This vesper sparrow makes a quick snack of an insect.

PictureA male sharp-tailed grouse dances during the lek at sunrise to establish dominance and attract female grouse.

By Kaitlyn Lemon | Photos by Elaine Kennedy

It is time to be among the buffalo. Powerful. Independent. Wise. Time to embrace the lessons of the pronghorn.  Surefooted.  Vulnerable.  Astute.  This is an era of the ancient, the archaic, and the undefined. An era of balance at a crossroads of the human spirit and those of the earth. Beyond the crumbling decay of man, past the constructs of control, into the heart of the land. One with the soul of nature. Holding space for all that which is wild. For the predators, the prey. For the soil swollen with life force.

It is time to surrender to the windswept tide of this enigmatic space. To the shift of the grass, the breath of this land, it’s rooted pace. To fall into the wonder of open sky, into vast everythingness. Amongst an earthscape teeming with the cumulative essence of the simplest of energies. 

It is time to know and honor the life that coexists among this terrain. To value as a scientist and an inhabitant of this earth, the species that call this prairie home. To see the complexity of this ecology, this dance of life. To not only acknowledge behaviors, names and needs, but to understand the rhythm of it all, the subtle intricacies, the language of the land. From the prairie dog to the porcupine, the eagle to the elk, from little blue stem to curly cup gum weed, from sage brush to grouse. 

It is time to be enraptured by awareness. By this prairie’s beauty in all of its harsh and glorious forms. Aware and present to absorb all the elegance of this aesthetic land. Adequately engaged to let the magnificence wash over me, to allow every drop of sunlight and every gust of the breeze to inspire gratitude within my soul. It is time to attend, to bear witness, transform and defend. It is simply time to succumb to the sensations of this stark land. To the wondrous, the humbling, the inspirational. To the deeply moving realization of being present in a place where one can feel so still. 

Learn more about Landmark and other ASC projects on our website, the Field Notes blog, and by following us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Google+. See Elaine’s photography at www.elainekennedyphotography.com