Prairie blazing star (Lliatris pycnostachya) is a diva, blanketing prairie patches with her colorful spikes during July and into later August. But her sister, rough blazing star (Liatris asperia), is more subtle, just coming into full bloom now.
Rough blazing star is not as showy, nor as prolific, which means a prairie patch must be approached mindfully in order to spot her among tall grasses at a time when its easy to drown in green or be completely bedazzled by emerging gold. But mindfulness is the point of walking the prairie anyway, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I spotted these examples just off the Cinder Path east of Derby on Sunday afternoon.
If you’re looking for a big show, tickseed sunflowers (Bidens polylepis S.F Blake) are less particular than blazing star, joyfully blanketing fields and roadsides. Those of us who confuse easily generally can recognize tickseed sunflower by its delicate, sawtooth and somewhat ferny foliage.
The first two photographs here were taken at Pin Oak Marsh; the blooming field, yesterday afternoon in the fields south of Red Haw.
The Manhattan memorial that will commemorate lives lost in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, is scheduled to open Sunday, on the 10th anniversary. Counterlight, aka Doug Blanchard, has a lengthy and perceptive overview of the memorial and the new World Trade Center, now rising on the site of the old. You can find his report here.
Dan O'Brien, whose best-known book remains "Buffalo for the Broken Heart" although he is a critically acclaimed novelist and also writes about another passion, falconry, adds a monthly chapter to "Cheyenne River Writings" at the Web site of his firm, Wild Idea Buffalo Co. I especially enjoyed the August post, "It was after two o'clock in the afternoon," which reports upon the reuniting of three young bull buffalo at his Cheyenne River Ranch in far western South Dakota. You can find that essay here.
Finally, I've been interested in Rachel Held Evans' recent post (and related comments), "Journeys of a Religious Misfit, Part 1." Evans writes from an inquiring and enlightened evangelical perspective for an audience that seems to include many in a similar place --- culturally what we now call evangelical Christian, distinctly uncomfortable with current excesses in that branch of the church but unwilling to walk away from it, but equally unwilling to dismiss science and reason. The level of discourse also is remarkably civil for a blog devoted to religious subjects.