In this first of four seasonal narratives, naturalist and bird watcher Pete Dunne sends a postcard from the prairie in his characteristically puckish style. The prairie is an exciting place to explore an unfolding drama—man versus the environment—and as Dunne and his wife travel through the heartland, the fleeting nature of the season comes to symbolize the precarious balance between the two. At the Sandhill Crane Festival in Nebraska, for example, Dunne observes the struggle between maintaining the cranes' habitat and meeting farmers' needs for water. Yet Dunne finds affirmation on the prairie, including volunteers giving their time to conservation efforts, and the drive of all species to move their genes to the next generation.
"Dunne presents an intimate account of a two-month trek—accompanied by photographer wife Linda—following the coming of spring across Americas prairie grasslands. Theirs is an odyssey into the time of beginning that weaves together spiritual insight, plant biology, geology lessons and American history—and a plethora of bird sightings, from the mating trysts of the increasingly rare lesser prairie chicken to the plight of the threatened mountain plover.... Dunne's melodic prose and rhapsodic connection with the natural world brilliantly entice an estranged audience to explore a ... now alien environment."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)