The cold has settled in and the lakes are freezing.  Throughout the day I watched the clouds and the snow move in.  The wind would pick up and blow the snow down the lake, forming whirlwinds of white skimming the ice.  As quickly as the snow came in, then the sun would come out.  The ice would creak and moan as the heat from the sun combatted the cold of the ice.  There were sub-sonic groans that pierced the air.  And then the cycle would repeat – snow then sun then snow.  But before sunset the skies cleared and there was a beautiful and quiet full moonrise.  It lifted over the opposite shore and trees and eventually directed its light on the snow-covered and ice-cracked lake, littered with leaves now encased in the ice.

We have transitioned from fall to winter quickly.  The colors are gone, the air is cold, and the landscape is very neutral.  How quickly I’m missing the yellows, golds, reds, and deep burgundies that we experienced just a few short weeks ago!  The waters are already beginning to ice up and we have seen snow although it has not stayed.  Yet.  I needed one more post with brilliant colors before I could put fall behind me.

It was a cool fall day as I drove past the last farmer’s market of the season and I couldn’t pass it up.  There was plenty of squash, apples, and all the cold-weather veggies available, but my eyes went straight for some colorful dahlias – probably the last ones of the season.  Their burst of color was a welcome sight and I knew there wouldn’t be anything else flowering until next spring.  They have brightened the house and caught my eye as I passed through the room they were in, each time being thankful for this one last bouquet of the fall.

Fall is here in all its glory!  The yellows, golds, oranges, and reds, all aglow against a dark stormy sky but lit up by a short-lived stream of sunlight, and reflected in the quiet and still waters of the lake.  This is the beauty we look forward to every year in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Oh, the beauty of fall!  On what might have been one of the last truly warm days of fall – blue sky, a warm breeze, and 70 degrees – I walked through Como Park.  I was not alone, as there were people walking, biking, running, meandering –  anything to soak up the glorious day.  The sunshine brought out the colors of the sky and grass and the flaming red of this tree by the Frog Pond.  Now we hunker down for a cold front and snow flurries, thankful for the recent memory of a beautiful day.

We traveled south last week for a visit with family in Kansas.  Our route took us off the interstate and along two lane highways and county roads.  It was relaxing and much more interesting than the speed-view when traveling at 70+ miles per hour.  We stopped at small city parks and explored fields of corn and soybeans.  The temperatures were still summer-like but the days are certainly shorter.  The sunsets were beautiful like this one –  fields of flowers and a ball of fire going down over the horizon but still giving its glow and colors to the clouds above.  The field was full of dragonflies and grasshoppers, all in a feeding frenzy before fall and winter’s arrival.  It was a wonderful trip — not just for the scenery but more importantly for the time spent with family.

I was driving down a county road and this old weathered building caught my eye.  I’m not sure if it was a barn or just a building. Time has taken its toll as the white paint is now chipped and fading.  The door on the end appears to have been cut out of the wood planks and the hinge is completely rusted as is the handle and the lock that is holding the door shut.  As I studied this building I saw something flit in front of my camera.  Amidst the purple asters and other flowers and grasses surrounding this building was a monarch butterfly landing, feeding, and moving on to another flower.  Although the building is presently abandoned and lifeless, keeping its story to itself, there was much life and activity going on all around it.