May 8th is Prairie Appreciation Day. Bill and I celebrated early during May Day weekend. I lived in the NW for decades before I even knew we had any prairies here.
It is springtime and the prairie is beautiful. Bill and I went to the 625 acre Mima Mounds -- a unique prairie grassland near Olympia. This place has taken on much importance in our lives. I used to travel the train from Seattle to Portland and as we rolled through this area a sign would appear on the video screen saying "Now passing the Mysterious Mima Mounds." Well, this always caught my attention because my Mother's name is Mima. And also because when you call something mysterious, but you can't really know what to look for out the window, and they don't really tell you anything about it, the mystery grows.
Camas is the signature flower of the prairies.
Buzz pollinated shooting stars.
Violets are blooming now, the yarrow will bloom later.
For our first date, Bill took me on a motorcycle ride out to the Mima Mounds. We didn't know it was our first date at the time, but we've come to call it that. It was my first time to see the mounds and I loved them. It was long after the spring flowers had passed, but there are many kinds of beauty there.
Coastal reindeer lichen and kinnikinnick(?).
Kinnikinnick and moss creep through the grass tufts.
Strawberry flowers now, fruits later.
Camas and native buttercup are everywhere across the grassland.
When Bill and I married, it was at the Mima Mounds with friends and family present. We felt the mystery of the mounds reflected our relationship. How we met and our immediate resonance with each other felt both mysterious and expansive and we could think of no better place than this prairie where we first shared an inkling of our attraction.
Yesterday was my first time to fully experience the spring blooming of the mounds, and I wanted to share it with all of you. And yes, in case you are wondering, the mounds are still a mystery!