August 21, 2017 – The great American solar eclipse from the center of the path of totality at Giant City State park near Makanda Illinois. This was certainly an amazing experience and when the sun was completely blocked by the moon some stars and planets could be seen. Temperatures had dropped at least 15 degrees by that time and a soft orange glow could be seen on the horizon. The sounds of people cheering was replaced with the soft sounds of voices and a reverence with childlike excitement by this celestial event that seemed to create a unified emotion among strangers in a field surrounded by a summer woods on this hot and humid August day in Southern Illinois.
August 13, 2017 – During the dog-days of summer I get a feeling of calm and peace and a sense that all things in nature have nearly completed a cycle and are now mostly enjoying the rewards of their struggle. The animal kingdom has been replenished with a new generation and plants are in full-bloom. Some flowering species have already gone to seed with blooms shriveled and fallen but many others are providing the nectar that attracts those colorful fluttering wings of many shapes and sizes. Butterflies are thick in the meadows and pastures. Uncut roadways are high traffic areas for these pollinators like Eastern tiger and Black swallowtails, Common buckeye, Monarchs and Painted lady butterflies. There are 150 species of butterflies in Illinois and they are out there right now to behold.