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Quadrat: A Year in the Tallgrass
Quadrat: A Year in the Tallgrass

A quadrat is a standardized ecological survey plot. As an undergraduate in conservation biology, I studied population data over time in a quadrat at a tall grass prairie preserve. Memories still summon the sights and sounds of the prairie as readily as if I were standing in it today, big bluestem up to my brow, my lips, my shoulders. Immersed in the tall grass, distance disappears; everything becomes immediate. A whole sheet of siding was salvaged from a farmer's field building not far from that preserve. Used as trailer flooring, it came with me to California, where it found other purposes over the years, gradually divided more and more, as were my memories of the prairie. Finally, I cut it up into these panels, and painted my memories of standing in the big bluestem.