Saturday, November 6, 2010

Playground for Light

End of season fluff 
used to be harvested
by tribal prairie people
for diaper filling 
and women's flow.
 Bed mats too, softening 
sleep on earthen floors.
Soft cotton free and plentiful.
Back then? 

Farmers hate it like 
gardeners hate dandelions.
 One strong gust spreads 
millions of floating seeds waiting
to root. Blackbirds roost and 
nest in cattail marshes before
deciding to strip a field of 
sunflower seeds. 

"But wait, please don't kill the cattails" ~ I pled.

My first firefly show
happened here
long ago. 
The glow of it
 has yet to dim. 

Gallant Loverby 
got wet catching
one buzzing light ~
a love trophy for 
me, his new bride.
Captured magic 
~love's light~
magnified in 
a mason jar. 

This fall, Loverby stopped to let me take a picture at a thriving cattail colony in the slough. It was still there in spite of planes spraying for complete eradication all those years ago. I had gone crazy when I realized they were systematically trying to rid the prairie of magical places where fireflies played. When I came stumbling into the house sobbing because the planes were spraying overhead with a vengeance - my mother in law held me and cried with me. She explained that the blackbirds came in hoards like locusts and cleaned out the sunflower fields. The cattail sloughs were their breeding ground. They would have no harvest to harvest if something wasn't done. I hated not being able to offer an alternative.

I was an idealistic young woman raging against the destruction of the place where cotton batting grew free, and light played and lived.

 I still don't notice blackbirds. 


  1. These images draw me in. I can imagine how wonderful the firefly field must have been. Enjoyed your post very much, Kathleen.

    We were out in the Virginia countryside, in Billy Coffey country, today, driving up and down mountains to visit artists' studios. We had a great time but remarked how awful it is that ugly malls and four-lane highways have overtaken Gainesville and extend all the way to Charlottesville now. Fortunately, off road, where the mountains call to the artists, it's as if only nature exists.

  2. As usual your talent of painting a picture with words is delightfull, I have two ponds surounded with lots of cattails, complete with happy blackbirds swaying in the wind. loved your pictures too.

  3. that first photo, your words, the longing here... breathtaking.


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