Not a cloud in the sky could be seen as the sun beat down on the grass and potholes of Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge.
Despite the drought, rich grass shimmered in the day's wind blowing over the land peppered with purple coneflowers and the occasional patch of wood lilies swaying in the wind.
Rolling hills reached to the horizon, their corners covered by blue sloughs reflecting the sky overhead. A pelican soared in the sky. A coot scooted on the surface of a pothole.
Lostwood is a special place on the far flung prairie. Its grassland and potholes offer key habitat in the Missouri Coteau. The refuge is a Globally Important Bird Area for grassland birds like Sprague's pipit and Baird's sparrow and others.
Among the 28,000 acres preserved here is a wilderness area, virgin prairie untouched by man, which in North Dakota is a rarity, where 90 percent of the state's land was converted for agriculture.
Lostwood's land is rich in plants and grasses. Wild prairie roses. Purple coneflowers. Yellow coneflowers. Gayfeather. Wood lilies. Few trees, however.
The sounds of the birds and the wind are largely all you'll hear here. Canada is just 23 miles north. Peaceful tranquility in a region rocked by oil and gas development in the last decade. Still, Lostwood remains.
Mallard ducklings swim with their mother. Grackles gather on ranchers' fence lines. And the wildflowers wave in the wind as they always have, soaking in the summer sun where the world is quiet here.