I am still in catch up mode from a wonderful and busy Spring but now it’s the first full day of Summer! Wow! Things always seem best when there is lots to do, it keeps my mind busy on the things I love. I have done two shows and represented some of my work at the recent Symphony In The Flint Hills. This seems like it would account for 5 days but in actuality it involves many days of preparation and then days of recouping afterwards! At least for an old guy like me. It has been great meeting many folks who I have never met and folks who have heard of or seen some of my work but have never met in person. Kansas folks are really great and very supportive.

I have made it out into the landscape a half dozen times or so in the last month. As I mentioned in the previous post it is bursting with new growth. By now the tallgrasses are nearly waist high. I expect some exceptional growth on the prairies through the summer due to the more than adequate rainfall we have received. I am sure I will find Big Bluestem in the 8-10 feet high range. It is almost unreal when you wonder into these areas, it literally is a jungle of grass.

17 Year Cicada

©Brad Mangas

For Kansas folks there has been a unique phenomena happening the last 4-5 weeks and that has been the emergence of the 17 year Cicada. Seems everyone has something to say about them. And they seem to be everywhere in these parts. I believe their time is about done. I haven’t done much research on them so I am not sure how long they live, long enough to drive some crazy with the constant buzzing though. I did make a trip out to spend some time with them a few weeks ago. It was no problem finding them, lots of them. No lots and lots of them! I decided to make a trip to Konza Prairie one evening and spend an hour or so checking these little once every 17 year critters out.

Here's Lookin At You Kid

©Brad Mangas

Upon arrival I hiked down to the Hokanson Homestead which is nestled in a wooded area with a small creek running by it. It was definitely the perfect place not only for Cicada’s but for mosquitoes as well, wow! I really hate covering myself with deet but I had no choice if I wanted to stay there. Cover myself I did and then spent the last hour of the day setting and crawling around the trees and grasses. When I do things like that it really makes me feel nature in a personal way. I see single stems of grass beginning to produce their seeds. Single leaves of wildflowers and single insects that make them their home. It is then I know what life is about and how I should interact with it.  It is a perspective that one can only get by being surrounded by nature and taking the time to observe and appreciate it.

I will keep playing catch up for a bit longer and begin to share more posts here as I do so. Enjoy the season, get out and have some fun. If your wondering what to do this summer just spend a little more time with nature and you will never be bored.

Spring House at the Hokanson Homestead

©Brad Mangas