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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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.)

One of the mantras taught to photographers is patience.  Sometimes what you are expecting may not appear possible, but a little patience can lead to some grand results.  Such was the case earlier this week.  The afternoon was cloudy, warm, and humid, and the sky was nondescript.  Even the lake looked dull.  We headed out for a ride around the lake and 30 minutes before sunset the clouds started to clear.  As the sun started to go behind the trees on the western shore, they cast a shadow on the eastern shoreline.  The water became calm, and the clearing sky filled with pink and white clouds was reflected in the lake surface below, along with the gold of the trees on the shoreline.  It lasted for a few minutes and then was gone; my patience rewarded.

There’s something very simple and abstract to an image when you remove the surrounding landscape.  Lines become more pronounced.  Colors, or the lack of colors in some areas, takes on a different significance.  This scene caught my eye when we were out boating.  The golds and greens at the top of the image are the reflection of the far side of the lake as the late evening sun is illuminating it.  Some of the water ripples pick up those colors too.  The lines of the wake are interrupted by the lily pads which are now starting to appear throughout the lake; they contribute their own tension to the image.  And the entire photo shifts from the warmth of the sun-lit trees to the cool blues and whites of the reflected sky.  It’s truly an abstract image yet it pulls together all the things we cherish about summer in the North.

This past week there was a full moonrise – the strawberry moon, as it’s called.  Although I can’t attest to seeing a strawberry tint where I was, the moonrise was beautiful.  The sun had set, the wind had stilled, and the night air held the warmth and humidity of the day.  Slowly the moon rose above the trees on the opposite shore, clearing them and throwing its reflection into the lake below.  If you listened for awhile you could hear the cry of a loon.  And in the grasses by the side of the lake, the fireflies started to blink.  It was a beautiful night — just the kind we dream of during the bitter cold of winter.

High heat and humidity can only last for so long.  Eventually the atmosphere needs to clear it all out.  As the sunshine disappeared, the air stilled and the clouds moved in.  There was just a line of light on the far shoreline, but the rest of the sky was filled with billowing clouds – grey and dark.  Their reflection in the eerie calm of the lake seemed ominous.  A few minutes later the rain started in big drops, the wind picked up, and the rain became steady giving us the much-needed moisture.

Spring arrived quickly in the past week.  There were hints of green showing up in the trees and the grass.  The ice moved off the lake and the open water was an invitation for geese, ducks, loons, eagles, and the people wanting to fish.  It was a flurry of activity all generated by the unofficial end of winter.  By early evening it was quiet and peaceful again.  A light rain shower had moved through the area, the sun was beginning to set, and the lake had calmed.  And as if to punctuate the end of a delightful spring day, a rainbow appeared in the sky and was reflected in the still of the water below.