Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
Today I decided to get out and enjoy the nice day. It was a little chilly, but sunny and nice.
I took off to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, which is about 30 minutes away from Hutchinson, and is an amazing place. It is a place I can go to here that I really connect with.
One of Patsy's Rules for Living is that when you've lost your way you have to go to some place where you can reset your compass. That place for me is the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in Cairo, Illinois. But, Quivira has become a place I can do that here.
It has taken me a long time to grow to appreciate the prairie. It's a subtle kind of beauty. But once you take time to see it, you find it has many layers of color. And the sound of wind on the prairie is unlike anything else.
I took time today to walk a nature trail called "Migrant's Mile." It is pretty short - about 3/4 of a mile - but at the furtherest part of it there's a bridge that spans a marsh.
There are cat tails on each side. I've never seen so many in one place. You can also witness the effect of "Plant Succession."
Underwater plants die and as they decay form a matted covering called humus. The humus provides a place for larger plants - like cat tails - to anchor so their roots can get nourishment. Grasses and other plants along the shoreline will gradually grow into the fertile drying humus left behind when the aquatic plants decay. Over time the shorelines will meet in the middle of the marsh and the marsh will disappear.
Marshes provide habitat for a host of plants and animals, and are disappearing because of being drained for development.
The ones here are not in danger of that, of course, because it's a federally protected area.
I'm often surprised at how well such things can be organized. There is a plan in place here so the neighboring farmers work in partnership with the government. They grow crops on a share basis and the farmers harvest their share and leave the rest for food or habitat for animals. It's a great system and benefits everyone.
Quivira is known for birds. It's a major area for that. However, what I saw lots of today were deer. At one time there were eight in one place.
There's always plenty to see in nature and I think it's good to be outside in the sunshine and seeing nature work. There is a cycle to things that we can easily lose sight of because of the way we live our lives, in very artificial circumstances.
I believe this is the plant that monarch butterflies feed on that makes them toxic to predators.
At one point on the trail there were lots of trees with mushrooms growing on them. The different colors and shapes were extraordinary.
October skies are the bluest of the whole year, and I always make it a point to appreciate them.
Like I mentioned, Quivira is known for birds.