Abundance is visible now. There is a profusion too. My favorite word to describe this is plethora. But our subject is not excessive. It is beautiful. Lavish works, it is an amazing descriptor for this place. Our subject is native prairie. Few ever see the surprising beauty of a prairie. Busy lives and other priorities are the chief reasons.

In his book A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold wrote about the progression of blooms in a summer prairie. He chose the words “prairie birthday” to describe the abundance found in a summer prairie. He wrote, “In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.”

These photos record the prairie plant birthdays that are occurring DSC_0114_263DSC_0087_246_249DSC_0089_252DSC_0132_271DSC_0098_255now in early July. From top to bottom there is Blue Vervain, Purple Prairie Clover, Black Eyed Susan, False Sunflower, White Prairie Clover, and Anise Hyssop.

All of these plants were growing in the same restored prairie. All were in bloom the same day. There were still other prairie natives whose blooms I did not photograph.

Leopold began the forward in his Sand County Almanac with the words, “There are those who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.” (Sand County Almanac, 1949.)


To see this beauty and brilliant color in one place, it is easy to agree with him.

Now the question which may seem immaterial. It is not. Why all of the abundance? Every prairie native pictured also produces a profusion of nectar, pollen and seed. The clovers enrich prairie soil with nitrogen. From insects to large mammals like white-tailed deer there is food in these plants. For the human who ventures into a prairie there is jaw dropping beauty. Abundant, yes, even extravagant, but not wasteful, that defines a prairie in summer.

Where does abundance originate? Our hearts tell us the answer if we pause to consider it. The intricate web of life in a summer prairie originates with the powerful hand of God. The evidence is vast. There is a universe filled with it.

Psalm 147:5  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

We use abundant. Infinite is for God.