while here it was thriving. Why this happened, they are still investigating and they are also looking for non-harmful ways to keep the plants healthy.
There are so many different wildflowers that bloom in the prairie. I was there at the end of summer, so I am sure in other months it is even more ablaze, but what I saw was still beautiful and special reminding me to always look closer.
I never visited Kansas before and wasn’t sure what was there, but it turns out that it is an epicenter for natural earth and prairie systems and the only place left where you can see this. The prairie once extended from the Gulf to Canada through the middle of the country. This is all that is left and one of the best places to study how nature sustains itself in growing wild crops, some of which may be able to be domesticated to help our own farming techniques become more sustainable and to preserve our valuable soil and improve its health, while keeping silt and fertilizers and the like out of our waterways.