Beyond Your Backyard: The wildlands are waiting

It’s been a hard summer field season. My body is sore and tired. Most evenings I’m exhausted from the long drives and hikes into the wildlands. The temperatures have been unforgiving with highs in the 90’s reigning supreme. Smoke from Canadian wildfires lingers and my lungs burn when I return home—reminding me that there is much to be done here to save our planet and save ourselves.

And yet, the work has a familiar, comfortable rhythm to it. The Land is teaching me as it is want to do. I recognize her flowers, sedges, and grasses and greet them as if they are friends. Hello to a softstem bulrush lightly crunched under my fingertips to verify its ID, hello to a kalm’s lobelia reaching out from under much taller cattails to find the sun, and hello to liatris, a brilliant firework blooming just a little later than usual this year.  The fen’s upwelling, cold groundwater greets my footsteps, steady in the face of drought. Frogs hop frantically in front of me—their stable Eden disrupted by my presence.

The days are long, but I can feel them shrinking. The afternoon light casts shadows earlier, reminding me this time is fleeting. And while my body is weary, my soul is blooming, recharged with the rekindled connection of greeting familiar friends. My hikes here are numbered and I am grateful for the steamy days, misty mornings, and calm afternoons spent here in the wildlands.

Lake Augusta Waterfowl Production Area in Cottonwood County, MN, views of Calcareous fens on the slope with rolling prairie in the background.

#publiclands #discovertheprairie #exploremn #calcareousfens #rarestwetlandintheworld