Greening Up

During and after the Legion Lake Fire, a lot of tears were shed (figuratively and literally) over the devastation wreaked upon the beautiful landscape of Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park. Of course wildfire is devastating, and it is terrible and terrifying when it threatens human habitation, but it is a natural process necessary to the health of the wilderness ecosystem. No, the landscape will not be the same. Yes, it will be changed. Yes, the land will bear the scars of that devastation for years to come. And this picture is glorious proof of the renewal that comes from that same devastation, mere months after the fact.

It is a uniquely human desire for things to “never change.” What is there in this life that “never changes?” Nothing. Change is a good thing. Yet we cling to the familiar, and instinctively react to change as if it was an evil, when in reality that change, though painful, may be God’s way of strengthening us, renewing us, shaping us, and making us more like His Son.
IMG_4785eThe black is greening up. And one thing is certain…the buffalo and other critters eating that tender, young grass are definitely not complaining. So drive through the Parks and make mental note, and then drive them again later this spring, and summer, and next year. God has equipped them to be renewed. So in a strange, haunting way, even the burned areas are beautiful.

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Botanicals | Desert Biscuitroot

It is that time of year again! I love the hunt for wildflowers, seeing my “old friends” and meeting new ones. Desert biscuitroot is an old acquaintance. We weren’t quite friends, since I had to look him up in my field guide.

Pasqueflower Gallery

Check out my new gallery of pasqueflower photos!
IMG_4499eI’ve been taking pictures of pasques for a few years now, so I decided it was a good time (with a winter storm flurrying outside) to compile a gallery of my favorites from over the years. Enjoy!

 

Signs of Spring

For about the last week, we’ve all been bracing for a spring storm, which rolled into the area in the early morning hours today. Schools and businesses are closed, parts of I-90 are closing,  and everyone has hunkered down to wait out what is supposed to be a brutal spring snowstorm. We’ll see if it meets with expectations. But yesterday was the calm before the storm. We had warm temperatures, gentle breezes in the morning, overcast skies. It was hard to imagine a winter storm was on the heels of the springlike weather. I had some free time in between a doctor’s appointment and my first piano lessons, so I zipped on over to Buzzard’s Roost, a hiking and mountain biking area about 7 miles outside of Rapid City. And I knew from last year it is a great spot for pasque flowers.
IMG_4735eIMG_4686eIMG_4707eIMG_4700eIMG_4698eSpring is here. Winter is just reluctant to head out the door.

Ember

One year (plus a little) ago, Anna gifted me with the sweetest gift anyone has ever given me, the little cat, Ember. The spontaneity is part of what made the gift so sweet. But Ember was a creature Anna knew I would love. And she was so right.
IMG_0071eIMG_0125eWhen she first became mine, she was a flighty, timid little thing that I doubted would ever be a house pet. She was scared of everything, scared of the dogs, scared of the ordeal of getting past the dogs to come into the house, scared of any sudden movement, etc., etc., etc. So I also doubted that she would ever be my cat, in the sense that she would respond particularly to me. Now, cats aren’t exactly lauded for their human bonds and really have kind of a reputation in the other direction, but over the months, Ember has become very specifically my cat. Enough so that she went on a hunger strike while I was in Alaska over the summer, and the tiny cat became the emaciated cat. She’s better now.

What a transformation little Ember has undergone! She went from being a stand-off-ish, aloof creature, to being a lively member of our small household. IMG_0128eI love waking up to find her curled up in a little ball in the crook of my knees, or sleeping right on my chest. Frequently she is awake before I am, but as soon as she hears me moving around, she comes up the ladder into the loft, talking and chattering, and begs for attention. She has become a study buddy for some online classes I’ve been taking, and a movie-watching buddy on sister night. She keeps me company when I’m folding laundry, or cooking, or reading, and has her favorite places she likes to hide. She comes to her name, loves to talk, and if she happens to be inside when I get home, she greets me eagerly. What a darling.

People who don’t like cats just haven’t met the right one.

Last Year’s Bergamot

In the springtime snow, these heads of last year’s wild bergamot caught my eye.
IMG_4112eIMG_4103eSimple beauty.