Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Prairie Story 13 Restless Youth

Painted turtles looking for some sun.

Trumpeter Swan, an amazing bird being brought back into nature, Their population dwindled so bad some bird books don't have them. By 1893 the last nesting pair was in Iowa due to hunting and reduction of wetlands. A program started in 1998 began to improve their chances of return to the state. Each year the population slowly grows, but to hear their proud trumpet call is one of the most unique experiences I have had in birding.It sounds like an orchestra warming up.

Spring tree blooms light up the landscape.

Eastern Kingbird, an acrobatic flier while chasing insects.

Red-winged Blackbird male scouts out it's territory. We had a pair stay in our yard each year for quite a few years, chasing my father down the driveway each day.

The lake called out his name and he returned to it as if to an old friend, greeted by a huge flock of pelicans. He stood in a tall observation tower watching some swim while others took off in flight. He wished he had wings so he could join in and share a simple life as they did. He raised up his arms catching their spirit, and soared off with them in his thoughts. Flying in perfect symmetry, when they turned you almost lost sight of them, only to have them turn and reappear. With huge six-foot wings, their black and white colors melded with the sky.

He kicked the motorcycle engine over hard. With a roar he took of down the highway, no destination planned. Life was a bit hectic and this always helped him cool off. The wind washed away his worries, and he glided down the road. Seeing an open stretch he gunned it full throttle feeling a sense of extreme power, King of the Road. Banking into the next curve at well over a hundred, he gunned it again on the straightaway. Hitting some rough highway the front end began to shimmer, he slowed a bit, but it made it worse. In a panic he braked hard and sent the bike down and sideways into a ditch. Opening his eyes he looked at the bloom of chicory, showing a pale blue all around him. Was he in heaven? He guessed not since he hurt everywhere. He took off his helmet and it had a gouge all across the forehead, but his head was okay. His leather chaps were chewed up bad, covered in dirt and rocks. He closed his eyes and dreamed of a vast prairie, listening to her lulling song, the song of life.

It took two months to recover and feel good enough to tackle work. His crew was headed out on the road, meaning long hotel stays and money in the pocket. This was a good life living with a good salary, in a comfortable middle class lifestyle. He missed the simple life and yearned to be back on the prairie. They were headed to the Deep South into pine covered mountains. The recreation he was told was to climb a tree and start it swaying from the top, and riding it to the ground. This sounded good for his masculinity ideals, and he quickly melded into this new world. The rich southern accents became a part of his speech, and he found it fun to have a lady read his favorite poetry books to him. Her voice mercerized him, and soon he had a favorite reader join him on days off with a picnic into the hills.

And so his spirit was carried away, into another world, times spent in an assortment of new lands. Should he stay or should he go there with so many new things to try. The travel spirit whispered constantly at him, follow me to the four corners of the world. If you haven’t been somewhere you may have missed out on a lifetime experience. The excitement made his restlessness relax and he saw how fast he could fill a passport. He found himself in Germany, based in a cousin’s chateau, taking trips where he had never been. Each day he started the same way, saying his prayer of happiness for the family and friends he had began to really miss. Arriving back to the states, he was greeted by a familiar song, a sense of spirit carried on a gentle prairie breeze.

What does it take for us to realize what we have lost
Do we have to wait until we have it no more?


  1. "To hear their proud trumpet call is one of the most unique experiences I have had in birding."

    And I would re-phrase as: to hear the sharp calling of the tailorbird is one of the most unique experience I have had in birding.

  2. I really enjoyed all the information in this post and love your photographs. The trumpeter swan is amazing.

  3. Your pictures are wonderful, and I really like the story. Traveling and seeing the sights is always fun, but it's always good to be able to go back home afterward.

  4. Glad they are making a comeback, now I'm curious to hear them. Maybe I can find it online.

  5. I feel the same way about the Eastern Bluebird. We almost lost them. It is good to know that the Trumpeter Swan is making a comeback. I would love to see and hear one. Your pictures and story were very enjoyable!

  6. Thanks for the input, trumpeters are being replaced at approximately 200 a year.I will watch when they start nesting, I did some great pics last year of them growing up.You get attached to these families watching them grow.

  7. What a great story that was. I love the picture of the trumpet swan and the spring blossoms..

  8. Very nice story! What kind of blossoms - they are my favorite to try and catch a bird in ;-) I'm thinking honey locust? They look a lot like wisteria but hanging on a tree instead. Now you have me wanting to hear a trumpeter swan!

  9. They are black locust flowers, you can eat them right off the tree, even make wine from them.


Keep it positive and informative,I enjoy hearing from you!