Wednesday, September 21, 2016

in the ditch between

in the ditch between
mono-crop fields and highway,
prairie grass and wildflowers

I love the deep ditches between the blacktop and the fields of corn and soybeans. Too steep to mow, they harbor prairie grasses and a parade of wildflowers. Right now, at the autumn equinox, the narrow strips are mostly bright yellow sunflowers and goldenrod, with complementary splashes of purple asters.

Harvesting has begun. Green and yellow machines like enormous grasshoppers are cutting down and scooping up the dry soybeans, raising clouds of brown dust, then disgorging the beans into hopper trucks. The field corn is still a little green, but it will soon fall to the sharp teeth of the combines. Both mono-crops are grown with heavy doses of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, so perhaps it's no wonder that wild plants thrive where they do. But insects, especially honeybees and Monarch butterflies, take a heavy hit.

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