September and Re-wilding
Last October land stewards for the neighboring prairie did a prescribed burn as an effective maintenance procedure, and it was an amazing sight. When the fire died down, all that was left was black char on the soil. Throughout the winter the prairie was bleak, colorless, and silent.
As expected, green growth began to appear in March, spreading day by day. When it rained spring peepers inhabited the new growth and delighted me with their sweet, high-pitched calls. In a few more weeks native flowers began blooming. First, the white penstemon followed by purple bee balm and milkweed. Then insect sounds returned including crickets and katydids. Gradually rabbits arrived, loving the cover provided by the native plants. Several deer returned, also finding a place to shelter. Eventually, the yellows started blooming – rosinweed, sunflowers, and partridge pea. By this time walking the trail in the prairie was a wild experience with bees humming, butterflies enjoying the flowers, rabbits hopping to get away from me, and deer reacting to my presence – all at once! Life had returned.
I had just learned about a conservation practice called re-wilding which aims to restore and protect natural processes in wilderness areas, and one noon during my hike it dawned on me that what I had been observing since March was a version of re-wilding, and it was glorious. Now the prairie seems a living being, one that gives, nurtures, provides, shelters, and enchants. I could feel this deep within as I enjoyed daily walks, and my return gift was gratitude and appreciation.
Listening to Heather Houston’s song ReWild My Soul became a prayer, and I longed to do as she suggests, asking different beings to help me let go of control, show me the way, and take me in. Enjoy this music by clicking on the name of the song above and feel the urge to be re-wilded, like a river flowing with ease or like the soft wind, clear and cleansed, or like the eagle flying so free. I was moved to add my own last verse:
Oh Prairie, re-wild my soul.
Help me let go of control.
Show my heart how to come alive again.
Oh Prairie, take me in.
Try adding your own verse!