on the prairie

Let’s talk about prairie, history, and language. For communities so focused on “native plants”/”native gardening”/etc there’s so little acknowledgement or engagement with indigenous Americans and their history. 

When we talk about science, there’s a baseline assumption of objectivity. Science is Truth, something apart from messy cultural ideas. The reality is, culture and all it’s messes bleed into science, like here in ecology. We gotta be conscious of the histories we inherit in science.

  • Me as a kid: When I'm a teenager I'm going to hang out with friends all of the time and go to parties and date a lot of boys and I'm going to be so popular
  • Me as a teenager: *practices the five movements from The OA alone in my bedroom*
4

a few people (usually at gas stations, noting my hail destroyed car) have asked, “why do you storm chase” and the only good answer I have is “why don’t you?” 

it’s true I’m not a classical storm chaser. I tend to entirely different areas of the storm than most do (the part that still has some light if possible) and really, I’m a photographer chasing a photo more than a storm chaser but I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to scream across the prairie after some monster so big and alive you can hardly take it all in (even at 15mm). the complexity, drama, violence and power make almost anything possible. I’ve seen things that took my breath away, and cowered in my car praying my glass would hold and that nothing terribly nasty was living in that shroud of rain that pinned me to where I was. 

I’ve wasted entire days on hope. 

I hope that storm can organize itself despite all the science saying it can’t. I hope I can get to this spot on the map before it does. I hope the light holds. or the road hasn’t heaved too bad this winter. 

every year i commit myself to only chase the big bad boys that have structure, and form, and the rare magic of a fully formed super cell and every year I find myself rolling across the gravel roads after some pulse storm that maybe, just maybe has something pretty in it. 

so entering year three of really learning and chasing more seriously my answer would be, why aren’t you out there, living and dying with the gust fronts and hail cores and living creatures sucking up the prairie moist. really. why?