Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sandhills Summer - Fraught with Beauty

Dugout Creek, Nebraska

So far this summer, the Nebraska sandhills have been hit with heavy rain and sizzling temperatures. The combination of heat and moisture has the heavy air dripping with humidity.

Fortunately, just north of the farm there’s a shady oasis offering cold water, a cool breeze and infinite solitude. It’s a happy place where cattle, birds and wildlife congregate in order to escape the hostility of the Great American Desert.

The centerpiece of such paradise is a muddy creek that winds its way through a cottonwood forest. This year it’s more of a deluge as the water is rampaging through the canyon like a wild bull, making a crossing inconceivable.

Staying safely on one side of the torrent was still a satisfying experience as I saw wood ducks, woodpeckers and wild turkeys. The trees were topped with a fresh canopy of dense foliage that cast blue shadows across the lush grass.

This precious swath of verdant green is a unique environment fraught with beauty and peril. You can’t let your guard down while exploring this serene habitat because even in such an idyllic landscape as this, you have to be careful.

This time of year the prairie can be a dangerous place susceptible to fire, flooding and rattlesnakes. Somehow, though, no serpents were seen so the withdrawal from this Garden of Eden was a matter of free will.

The Nebraska sandhills

A shady oasis

A happy place

A muddy creek is the centerpiece

Dense foliage

Blue shadows

A unique environment

A serene habitat

A matter of free will

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