Friday, August 27, 2010

Indiana sunrise

The sun rises in Indiana...

I've watched the sun rise in




South Dakota





New York


and New Hampshire

And while I was watching all those distant dawns...

....the world turned.

The sunrise is a moving target...

When I left in June, the Indiana sun rose at 6AM.

Battling the sun's heat, I would set the alarm for 5 so I could be on the road by early light.

Now the sun and I sleep till 7.

Back in June I would watch the sun rise over the back yard pond...

With my home like the center of a sundial, the sun has spun around like the hours...

...and now rises over the sidewalks out front.

I start out on my first bike ride back home in Indiana.

On Phoenix.

My white Serotta is still with UPS.

The roads are familiar but something has changed.

The Indiana hills no longer cry out for my granny gear.

My usual rest stops sigh as I spin past.

I don't need them anymore.

But other things have changed.

Where I used to see the bluebells' bright colors...

I now see dirt.

Huge jaws have ripped out the delicate blues...

...the better to lay down pipe for the city.

I didn't even get to say good-bye.

And down the road, where there was a forest full of birdsong... now bare ground.

I'm so glad I had dinner last night with Barry, head of Red-tail Conservancy.

He told me they've been asked to help conserve 240 acres of riverside woods near Richmond.

And they've raised $89,000 to buy Camp Munsee with its 75 acre forest.

(they need $150,000).

We lose land every day.

Flowers my grandchildren will never see.

But groups like Red-tail are working heart and soul to save places of natural beauty still left in this country.

Bless them all!

I bike back towards home.

What's that bit of color in the road!

A butterfly - injured.

It flutters weakly as the cars whoosh by - unheedful.

I stop Phoenix and kneel by the curb.

Gently I use a leaf to scoop up the little fella.

(I've been told not to touch their wings because it damages the surface.)

I set him gently on the grass.

He lies there.

No more flutters.

The colorful wings lean against the grass unmoving.

A moment of silence.

At least his colors will fade on soft green grass...

...instead of the rough gray concrete of the road.

"Save the land" spins in my head as I pedal the last mile home.

You can't do it all, but do what you can, I tell myself.

Plant a tree...

Protect an acre...

Teach the little ones...

I return home to my prairie...

The sun sets in Indiana.


  1. whoa whoa grandchildren?? i think you are getting ahead of yourself =P but great blog butterfly pics made me sad =(

  2. At least he wasn't eaten by a praying mantis.

  3. We spent more than two years fighting a developer who was determined to build a 90 unit apartment complex about a half mile from us. On the site were 120'-plus Tulip Poplars, a natural spring, and a patch of Yellow Lady Slippers. His persistence was (ironic to your story above) his "desire to leave a legacy for my grandchildren" - that is, a trust fund. We lost. He has since passed on. The Poplars, the spring and Lady Slippers are gone forever.


  4. That breaks my heart to hear. That's why I like to celebrate every little meadow saved - every new tree planted. Otherwise I'd be too sad to bear it.

  5. Postscript: My mother, who grew up in rural Maine, always said "Lady Slippers"... although the proper name is Lady's Slipper Orchid (actual taxonomy is still in debate, I understand?). I believe it was the first wildflower she ever pointed out to me. Our local Cherokee once prepared an extract from the roots effective for the treatment of intestinal worms.