The sun wasn’t quite as bright in the afternoon as it had been in the morning and the wind blew fiercely. Mom and I, accompanied by our two golden retrievers, walked out to our prairie. We strolled along the fence line, past the calves and greenhouse, past the shed and the pasture encompassing the pond. Instead of turning into the lane for the paddocks, we kept going, along the fence of the first paddock. We walked into a pasture we hadn’t used for a year. Mom pointed out how the grass quickly caught blowing snow, keeping it from completely blowing away. The snow seemed deeper here as we trudged through it to the edge where a fence running north – south separated the pasture from the wooded area and prairie set aside for wildlife. Very carefully, and perhaps a bit awkwardly due to our winter clothes, we stepped over the fence one at a time. Mom went first and pushed the wire down a little bit for me, since my legs are shorter than hers. We were down the slope a little ways and with trees to our left and a cedar on our right; the wind no longer battered us.
We were on a mission to scatter seed from prairie plants such as bergamot, horsemint, milkweed and several others. The seeds were gathered by our friend from plants on the Kellogg-Weaver Dunes. Once we crossed the fence into the wildlife area, Mom started sprinkling seeds along the way. She stopped walking, and rubbing the seed between her fingers released the seed. Some fell to the ground instantly but the milkweed drifted up on to the wind and floated, gliding here and there before it gently sank down and came to rest on the ground and stubble. As mom held her hand out, letting the seed slip from her fingers, she told me she felt like there should be some kind of prayer we say while doing this. I didn’t reply. However, I understood and agreed. Indeed, we should be uttering a prayer. Perhaps we already were through our actions and the desire in our hearts for these seeds to germinate and grow, and reproduce. We walked through with reverence and awe, this was our prayer.
As we were about to walk through a cluster of cedars, the dogs disturbed a pheasant. It rustled and complained, flying away. I saw it as it was disappearing, too late for a photo. They stirred up another pheasant and by the time I located it, it too was flying away, I no longer had a shot at it with my camera. I missed another pheasant as we began to walk downhill; its brown feathers disappeared into the trees.
We walked further downhill, going south toward the more open prairie area. Mom continued sprinkling seed. I was much slower, distracted by dried plants still standing tall above the snow. A few places the golden rod was so thick, I was swimming through it. I felt a little guilty for disturbing the golden rod though it was now dried up and dead, but it still seemed to have life in it as it rustled in the breeze and bobbed as I walked pass. A prayer for the prairie was still in my inner most being as I walked, trying to connect with it.
I walked further downhill trying to catch up to mom. I turned to look back up the hill, splashed in gold from the late afternoon sun, with the textured green of the cedars was breathtaking! There was a noisy flock of birds perched on some bare trees nearby, I didn’t try to identify them but listened to their singing. I snapped a few pictures of them. Later, looking at the photos, mom excitedly identified them as cedar waxwings, birds not often seen on our property! Mom sprinkled the last seed. We walked up the hill a different way, walking through the south end of the rested pasture. The snow seemed deeper now that I was worn out, and I was sweating from the effort. I followed a few deer tracks as I walked back to the farm yard.