We headed out before dawn to Willow River State Park, located just outside of Hudson, Wisconsin. The temperature was a cold 9 degrees, but the eastern horizon was beginning to glow so we knew we’d have a bit of sunshine to warm us up. At one time the Willow River was used to operate mills for grinding grain, and later logs were driven down the river to Lake St. Croix. Today, in the cold of a winter’s morning, the area was quiet. We arrived early enough to observe whitetail deer that were starting to rise after being bedded down for the night. We saw an eagle soar overhead. And the snow all around was animated by the sun. Any small hills were accentuated and visible by their shadows, and where these small flower stems were standing tall through the snow they shed their shadows too across the white landscape. The sun caused the ice in the snow to sparkle as if it was filled with a thousand diamonds. It was a wonderful time to explore a new area and see all that offered up to us.