Report from the Back 40 Part 2: People of the South Wind Edition
Tell me the landscape in which you live and I will tell you who you are. – Ortega Y Gasset
I live in the fertile, windswept, swaying grasslands in the land of People of the South Wind. Here in the Lawrence, KS area is the interface between the end of the (what used to be heavily) forested lands of the east and the vast prairies to the west… and where there is an ecological interface, there is such a richness of life. Squirrel Run sits nestled at the bottom of the Baldwin Creek Watershed. The water runs as the lifeblood through the land, drawing animals of great variety into this hollow as they pass through, following the water on their way to wherever they are wandering. Families come in from the south and from the north and settle here for raising up their young from spring until fall’s end. What a flurry of activity they bring and what sweet music to my ears it is to hear their various calls, chirps, peeps, hoots, and even rubs throughout theses seasons! How I love to sit in silent reverie listening simultaneously to the many rhythmic sounds in these grasslands and feel my own heart beating along with all of them. We breathe and pulse together in a syncopated rhythm in the great Wheel of Life. Ahhhh…
Come with me as I take you along on a walk in the Land of the South Wind:
Woman of the South Wind,
wanders the tall grass prairie,
waving bluegrass brushes by her
as she glides softly through
corridors blazed by bison and stallions.
She gathers flowers and leaves,
soaks up sunrays
and scents of river water and wild rose.
Gentle rolling land,
soil of tangled root and bulb,
anchor to the earth
midst such sweet black gold.
Blossoms of scarlet and indigo grace her hair,
she bends her ear to catch
echoing sighs of the pronghorn antelope,
and deep haunting bobcat calls.
Woman of the South Wind
fare of morning thunderclaps and dewdrops,
breathes in rich, heady air
and sings of golden owls, monarchs, and meadowlarks.
She carries the spring of the grasshopper,
the badger’s fierceness,
guile of the mongoose,
lure and elusive air of the lynx,
and wolf foresight.
She brings powers of the ant and cougar,
eagle, opossum, and more.
She has powers to heal and bring life itself.
Woman of the South Wind,
blow your love this way.
Let me hear the spirit of the Fawn,
the warm temperament of sweet purple loosestrife,
gentle babbling brooks,
and beckoning cries of the eagle soaring
ever up ‘ore the land.
– Elizabeth Kipp