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.

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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.

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.

fall-color-reflection-14359_staatsI was up early yesterday morning hoping for a beautiful sunrise to compliment the fall colors that we’re enjoying in Minnesota.  But as luck would have it, the cloud cover was too thick and there was no sunshine.  However, it was unusually warm and the colors were still wonderful.  There was enough wind to throw ripples across the lake and there was a shoreline that was mostly protected from the wind.  Looking through the camera lens I was mesmerized by the color reflection in the water.  The slight movement created a blur of colors and the more I looked at it the more I was reminded of the Northern Lights, only here they were playing out as reflections in a northern lake.

fall-colors-of-the-north-woods-14278_staatsIf you’re lucky enough to be in the North Woods of Minnesota at the peak of fall color, you can’t help but be amazed.  It may be fleeting, and its peak appearance can’t be written onto the calendar months in advance, but this year we had the great fortune of being in the right place at the right time.  We spent a few days in central Itasca County, near Jack the Horse Lake.  The area is part of the Chippewa National Forest and is filled with county and forest roads that meander through the hills, the trees, and around the numerous lakes.  We caught ourselves pointing out beautiful vistas around almost every turn.  The colors were brilliant, whether the sun was shining and the sky was blue, or the skies were overcast.  While we were there, the temperatures plummeted to below freezing and we even encountered some early-season sleet and snow showers, but it was worth the extra layers of clothing to be filled with awe and appreciation at the landscape and colors around us.