Monday, April 30, 2012
I occasionally meet a person who thinks Kansas is a wasteland of flat and uninteresting fields. I have always thought that to be a mistaken view, as I can think of many breathtaking areas that are neither. This weekend I expanded my own perspective by visiting one of the most interesting natural areas of the state at both Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira Wetlands and Wildlife areas – both on the “Wetlands Wildlife National Scenic Byway.”
Judging by the road signs, one might think this drive less than advertised, but if you are a hunter, hiker, birdwatcher or nature-onlooker, it is a trip that belongs on the top of your list. Although located in close proximity, the two areas differ in that Cheyenne Bottoms is fresh water marsh and Quivira has two salt marshes, offering extensive diversity in the habitat. A brochure and audio guide of the Scenic Byway can be obtained prior to the trip from Kansas Wetlands & Wildlife Scenic Byway website and will add to the enjoyment.
The majority of birds this weekend were shorebirds, and there were enough species to challenge me. I was most grateful to have an experienced birder in the van to help with key identification clues. Of course, I would have loved to see a whopping crane, but that will happen on a return trip.
I wonder how many treasured experiences I have missed in my misguided opinions of an area? It seems we are often conditioned to seek the “big moments,” the “don’t miss,” and the “Oh, my Gods,” and pass up what could be the most memorable experiences available right in front of us. I am making a commitment today that I am going to pass-up less and try to be a more educated traveler along these roads of Kansas.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
|Bartlett Arboretum April 2012|
Over the last few weeks we have heard of Jesus in the garden many times. The garden is where he went to pray and rest and was the setting for his arrest. It is there he chose to wait, his heart filled with anguish.
I have been to Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine several times this spring, and the gardens are more beautiful than they have been in many years. As a child I used to peak through the iron gates and wonder who the millionaire was who owned such a park. Now I realize it was owned by someone who just loved gardens. Early in the development of the garden bones, a sunken room was created with walls of limestone and surrounded with holly and those famous tulips. On the southern edge of that space, a cross of Kansas limestone was set. It towers over the sunken garden and looks out across the water of the small pond. If one is fortunate enough to be there when the garden is in peak form and the sunlight filters through the trees, it is breathtaking. Thoughtfully, the current owner has placed a bench or two for those who would like to pause.
Where ever your garden is that calms your soul, I hope you visit often this summer. We have much to be grateful for as this lush year replaces the previous year of drought and it would appear even the plants have recovered from their distress. May your quiet moments there bring you peace.