Thursday, May 29, 2008

"That delicate miracle, that ever-recurring grass"

With the dateline Pawhuska, Oklahoma (incidentally, the setting of the recent Broadway hit "August: Osage County"), Timothy Egan writes in his Outposts series in today's New York Times of the Tallgrass Prairie that has been revived in northeastern Oklahoma thanks to the efforts of the Nature Conservancy. Here's a nice passage from his evocative post called "Restoration Row":

There are people with us still who remember the Great Plains in its birthday suit, grass as far as the eye could see, what Walt Whitman called, “that delicate miracle, the ever-recurring grass.”

That land is gone to us, now. Once, the grassland in our midsection spanned at least 14 states, from Minnesota to Texas, the second biggest ecosystem in North America. It’s gone because the grass was overturned and the bison were chased off the land and the riot of biodiversity that evolved over 10,000 years was replaced by a few commodity crops to feed us.

* * *

[H]ere, just north of this little town in Osage Indian country, I saw some evidence that the land can be healed.

Read his further description of what that healing looks like here.

No comments: