We knew it was coming; it was even later than usual this year. But winter’s arrival is always a shock, especially when the temperature drops 30 degrees in one day, the wind blows and gusts, and the rain turns to snow. For less than 48 hours we have been below freezing. The snow fell Friday afternoon and evening, and here in the Twin Cities we have less than an inch on the ground. But the white was evident on the plants and grass, and the cold was enough to put a layer of ice on the water in the Ordway Japanese Garden at Como Park. One tree bravely held on to its bright red leaves – the only real spark of color in the now-winter landscape. In this beautiful quiet this morning, the only sound was the waterfall that was continuing to gurgle and the geese whose flight south to open water took on a new sense of urgency.
There are so many lovely “hidden gems” in the Twin Cities, and one just happens to be in my neighborhood. Como Park, which includes a conservatory, zoo, carousel, golf course, lake, swimming pool, picnic areas, and many trails, also holds a lovely Japanese garden tucked away down a winding path. In the early morning hours with the colors of autumn on display, I found myself humbled and amazed at the quiet and the beauty in the garden. The fallen leaves seemed to have a purpose in their random display, as if saying that all is right in this changing landscape. The colors spoke to me, begging to be remembered as they will be quickly replaced with the white of snow. This year’s change of seasons has been hurried, yet here in the Japanese garden there was a stillness and quiet reminding me that each season holds its own purpose and to trust in the changes of fall prior to the long nights of winter.
I spent the morning at Como Park in the McNeely Conservatory and the Ordway Japanese Garden. Although we had the promise of bright sunshine and hot and humid weather for the day, the morning was cool and cloudy. The light was actually quite beautiful for photographing. I spent a half hour in the Japanese garden and was preparing to leave when I heard the sound of raindrops hitting the pond. As beautiful as the sound was, the sight of the large drops punctuating the calm water’s surface was delightful. I stayed through the rain showers and continued to photograph, enjoying the freshness of the rain, the cool of the morning, and the peacefulness and beauty that I found in the garden.