Winter Is Sliding Into Place

Although the weather is still quite pleasant and the colors are incredible, fresh snow on the mountains and fresh mud on the road bring to mind the changing seasons. I have no cause for complaint (as if I ever do), however, because we have just finished enjoying the most incredible Indian Summer of our sojourn here at Elk Lake.

Day after day of warm temperatures and glassy waters. Night after night of frost on the pumpkin (well, around here it's the ATV seat). Day after day of brilliant color everywhere you turn your gaze. Incredible!

But the last few days have brought change on the wind. More leaves on the ground. More snow on the mountains. And, as is inevitable this time of year, more mud on the roads - well, from the looks of my rig, more mud on my vehicle!

Nonetheless, the beauty and serenity at Elk Lake only increase this time of year. Fewer people are around. Many animals and birds are leaving, but many remain. And, those that remain can be more vocal - maybe rounding up the troops for the trip south?

Speaking of vocal - have you ever really thought about the 'sounds' of nature? I've talked several times about the intense quiet which can envelop our world up here. However, as the days shorten, my daily walks become more like 'weels'. What's a weel? It's a walk in the dark (or semi-dark) which has me feeling my way along at times.

Obviously there isn't much to see on one of my semi-dark walks. So, I've found increased use for another sense common to man - my hearing. It's amazing what is happening in the wild kingdom as the morning approaches.

Some days it's like a vacume has swallowed up all sound. Nothing stirs. Nothing peeps.

Other days it's amazing to listen as the first tentative voices grow in volume and more voices join the chorus. In the last few weeks I've heard elk bugling, wolves howling, cows lowing (or mooing), a horse nicker (that one had me going - who on earth was riding this far in that early
in the morning?), an owl hooting, geese honking, ducks flapping and quaking, and small birds twittering.

Sometimes I wonder how much we really catch. It really isn't about what we miss - that is gone - it's about what we catch. I fear we manage to grasp far too little as we scurry from one thing to the next until the end of our days. However, as always, I am amazed at the wonder just outside
my door - and I'm ever thankful to be the,

Lady of the Lake

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