Change to winter in the landscape

We’ve just returned from a trip south to Missouri for a lovely family wedding. When we left our home in Minnesota the snow was flying and the plows were out clearing the roads. As we drove south the snow depth seemed to diminish with the miles and the sun would peek through the clouds as they were blown across the sky. A few miles later and we’d be surrounded again in a snow squall.

We crossed the border into Iowa and the scenario continued (actually, it continued the following day too!). I am always amazed to see the cleared fields outlined in snow. The geometry of the land becomes accentuated and so much more noticeable. In this instance, all those field lines are in a direct contrast to the roundness of the clouds. It’s a beautiful time to be out on the road and observe how the seasonal changes affect our view of the landscape.

Reflections on late fall

The calendar continues to move closer to winter; autumn is almost out of our rear view mirror. The waterfowl have all flown south, the temperatures are dipping lower at night, the sun is hanging closer to the horizon, and the majority of leaves have fallen. The oak tree leaves that remain are a deep russet color.

We had a couple of days of calm winds, where the stillness of nature was delightful. As sunset neared, the winds dropped completely and the lake became like a sheet of glass. The sinking sun’s rays were a golden light and spread across the shoreline. Each tree seemed to glow until gradually the sun sank below the opposite hill and spread it’s shadow over the trees.

Soon the lake will begin to freeze. The oaks will drop their remaining leaves, and winter will settle in. It’s been a glorious, and longer, fall – nothing to complain about here.

The fickleness of fall

Fall – a season that changes from day to day as we transition from summer to winter. It’s never an easy transition and yet we are surprised with the temperature and weather swings. Just as we were reveling in the beauty of the fall colors we woke up to a wintry snowfall a week ago. It powdered the tree leaves with white, accentuating the yellows and reds and reminding us of what lies ahead. The air was quiet with the sound of the falling snow, and the temperatures were still mild. The waterfowl that were here didn’t seem to mind although many have already begun their migration south. By early afternoon the snow had melted, and a few days later we were enjoying sun and the warmth of the 60’s. But this short snow was our reminder of the approaching winter season and the beauty that will come with a landscape covered in white.

Fog and snow

Try as it might, spring has not arrived. Maybe for a day or two, but then it departs and we are back in winter.

The other morning we awoke to another dusting of snow. This time it was accompanied by a light fog hanging in the air, softening the branches in the distance and blurring this face of winter. Eventually the fog lifted and the snow melted. And then a day or two later the process repeated. So now we wait. Will there be another snow or will we round that final corner from winter to spring?

Transition time

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.