Wisconsin


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.

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.

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.

The day was cloudy and gray and the wind had been blowing.  Twilight was approaching and yet the sun broke through the clouds for a brief five minutes.  It lit up the far shore of the lake and the trees became golden, all reflected in the stillness and calm of the lake.  The shadows of the treetops to the west started to darken this eastern shoreline and would eventually envelop the entire view.  But for a brief period it was a magical and golden view.

I watched in amazement at this tiny hummingbird as he flitted among the bee balm blossoms in the yard.  He would work all around the edges of one flower, fly off to an adjacent flower and do the same, then to another and another.  After about a minute he would land on a nearby branch and rest.  And then he’d repeat the same thing all over again, sometimes moving to a blooming hosta and then back to the bee balm, or sometimes to a clump of catmint nearby, and retreating back to the bee balm.  It was a treat to observe and marvel at something so very small with all this energy.

It’s a true summer’s day –  blue sky above with white patchy clouds, and the sun is beating down with its warmth.  We are driving along some county roads in northern Wisconsin.  We’ve passed fields of green soybeans and acres of corn, all thriving in spite of the late planting season and the copious amounts of rain this year.  But up ahead is a bright and welcome sight — at an intersection there is a sea of yellow on one side of the road.  It stretches off to the trees in the distance, and it is a glorious field of sunflowers.  Faces to the east, backlit by the sun, the large blossoms are nodding in the wind.  To me this is the epitome of summer, and I’ll soak it in to remember during the not-so-summery days that lie ahead.

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