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  Fall to Winter - The Prairie Sleeps    
Prairie Ecosystems
Prairie Restoration
Planting a Prairie Garden
Human Voices
Spring to Summer
A Prairie Garden
Fall to Winter
Inspiration for Art
Restoration Game
Teacher Orientation
      Prairie in winter

Yesterday, the wind blew hard across open fields. It picked up any loose snow and blew it across roads, into trees, branches, and plants, coating everything with a fine white powerdy ice. Its really pretty today as the clouds are lifting and the sun is shining down and the snow is glistening and bright.

This kind of blowing and gusting wind makes travel difficult, so much swirling snow makes it difficult to see anything. If there wasn't a road to follow, you could easily be lost on the open land. Even the edges of the road blend into the snow and ice covered fields.

Now in the sunlight, everything is beautiful. The sun feels warm on my face, even though a cool winter breeze is still blowing.

A huge yellow-bellied hawk rises up from the snow-covered grasses where it had been resting. Its white and tan back fit in perfectly with the snow-covered stalks that line the road. Some pheasants strut around in an open field, oblivious to my presence.

The sun is out and the fog is rising, so I guess the snow and frost covering the branches, stalks and flowers won't last very long. Before the sun came out today, everything was coated with a fine snowy mist. With the fog lying close to the field, it was difficult to tell where the edges of the field were. Boundaries of fog and snow mixed together

The snow is sodden and wet as I walk on the path. Other animals, lighter than me can easily stay on top of the snow. Every few steps, my foot sinks deeply into the snow. The dried grasses and plants still standing from the fall are all covered with snow crystals. Some are still standing still able to take the extra weight, other tall grasses bend gently over, almost touching the ground.

The sounds of the city aren't far. In the distance, muffled by the snow, an ambulance sounds its siren. A train whistle and the sound of an airplane I can't see break the silence. The faint sounds of cars and trucks travelling on the highway are off in the distance too. But yet it all seems distant and far when compared to the open landscape and the quiet around me.

I can hear the snow melting and the water running and dripping. As the sun is melting the snow, the grasses shine in the afternoon sun a golden brown color, sticking out against the pale sky and snow covered ground.

The ice crystals will melt, the insects inside the galls on the stalks wait until the ground thaws and warms. That time is not soon. Now is the time for the ground to rest under blanket of white snow.


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