“How to Speak Fluent Prairie” by Cindy Crosby: An author, compiler, and contributor to more than 20 books, Cindy’s most recent book is The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction. Her prairie enthusiasm also leads her to teach prairie ecology, prairie literature, and prairie ethnobotany in the Chicago area. Cindy writes in this powerful essay, “Learn some new names for plants, birds, insects, and animals on the prairie. Keep names from becoming lost. Make up your own descriptions for specific things when you can’t find them. Use them. We need these new words—and—we need the existing words we are losing. They help us notice the details. They remind us of the splendor of the natural world. When we use specific words and names, we invite others to appreciate the rich diversity found in tallgrass prairie.” Read the whole photo essay here.
“Speaking Prairie Accompaniment” by Roy Beckemeyer: Roy, one of our energetic editors, and a fine writer and poet, asked fellow Kansas wordsmiths to share their responses to Cindy Crosby’s evocative photos and words to help us create a prairie lexicon. Here’s phrases and other delights by April Pameticky, Annette Hope Billings, Dennis Etzel, Jr. and Roy Beckemeyer (RB), in response to Cindy’s lovely photographs. For “Milkweeds Seeds Bursting from Pod” photo of Cindy’s, Annette said it reminded her of Albert Schweitzer’s hair, and Roy described it as “flung fluff” and “spuzzeeds.” Read the whole piece here.
“How One Weekend Gathering 30 Years Ago Changed Everything” by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg: “I was 22, living in Kansas City, completely fed-up with the world of dating in general, and guys in specific, and not sure how I was going to make a living with or in spite of my writing habit,” Caryn writes in her introduction to this narrative of how she discovered KAW Council at its very first gathering thanks to an animated conversation with a friend that caused them to miss the exit out of Kansas City four times, a dance party with Tofu Teddy, and a 17-hour journey to get to a destination only an hour and half from where she started. She’s never been the same since. This essay is also part of her forthcoming book, Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Miraculous and Mundane, coming out in late 2017 from Meadowlark Press. CMG Everyday Magi