This past week has been filled with beautiful crisp and clear mornings.  There’s something about the air in winter, especially in the morning, that is fresh and invigorating.  In order to enjoy all that a winter morning has to offer we headed out before dawn this morning.  As we left the house there was a nearly full moon hanging low in the western sky and although we don’t have snow cover the moonlight was bright and beckoned us on our early outing.  We journeyed west of the Twin Cities to Wright County, an area that’s made up of farmland, rivers and lakes.  As the eastern sky was just beginning to brighten, we arrived at the shoreline of Fountain Lake.  The temperature was about 18 degrees with no wind, but in the quiet just before dawn we could hear a rumbling sound echoing across the lake.  As the ice was contracting and expanding there was a moaning and groaning that shattered the early morning stillness.  Once I was accustomed to this sound and understood what it was, we enjoyed the change of colors in the eastern sky and followed the sun as it lit up the tracks on the ice.  With this cold start to the morning there was a thin layer of frost on many of the grasses and trees and the sun caused the landscape to sparkle and shine as it moved higher in the sky.  After a delicious and filling breakfast in a local cafe we headed out to explore other areas of the county, taking advantage of our unseasonably warm temperatures.