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A Day on the Prairie is Good Medicine

Well, it happened again!  I spent another beautiful day in the Flint Hills.  After several weeks of busyness, I needed some quiet and solitude – time away from the office to refocus my thoughts and recharge my batteries.  I knew just the place to go.

Deep in the heart of the Flint Hills there is a secluded pond that is stocked with Largemouth bass.  It is rare that you don’t catch a fish and this particular day was no exception.  The fish were biting, but more importantly the sun was shining, the breeze was light and the spring wildflowers were in bloom.  It was a picture perfect day.

We who live in Kansas often get criticized for the lack of beauty in the state.  While it is true that we don’t have mountains and we don’t have large forests and we don’t have beautiful sand beaches, what we do have is open prairie. We have an unobstructed, open view of the blue sky.  We have some of the best sunrises and sunsets in the world, with colors and hues that change from one minute to the next and reach from west to east.  I am amazed each and every time I pause to appreciate the beginning and the end of the day.  They are truly works of art and a gift to be appreciated.


Quivira Wildlife Refuge at dusk. Photo by Brad Guhr.


Quivira Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Brad Guhr.

This particular day my senses were heightened.  The Flint Hills prairie was spectacular.  I was keenly aware of the various sights and sounds all around me.  I noticed the Meadowlarks singing on the fence posts and the various birds in the Cottonwood trees near the pond.  The scissor-tailed flycatcher was doing his thing over the grasses and I could hear the call of a pheasant in the distance.  The prairie was alive with activity.


Chase State Fishing Lake. Photo Courtesy of Bob Regier

I walked through the prairie noticing all the spring wildflowers blooming.  There was tremendous diversity from tiny violet woodsorrel (Oxalis violacea) to yellow grooved flax (Linum sulcatum) to Milkvetch (Astragalus sp.) to larger wildflowers like Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis var. minor) and Green Antelopehorn Milkweed (Asclepias virids).   The prairie I was walking through had been burned this spring, so individual wildflowers stood out amongst the dark green grass blades.

I believe people from other states and landscapes would change their minds about Kansas if they could have been with me that day.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Photo by Brad Guhr.

In my opinion, we take the Kansas landscape for granted, with its striking beauty, its stunning complexity and diversity and its open expanse stretching to the horizon.   It is a landscape worthy of appreciation and admiration.

If you have a chance, take a drive and spend a day on the prairie.  Why not this week?  It may be just what you need.  It certainly helped me to reconnect and left me refreshed.  It was good medicine.

Try these links to set your prairie itinerary.  Natural Kansas , Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve , Cimarron National Grasslands , Konza Prairie , Maxwell Wildlife Refuge , The Nature Conservancy of Kansas .