A Prairie Walk



Let’s step back to a simpler time, when Illinois was filled with prairies…


Hi Friends!

During these glorious September days, I am never alone on my morning walks along the Great Western Prairie. My welcome companions are the singing cicadas, buzzing bees, chirping crickets, and fluttering Monarchs. Oh how I wish you could hear this symphony of nature!  The prairie is a natural treasure, in full glory during early Autumn!

Prairies are such an important part of our heritage in Illinois. We are known as ‘The Prairie State.’  Long before North America was settled, prairies covered over sixty percent of the land that later became Illinois. Now, sadly, there are less than 2,000 acres of prairie (less than one hundredth of one percent)  left in Illinois. We feel so fortunate to have prairie land nearby! In fact, it is the oldest living thing in our town!

Our Prairie Path follows a railroad route from the early days. The strip of land was mowed over the years, but it was too narrow to be developed. So, by pure happenstance, the prairie continued to thrive. When the railroad tracks were removed, the prairie plants created a living museum of pre-settlement days.  There are over 150 species of native plants, including spiderwort, asters, coneflowers, shooting star, bluestem, and Indian grasses in our nearby prairie. These native perennials are able to survive the extremes of heat, cold, wet, and dry in our Midwestern climate.

The Great Western Prairie has also been designated as a Monarch Waystation. It provides Monarch butterflies with the native milkweed plants needed for their lifecycle, thistle blossoms for nectar, and tall plants and grasses for shelter, as the Monarchs migrate on their journey through North America.



At this lovely time of year,

the Great Western Prairie is the perfect place for

walking quietly, dreaming, remembering, and counting our blessings!

Let’s walk a while together…














Long ago, the native prairie ecosystems were maintained when Native Americans set fire to the prairies or lightning started fires on the prairies. Today our local Fire Department schedules a controlled prairie burn each year. Prairie fires spread very quickly destroying trees and shrubs that are not native, without harming the deep roots of the native plants. A burn works to renew the prairie, as ash from the fire adds nutrients to the soil. Within just a few weeks, the native prairie plants begin to grow again!

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the dedicated local conservationists and volunteers who collect the native seeds each year, preserving our prairie for many generations to come.


We are so happy to live close enough to a natural prairie

to walk there, observe, listen, and learn throughout the seasons.

It always feels like a walk through our distant past,

back to the days when Native Americans walked through the prairies.


Every so often, when the wind scatters the seeds,

I find native prairie plants growing in my cottage gardens.

They are the seeds of the past that still teach us lessons today.

I feel so grateful to live in “The Little House  on the  Near the Prairie!”

Autumn blessings!

♡ Dawn

                                           P.S.  Where do you love to walk in your part of the world?

22 thoughts on “A Prairie Walk

  1. A natural treasure in deed, and I am right there with you on this wonderful walk today. I feel the warm sun and the gentle breezes; I hear the symphony of bugs, birds, and wind song; and I see the flowers welcoming one and all to the day. Doesn’t the wording “Great Western Prairie” conjure up just the most magical, romantic images ~ I know it is probably wrong to romanticise such things when they were so nearly lost, and thinking of the hardships of the pioneer days, but it is the Anne in me speaking ~ and what would we do, wherever we live, without our teams of terrific volunteers?

    Well, I think you know some of the places I love to walk ~ through the gentle Welsh countryside and along the high, wild cliff tops of my homeland

    ~~~waving~~~ from Across The Pond ~~~

    • Hi Deb! So glad you could come along for a walk today! This is really the prettiest time of year on the prairie! I always think of the covered wagons, often called Prairie Schooners, making their way slowly through the tallgrass prairies. I’m quite sure they looked like sailing ships passing through the waving grasses! I try to remember to bring my camera along when out for a walk. You just never know what you may pass along the way! It would be so wonderful to walk through the Welsh countryside, past the old stone walls, on the way to the sea!! Wishing you lovely Autumn walks, Deb! Waving back! ♡

  2. Dawn, I love your photos and the story about the burn off. Very interesting! We have a Nature walk and Center near us too. It’s across the river in South Dakota. I don’t walk anymore, but a few years ago we did!


    • Hi Gert! It’s so great to have you stop for a little walk on the prairie together! Just spending time in nature is so relaxing and comforting, isn’t it? Wishing you and Tom happy Autumn days! ♡

  3. Dawn, what a fantastic little
    paradise you have to escape
    to when you need to get lost
    in your thoughts or appreciate
    Mother Nature (although I
    suspect you are already the
    appreciative type)!

    I love to walk on one of the
    many trails we have in our
    area; several are near lakes,
    which is a bonus for me, as
    I love bodies of water and their
    inherent peaceful qualities.

    Thank you for your beautiful
    comment this morning. It is
    always a day brightener to
    receive such kind words : )

    Happy Saturday,
    xo Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne! So happy you stopped by! It is a bit of paradise not too far away. You are surrounded by so many beautiful lakes in Minnesota. I especially love walking by water, too. Your words and images always touch my heart, Suzanne! Happy weekend! ♡

  4. I have been in love with prairies ever since reading Little House on the Prairie as a girl (and again as an adult, several times!). We were able to visit DeSmet, SD, many years ago and stood on Pa’s land, imagining the prairie and the slough. We also have a prairie here in Washington State that I need to visit. Your photos are so interesting to me – thank you for posting this!

    • Hi Barbara! Kindred spirits! I loved the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ books, too. It’s really wonderful that you were able to stand on the exact setting of Laura’s stories in SD. I walk along the prairie so often, I’ll have to take photos in each season to share with you. We’ve both been so busy in our gardens this summer. It’s a bit sad to see gardening season winding down. On a brighter note, now there will be more time for other passions! Happy Autumn days! ♡

  5. What a beautiful area to walk through. We live in a very pretty area for walks. There are squirrels and lots of birds to entertain me and my dog on our walks. Your prairie area is wonderful.

    • Hi Karen! So happy that you stopped to visit today! I love hearing about your special walking place. It must be so nice to take walks outside on mild winter days! Everyone here is taking advantage of these warm Autumn days… and we know cold weather is just around the corner! Wishing you wonderful walks, Karen! ♡

    • Hi Brenda! So happy that you are here! Your walks in the countryside sound like a treat for all of the senses. It’s so refreshing and renewing to walk in nature! Autumn blessings! ♡

  6. Good morning sweet Dawn! Glory, glory, indeed. I grew up in Los Angeles where I dreamed of prairies and meadows, French countrysides and anywhere I could find nature at its best. My favorite places locally are to walk with my husband around our urban lakes that are trimmed on their edges by beautiful homes and parks. But my ultimate favorite place to walk is on the beaches of Europe or in the French countryside. ENJOY your walk today wherever you choose to go! Anita

    • Bonjour, Anita! What a lovely morning! Are your trees dressed in their Autumn colors in Minneapolis yet? Ours are just beginning to change. Mid-October will be the perfect time for ‘leaf peeping’ here. Walking along the prairie always reminds me of pioneer days. Although it was a very hard life, it is such fun to dream about! You have so many lovely lakes in your area. Those wonderful walks in faraway places hold such a special place in our hearts forever! Autumn blessings! ♡

  7. Love reading your post. It is soooo beautifully written. It does make me slow down and appreciate nature and life. Thanks for taking your time to write this beautiful post.

    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi, Anna! So happy that you stopped by! Walking in nature always makes me feel so good ~ both inside and out. The quiet beauty is a real gift! Autumn blessings, Anna! ♡

    • Hi Ginnie! It’s so true. We are most fortunate to have such a treasure nearby! I’m so happy that you stopped by today. Sending Autumn blessings! ♡

    • Hi Julie! We are so fortunate to have a natural prairie nearby… and people who understand the importance of preserving this natural beauty! Isn’t it a wonderful place to walk and reflect? So glad that you have a prairie to enjoy, too! Wishing you a lovely last day of September. How fast the days have flown by! ♡

  8. Loved the latest walk together. I enjoy driving a few minutes to a manmade lake and walking on the path around it. In the spring, the cherry trees burst into a cloud of pink.

    • Hi Anne! So lovely that you came to visit today! Your special walking place near the lake sounds so nice ~ especially in the Springtime! We love walking by the water, too. Such a peaceful, reflective time! It becomes a walking meditation. I think of you so often, dear Anne. Autumn blessings! ♡

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