This lush meadow grows along both sides of the Dead River at Illinois Beach State Park. Blazing stars grow thick throughout the park. I’ve seen 3 different species there. The pink umbel could be wild parsley. I like how the colors of these plants play off each other, along with the occasional red-orange of a fall leaf. Do you see the little wren? She’s probably a little too big, honestly, but I wanted her visible.
To the north of this spot sits a defunct nuclear plant, its spent fuel sitting in containers leaking radiation into the sand. To the south a little way is a coal plant and an asbestos company. Walk the beach and you’ll find chunks of asbestos lying among the pebbles.
The powerful don’t seem to mind making monumental messes that they will never be forced to deal with. So it seems to me it is up to us to make choices in what we buy. If we use an electric stove, we can cut off the demand for gas that is obtained by fracking. I understand that solar power is now cheaper than coal. Batteries have advanced to the point that it is an effective way to power our homes. And, I’ve started asking waitresses to wrap my leftovers in something besides styrofoam. To my surprise, they always can! Do we want to have scenes like the one above, or do we want a world in which whales wash up on shore, dead of starvation but stomachs full of plastic? WE must choose, we must be the source of wisdom.