Autumn in the Northwoods

Autumn in the Northwoods

I spent four glorious days at our cottage in the Northwoods. The air, cool and bright, made for good walking, and the decrease in summer insects made everything downright comfortable.  The tornado damage has been fixed, and our lakefront looks normal again.

However, the lane leading in from the main road still looks as though the tornado hasn’t stopped moving. All leaves from the downed trees have browned, withered, and shrunk up to create more holes in the landscape than when they first fell.

Men have come and chopped up some of the larger tree trunks, and carried away their choices for this winter’s firewood. We are glad of that, but they left much debris and small branches littered about. I spent an afternoon picking up these pieces, throwing them in the wheelbarrow and rolling them back to our fire pit. They make excellent firewood.

Mom and I built a wonderful fire one evening. Labor Day Weekend 004

Leaves are starting to turn red. Two weeks from now, the entire Northwoods will be glowing with fire-yellow oak leaves, red-ember maple leaves, and orange ground cover bushes. The colors will mix up and streak here and there, pop out at various levels, and give the impression of a carefully edited photograph. 

Here is just the beginning:

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Days at the Lake

Days at the Lake

The lake environment is unlike anything one sees in the Middle East, except perhaps for the tawny ridges of sand at the shoreline. Here in the American Mid-West, hundreds of lakes and trees and wildlife characterize the northern areas of the states bordering Canada, and people go there for back-to-nature vacations.

Thirty years ago, the cottages were small and square, without air-conditioning, TV, or even telephone. Now, full size homes sit where some of the old cottages housed vacationers. Many residents live there year round, and a decent size city has grown up around a central tourist district. My family’s place is located half an hour’s drive from the city, on a tiny peninsula bounded by two large lakes.

We got no publicity whatsoever for the tornado damage. We’re too small! We feel insulted. Well, nature offers many wonders, most of which are more attractive than downed trees, so I’d like to share some of it with you here.

This is my view of the lovely shore, with its sand and plants and rippling water. I never saw the perfection of water lilies until I started photographing them.

I spent most of my time taking pictures, and playing with Photoshop Elements. I brought an instruction book with me, a thick manual on how to use Elements. It’s a big program; I can’t imagine using the full version of Photoshop!

Shoreline Lily PadsThe shore at our place is shallow and full of of plants. Mom alerted me that the lilies had opened; this lily is the most photographed flower on the entire lake, I am sure!

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I couldn’t decide which lily photo to post, so I posted the best of the two dozen. Which one do you like best? I’ve numbered them.

I was surprised to discover large, live snails swaying back and forth with the movement of the water.

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Now that the deck is not available, we found another lovely place to sit– in the shade of this huge evergreen tree, overlooking the lake.  We never considered sitting there before, but I must admit I like it better than the deck. That’s the surprise behind unfortunate events– you sometimes discover new delights.

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The green moss grows in a dense patch along the shore, between the sandy land and the watery grasses. It feels soft under bare feet. The original photograph called for playfulness; the uniform mass of moss seemed boring.

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I don’t know where this reddish color came from– probably a reflection of the sun off the sandy bottom. I love to discover new perspectives, unexpected colors, and remarkable shapes that stand out in photos. Now, after working with these photos, I can go back and view the lake with a more appreciative eye, and a greater sense of thankfulness for Allah’s creation.