A seed on the wind as it travels alone,
does it feel isolation as it looks for a home?
The breeze carries it aloft and sometimes quite high,
will it land in a spot that is wet or quite dry?
Will the conditions it lands in meet all of its needs,
or would its chances have been better on an easterly breeze?
Of seeds born to the wind there must be many,
so at least a few make it to the land of seed plenty.
Where a cycle of freeze and thaw is step one,
for the seed to sprout it will need good soil and sun.
Bright orange flames of fire flicker on thatch,
to soon leave the prairie a charcoal black patch.
Down came the rain, it fell all around,
it loosened the soil and moistened the ground.
Forbs and grasses of green cover the black,
this seed found a home where the cover does lack.
Grazing the grass fills bison need,
allows warmth and the sun down to this little seed.
From that seed emerged a tiny green shoot,
that soon put down a nice little root.
The bison that graze the grasses down low,
add nutrients and microbes that help the plant grow.
In the place where this little seed did land,
a plant of its species does now stand.
The new root has grown and is now very deep,
so that this plant can survive a long winters sleep.
In the spring, the plant will grow to be tall,
it will flower this summer, and set seed in the fall.
When the fall breeze blows, the seed will take to the air,
hoping to land on good ground that is bare.
Where can one find this wondrous glory?
At a place called Nachusa, that inspired this story!
This poem was written by Paul Swanson, a volunteer at Nachusa Grasslands.
Photos courtesy of Dee Hudson and Charles Larry.