Autumn is quickly spreading across Minnesota, starting in the north and moving southward every day.  Saturday morning I left the house before dawn and drove north to Wild River State Park, a beautiful park located right along the St. Croix River.  The morning was cold with frost and blue skies, but as I approached the river valley I could see a thick blanket of fog hovering over the water.  I quickly parked, collected my camera gear, and headed along a trail that follows the river.  In the stillness of the morning with the sounds and sights muffled by the fog layer, I enjoyed a delightful hour of fall colors.  All too soon the sun burned through the fog, the temperature rose, and the wind picked up.  I was delighted to see a bald eagle soaring high overhead, and later a deer ran by, obviously hearing my approach before I had even seen her.  The time passed quickly amongst the golden leaves of the forest, and when I returned to my car I realized I was missing my cell phone.  It must have fallen somewhere along a trail (or maybe even into the river).  I reported the loss to the park staff and drove home with the hope that someone might find it or it might become a new treasure for someone’s geocaching trip.  As the remainder of the day wore on and no word on my phone I mentally retraced my steps and thought that I might have dropped it near the front of where my car had been parked.  So this morning I made the pre-dawn drive back to Wild River State Park, only this morning was a completely different scene.  The night had been warmer, so there was no frost and no fog – only the bright sun as it crested the bluffs on the Wisconsin side of the river.  I searched the parking lot to no avail, but took the opportunity to hike another trail further north in the park.  With the bright sunlight the trees were glowing in their shades of yellow and gold.  I appreciated the contrast between the two mornings and remembered that scenes and places are never the same, even when separated by only 24 hours.  I have since replaced my cell phone, and I am not annoyed in the least at the “reason” I had to visit the park on two consecutive beautiful fall mornings.

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