While some may argue differently, one of the very best things about living in Minnesota is when summer turns to fall. Meteorologists tell us that officially happened this past week, but for me fall arrives with the changing of the leaves. Here in the river valley that is a true sight to behold and with our varied and diverse urban forest, more often than not we are treated to a spectacular show by Mother Nature.
I first noticed the beginnings of the annual display this week. In a community whose inventory of towering and decades old trees was decimated by a tornado, trees are as precious as gold and trees that were replanted after the tornado are now growing large enough to contribute to the display of fall colors. For whatever reason on this particular day, I noticed the first faint yellows crowning the deep greens of the maples, elms, locust and walnut trees. It was just a taste of what is to come and I can’t wait.
As the leaves begin to change my family starts planning for random trips around the state to see the splendor of nature’s paintbrush with our own eyes. While our river valley is one of the premier drives at this time of year, I can’t wait to head north and stand on a hilltop to see forests filled with splashes of color reflecting off the quiet and still waters of one of our thousands of lakes. It makes you catch your breath and reminds me that I am only a small cog in the world.
Too busy most of the time to even remember what day it is, stopping to experience Mother Nature in all her glory serves as a wake-up call to really see what surrounds me. There is beauty in the simplest of things if we only just take the time to realize it. Maybe like me you spent endless hours as a child laying on your back gazing up at a blue sky dotted with clouds so full and fluffy you felt like you could sleep on them. Or maybe you remember seeing the first hint of purple as a crocus popped it’s head up through the remnants of a winter snow. It’s been ages since I stopped long enough to appreciate those little things.
It seems we don’t pay attention until something dramatic happens. Floods, tornadoes, fire, damaging storms all get our attention and maybe that’s Mother Nature’s way of reminding us she’s still there. The four seasons that make Minnesota a mecca for those who love the outdoors are all harbingers of nature righting itself. Drought like we have experienced this summer is no match for the march of the seasons. Winter’s snowfall will lay a white carpet that come spring will soon enough replenish our lakes and rivers. The fires in northern Minnesota and other parts of the United States will give way next spring to little touches of green popping up through the ashes as nature reasserts itself and rebuilds that which was lost. If only we could be so resilient.
It’s a lesson I am reminded of every fall that “This too shall pass”. Whether it be hardship or joy, feast or famine, it will eventually pass the same as the seasons in a never ending circle of rebuilding.
So, today, take a moment to stop and see the beauty around you. Let the sun shine on your face, the wind mess up your hair and take in the fall colors for soon enough winter will be here.
Be well my friends….