Thursday, September 29, 2011


Gusty winds are a vigorous change maker after yesterday's ideal summerlike weather. This is the day we'll really lose the leaves.

So far it hasn't seemed many leaves have dropped. Our lawn contradicts the statement. The tree canopy, however, is still thick. It's on this fact that the impression stands.

The leaves fill the air as they spin to the ground. They're a symphony of yellow parachutes. Today has no room for doubt. Soon the woods will open up.

The fall color change, both around here and up north, where leaves typically turn earlier, is starting to take hold. Over the weekend we were in the maple hills of west central Minnesota. The orange maples were more bold splashes than a continuous blanket of color. It was sufficient bold display to satisfy us.

Crimson sumac and field grasses in their different tints added to the sense of the change of seasons. Lakes sparkled like diamonds in the low angle of September sun. There was a lake or slough with almost every rise or curve of the road. It's a well-watered area we commented.

Pelican Rapids was a stop as we headed to Maplewood State Park. This charming town puts me in mind of new London in central Minnesota, another destination getaway.

New London's charm, in turn, has been likened to a New England village. Hereby runs the chain of connection from the small Minnesota places to scenic counterparts back East.

At Pelican Rapids the Pelican River tumbles over a small dam. At the base of it is Pelican Pete. The pelican statue, which I think dates to the 1950s, is a beloved icon. It brings its own set of visitors.

Smaller pelican statues line the streets calling attention to local businesses. The pelicans - Pete and his cohorts - remind residents and visitors alike of the creativity and contentment engendered by small town life.

As I bowed into the wind, buffeted by its force as I walked quickly from car to grocery store this afternoon, the skies were dark. Clouds were a contrast of light and deep shades of gray. They were torn about as the wind pushed them along.

I bring the groceries into the house. It feels good to be in. Raking is for another day. Last weekend's color trip feels like perfect timing to me. I watch from the window the leaves get stripped away.

Ro Giencke - September 29, 2011

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