Monday, August 27, 2007

Trail Time! Moraine 2 of 2

Ok! Let's continue our trail through the Moraine Valley Nature Study Area in Palos Hills, IL. If you remembered yesterday, I described Grassy Trail #1. Today, I'll describe Grassy Trail #2 (see yesterday's watercolor map). You're going to love trail#2 as much as I did! It has the same grassy covering in the beginning with some different highlights. Let's start with this beautiful Queen Anne's Lace.

Yes it's true, Queen Anne's Lace is a weed, you can find them in fields, road sides, along trails, by garbage dumps, pretty much anywhere. This is a true story: When I was just starting to garden, I actually asked for Queen Anne's Lace at a very expensive nursery (Sids) to which the employee laughed, "Why, that's a weed!" That really happened. I am not ashamed. I didn't know it but I still love them. We can't just love the beautiful ones (there's a life lesson in here somewhere), it has beauty in its own way, with that teeny, tiny little purple flower in the middle. Next on our trail are the more "beautiful ones" the wildflowers.
Here is a delicate Fascicled False Foxglove. I know it because my field guide told me so. The book I'm referring to is Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers, Doug Ladd and Frank Oberle (A Falcon Guide). I like this book because the flowers are grouped by color. It allows you to quickly identify your flower in seconds! Most rewarding. Notice the fuzzy edges of the petals, reminds me of a comfy sweater in the fall. I'm sure there is a reason for the edges, maybe we'll learn that someday. Just steps away from the foxglove we see our next wildflower. This is Obedient Plant, I really like this one. It gets the name "obedient" because if you wrap it around the the stem, it remains like that. Had I actually brought my wildflower guide book with me, I would have learned that and been able to try it out, but it was another object at home collecting dust! A few feet along our trail, suddenly the trail goes from grassy to..... sandy! Doesn't it look like the bottom of a lake? Or maybe the shore? Is there water near by? From the observatory deck I could see water, but because we've had sooo much rain, I just thought it was flooding. I didn't know...... there was a secret water entrance!!!!! Yes! Boy, I just hit the jackpot. Do you remember when you were a kid and you discovered something new all by yourself? I was feeling that way! I might have done the "happy dance", I'm sure the wildlife thought I was nuts.

This is our reward. The treasure at the end of the journey or at least Grassy Trail #2. The water so calm, the sky so blue, the air abundant with fragrant. Here is where I can find peace and where I talk to God our Creator, who placed the Queen Anne's Lace (because He loves the "not" so pretty ones) and the foxglove, and the obedient plant just for us to enjoy.

Thank you for taking this trail with me!