Wisconsin


The bright colors of fall have come to an end.  The oaks have turned to their deeper rust color and the ground is now littered with faded colors.  As I was out raking leaves, a light rain started.  On the still lake it provided its punctuation in the water surface.  The reflection was beautiful and a reminder to me that even though the bright colors of fall are gone and many of the trees are without their vibrant leaves, there is still an amazing beauty in the world around us.

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Our fall is changing rapidly.  What is lovely and colorful on one day is completely different two days later after heavy winds have caused the leaves to fall.  I was fortunate to find this lovely golden road one late afternoon.  The autumn colors were plentiful, and the road was littered with beautiful yellow leaves.  The next day was followed with heavy winds, and when I returned the trees had lost all their color and many of the leaves on the road had been scattered into the forest.  I was reminded of how important it is to stop and make the image when you see it because it is never the same the next time.

The brilliance of a fall morning!  There is a deepening of yellows and oranges now, and the reds are sprinkled throughout the landscape.  This particular morning dawned cool but the sun still had warmth to provide.  The lake was calm, the geese were calling overhead, and fall was celebrating all its glory.

We’re quickly slipping from late summer into fall in the upper Midwest, and sometimes it seems like it’s changing overnight.  We knew it was coming, but we’re never quite ready for the drop from temperatures in the 80’s to the 50’s all in the same week.  Last week I was exploring some new Wisconsin hiking trails with a dear friend.  We encountered forests of green, trails covered with colored leaves already fallen, rain, more rain, and some spots of lovely fall colors.  This scene along the Brule River was one of the areas that was further along with the change in colors.  The next few weeks will probably bring our peak fall colors — a wonderful time to be out in nature!

We’d met up with friends and family in the early evening and headed out for some fishing.  As my line and lure were not garnering any attention, I started watching the evening light.  The sun moved lower on the horizon, the bright blue of the sky toned down, and the white clouds soaked up the lovely pink of twilight.  Even the wind that had been blowing eventually stopped and the lake became like glass.  The island ahead of us was reflected in the lake, but the clouds seemed to surround us, above and below.  The light was fleeting, the colors left the sky, and dark settled in quickly.  (And yes, my line remained uninteresting to the fish, but I left the lake thankful for the twilight’s beauty and the company of family and good friends.)

Summer seems to be associated with activities — the longer days give us more time to play and enjoy the sun, warmth, and water.  But sometimes we’re reminded that quiet and peacefulness are just as important during the summer.  We’d had heavy rains the previous day and the temperatures were moderate.  In the morning we woke to a thick fog that initially covered the entire lake and blocked the trees on the opposite shore.  As the sun feebly tried to break through the fog, the shoreline became more visible.  There was no wind –  only stillness.  It was a quiet and tranquil time.  The fog was in no hurry to burn off, and the morning was taking its own sweet time.  It seemed to be a reminder to slow down and enjoy all the moods of summer as it will soon fade into autumn.

The bee balm is in full bloom right now; its bright deep red petals attracting all sorts of pollinators and other visitors.  In full sunshine the blooms take on an iridescent shade, and in gloomy cloudy situations the colors pop out of the otherwise green landscape.  I watched the bee balm garden as the butterflies came and went, followed by the hummingbirds.  Their activity was tireless, moving from one blossom to the next to the next.  Then they would retire to the pine tree as if to rest, and later return back to the blossoms.

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