We’re slowly lurching our way from winter to spring, yet the transition is never smooth or straight. Our expectations (and our dispositions) soar when the sun comes out and starts to thaw the ice. The temperature rises to an unseasonable 60 degrees and everyone is smiling. The next day the thermometer drops back to winter, all that was liquid refreezes, and we know deep down that the “final” transition has not arrived. There’s snow in the forecast again tomorrow. This open water will likely freeze but hopefully the ice layer will be thin and ready to thaw once again when the sun returns and the melt begins anew.
And just like that, Mother Nature has flipped a switch and we’re at the end of fall. It’s been a glorious and unusually long season this year in the upper Midwest but like all good things it has come to an end. Five days ago the wind was still, the sun was shining, and the only colors remaining were from the oaks with their remaining rusty leaves. Today the temperatures have fallen, the wind has removed any remaining leaves from the trees, and we have a forecast of snow.
Sometimes the change of seasons can be disconcerting to me, especially the ones where the days become shorter and the darkness becomes longer. But I’m reminded that just like the leaves that have fallen from the trees, it is all temporary. There will still be beauty in the coming season and days but it will be in a different palette – one of white – and the landscape will take on a new cloak of loveliness.
Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin we are going through our shoulder time from fall to winter. It’s a time that varies from year to year and also varies in its length. We had snow and cold in mid-October and then an unusual warm stretch in early November, causing the lake ice to begin to freeze, then thaw, and now freeze again. It’s a lovely time to observe the transition with open water and lake ice all at the same time.
With a warm glow the late afternoon sun lit up the opposite shoreline and allowed the trees to be reflected in the open water. The ice had been pushed to the north end of the lake by the strong winds that had blown the previous day. But this for moment, stillness and light came together.
We are experiencing our transition season as winter slowly gives way to spring. In northern Minnesota and Wisconsin it means give and take – warmer temps one day and snow the next. But our waters are starting to thaw, allowing open water for the birds that are beginning to migrate into the area. The oak trees are holding onto their rust-colored leaves, and the air has been heavy with moisture creating some foggy conditions. It almost seems like fall but this time we know there will be green in the landscape and ice-free lakes and ponds soon.
We are in the middle of the transition from fall to winter in Minnesota, and Mother Nature has her own agenda. With fall colors still evident, we had two quick snowfalls. We love the four distinct seasons we have, yet we can be confused when the boundaries are blurred. My neighbors have a beautiful euonymus tree in their front yard. Its leaves are a wonderful pinkish-red in fall, and yet this week the branches were covered with snow. The white made the leaves glow a bit brighter, and contrasted them to the more usual golds and browns that were scattered on the sidewalk below. The wetness of the snow had its affect on the leaves; the next day the tree was bare and the ground was dappled with red.