A brilliant sendoff

Winter sent its sentinels — cold rain, brisk wind, stubborn moon — to us this weekend and we fired up our furnace, message received.

Like our fat neighborhood squirrels with their nut-stuffed cheeks, we’re storing up for winter too. We’re filing away images — a pink sunrise, golden tree, sparkling river; and sounds — ball hitting aluminum bat, wave lapping warm sand, bird chirping morning song; and smells — fresh cut grass, smoky barbecue, sweet kettle corn.

I like to think that last autumnal burst of color, especially brilliant this year, acts as a rainbow, a promise of lilac springs.

In the coming weeks we’ll dust off our storm windows and fire up our snow blowers. Gradually, our winter clothes will migrate into our wardrobes as we unpack wooly sweaters and thick boots. Winter offers a magic of its own and we’ll be ready for all of the cookie baking, snowman making, icy breathtaking fun.

But winter in Wisconsin is also long.

And we took some time this weekend to prepare.

I caught a peek of this developing sunrise, grabbed Molly and ran out to meet it by the water near Peabody Park. Even though the whole experience made Molly miss the bus that morning and I had to drive her to school in my sweaty workout clothes, I will still store this beautiful picture to haul out on dark winter mornings.
I snuck out for a few minutes on a very busy afternoon to shoot some pictures of one of the prettiest color seasons I’ve seen.
I like to think the vivid colors of autumn act like a rainbow promise that spring will follow winter.
I love this labyrinth in any season, but particularly in fall.
A fishing boat moved upriver just as I snapped this shot. Fishing is a year-round sport in Wisconsin, but a much prettier one in fall.
We live in the Paper Valley, a pretty slice of geography identified as much by the river as the railroad that run through it.
Appleton wore her best colors this fall and I’m thrilled I stole a few moments to enjoy.

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