A lush green spring in southern Missouri

Waterfall_Staats 13007We’ve just returned from a full week of traveling, bookmarked on each end with a graduation; one nephew’s college graduation and another nephew’s high school graduation (congrats to them both –  I couldn’t be more proud!).  The first part of the week found us in southern Missouri, south of Branson.  With all the rain that has fallen (including while we were there), everything is a beautiful and lush green.  The Ozark mountains were in their prime, and waterfalls were running full and fast.  In other areas, flowers were in full bloom – iris and peonies, foxglove and phlox.  We truly couldn’t have picked a better time for our trip.  It was a great time to explore the area with its natural beauty – a wonderful relaxing time.

American lotus

I was traveling south this past week for the Thanksgiving holiday.  In order to avoid a nasty ice and sleet storm I left a day earlier than originally planned.  This gave me a bit of time to visit the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Missouri.  Located along the Missouri River floodplain, the refuge is on the flyway for migrating waterfowl and birds as they head south for warmer climates.  As I drove through the refuge I was serenaded by the sounds of thousands of ducks and snow geese, all enjoying a gray late-fall day.  Amongst the waterfowl were these past-prime American lotus plants and blooms.  I’m sure that their bright blooms were beautiful in the summer sun, however their lines and shapes created beautiful patterns and reflections as the spent blooms rested on the water’s surface.