Friday, May 7, 2010

Prairie Story 8

Blazing Star
Hidden Treasure

Male Oriole at nectar feeder

Female Oriole at grape jelly feeder
The sun was setting as he gazed down on the lake while inking in sketch he had drawn of a White Campion. He had drawn it in its habitat the previous weekend, spending over six hours in a ditch and lawn chair. The storm brewing across the lake was picking up the red glow from the sun in its clouds. He grabbed a few cameras and went running down to the dock. In a few minutes the eastern sky glowed orange and purple, turning black to the south with lots of lightening. He closed his eyes and ascended into the breeze with his thoughts, feeling the spirit of the storm playing with the sun. The photos change each minute, with the eastern sky a giant projector screen for the sun’s flamboyant exit. He wished his favorite smile was here, the one who could melt anyone, shooting alongside of him. He would send her some pictures of this great scene she missed. The girls studying bees on the Lead Plant came in and joined him. He forgot that smile; they shared stories about the great day that they had chasing bees for their doctoral degree. He joined them later in the evening up at the lab, and joked about their mounting procedures that were so intricate. Their female comfort was good enough for him, even though they had husbands to go back home to. They made a great group to play volleyball, go for a swim and share a good meal with on many evenings and weekends.
The following day his group packed up and left for the Badlands. The trip was very slow until when they were almost there. The Badlands seemed like they just jumped out from around the corner, awakening that primitive spirit inside of him. The sunlight faded and blazed creating a rather surreal landscape around them. The winds are constantly chiseling at the peaks and valley. Triumphant and proud stand these stately spires. As the sun began to set we set up camp and started to fix a meal. I knew there was quite a few containers of cookies prepared by the cooks at the biological station. It paid to smooze with them when you went out on treks. Frogs started a chorus with the crickets, and a half moon welcomed in the cool, clear night. Looking out he saw what he would be doing the next day as soon as he woke up. It would be climb the highest outcropping, see how far he could see. Playing cards and eating lots of cookies topped off the evening, everyone turning in for a big day of work in the morning.
The next day was screaming at him as soon as the sun started up. He had chosen on peak, but it offered poor light. He raced to clamber up another, but missed a good sunrise shot taking to long to ascend the second one. Whistling and hollering he caught the attention of the others just getting up, and one of the girls blew him a kiss. Masculine ideals swelled and he stood up pounding his chest, doing his best mountain gorilla routine. Getting back down was harder than getting up, since in his haste he didn’t think about a path back down that would be easy. If he screamed falling, his friends might only think it was a joke, since they had seen him in even more dangerous situations. He heard a loud clacking sound and looked across to see a deer trotting on the hard surface. The deer turned and showed him a route down, but it was quite a ways from where he had entered. Breakfast would be cold but he felt real cool for his early achievement.
After eating he put on his swimsuit and placed a small piece of board under a pump nearby. He turned on the water and sat underneath wetting himself down. It was a quick shampoo and wash, the water was freezing. He may have looked silly sitting on the ground chattering, but he was clean. It was hard to balance on the board to dry off he was shaking so hard. He dried his feet and carefully put on his shoes. This would be the shower for the next three days, so it was best to get used to it. This new prairie brought on new common names for similar species they knew from their area. Down below their first transect roamed a young bull buffalo. When they become three or four they decide whether to stay with the heard, or roam by themselves. He felt a kinship with this rogue, wondering if it was spurned love that had set him out on this sojourn journey. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine himself as the buffalo below. Where would he go, what did he need to urge him on, or was his destiny all in the stars? The oldest text in the universe, the stars had seen it all, or at least part of what had happened. Did it continually change or just repeat itself in different definition? The prairie breeze awakened his senses, carrying on this song of life to others.
I have always wanted to see you
And there you were right there
What stopped me from trying
To smell your sweet soft hair?


  1. This story pulled me in more and more as I read it. I finally found myself picturing everything in my mind. And I like the photography too. The oriole pictures are good. I just recently saw my very first oriole.

  2. Get real excited to draw in the orioles, they started 5-1.I rotate characters with my prairie installments to include the spectrum of people I have met and interviewed.Each verse at the end is a oratorio to maintain or carry over the thoughts.


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