fall


We are in the middle of the transition from fall to winter in Minnesota, and Mother Nature has her own agenda.  With fall colors still evident, we had two quick snowfalls.  We love the four distinct seasons we have, yet we can be confused when the boundaries are blurred.  My neighbors have a beautiful euonymus tree in their front yard.  Its leaves are a wonderful pinkish-red in fall, and yet this week the branches were covered with snow.  The white made the leaves glow a bit brighter, and contrasted them to the more usual golds and browns that were scattered on the sidewalk below.  The wetness of the snow had its affect on the leaves; the next day the tree was bare and the ground was dappled with red.

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Last weekend we headed south to the Kansas City area traveling through southern Minnesota, Iowa, and northern Missouri.  The occasion was a special one – my brother’s wedding (congrats to him and his lovely bride!).  Fall colors had peaked already in Minnesota, but by heading south to warmer climates we were able to enjoy more of those rich colors in the landscape.  This scene in central Iowa caught my eye.  Not only was the fence post and its decorative saw blade unique, but the white of the post and the red of the gate seemed to contrast and compliment the green pasture and the golden fall colors on the distant hills.  Fall is soon to be a memory in Minnesota, but it was wonderful to enjoy the season in other states, and it was a perfect weekend to celebrate family and love.

When autumn is as brilliant as it’s been this year, we want it to continue.  A crisp but not cold day, blue sky with some clouds, the changing colors with their deep hues, and a country road that winds through the woods with leaves crinkling under the tires and the deeper smell of fall in the air –  the very best way to soak up a prime day of this most beautiful season.

I sat on the opposite side of the lake watching the shoreline come alive in the sunshine.  The clouds had lingered throughout the day, but an hour before sunset they parted giving the light a truly golden color.  And as the clouds parted, the lake calmed to a sheet of glass; everything on the shoreline was reflected in the mirror-like water.  It was a magical few minutes, long enough to absorb the colors of a brilliant fall evening and to wish the season would linger much longer before we head into winter.

laka-mary-sunset-14756_staatsThis was a weekend of rest and relaxation at the lake.  I’m fortunate to have a group of friends that find camaraderie and restoration together at one woman’s cabin near Alexandria.  The beer was cold, the food was great, and the conversation flowed easily.  It was a time for all of us to unwind, share the events of our lives, and reconnect since our last time together.  Even better was the fact that our weather was warm and clear – unusual for this time in November.  Friday evening I found myself drawn to the lake.  There was no wind, the sun was slowly sinking into the western sky, and a beautiful wisp of clouds was reflected in the glass-like surface of the lake.  The water was so clear I could see the rocks below the surface at my feet.  All was silent, and all was right with this natural world.  As I marveled at the beauty and gave thanks for my friends and my life right now, a loon gave out its characteristic cry in the middle of the lake.  It seemed to be a reminder that nature can always be a place for us to recharge, refresh, and find a restorative place amidst all the outside influences that work to distract us and try to wear us down.

golden-magnolia-colors-14733_staatsIn this morning’s bright light, I stood under our magnolia tree to take in the colors, smells, and sounds.  The leaves have turned a beautiful shade of gold, mixed in with some rusts and browns.  The tree and the ground below it have that distinct smell of fall – old, musty, and dry.  And as I photographed, the leaves were coming down all around me.  The wind would rise, a rustle would develop, and I could hear the sound of leaves floating in the air, touching other leaves as they made their way to the ground.  By the end of the day the area under the magnolia was a sea of leaves, yet there are still some holding tight until the next windy day.

amur-maple-leaves-14624_staatsIt’s the time of year when the landscape changes daily.  The flashes of brilliant fall color are dwindling as the leaves are falling.  Our neighborhood block is filled with maple trees and they are in various stages of colors.  I set out today to do some raking of leaves in the yard.  They were scattered around, and were in multiple shades of yellow, orange, brown, and red.  But the best part of today’s chore was knowing that I didn’t need to rake up each and every leaf.  As colorful as the ground was, I looked above me and saw that many trees still have their leaves and their time will be coming soon to drop all those leaves in our yard.  And I will be raking again.  And again.  And again.  For now the task is enjoyable, but it will take on a more urgent call when snow and ice are in our forecast.

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