Pheasant Branch Nature

Dwindling hours of sunlight are making their absence felt.

While the return to Standard time gave us an hour of daytime in the morning, it took from our early evening.

Maybe by this weekend, south-central Wisconsin could see it's first flakes of snow.  Not enough to announce winter, but a tease and promise of more to come.

Journeys from spring to summer, fall into winter are an exciting and grueling trip.  The stubborn among us hold steadfast to the green leaves of summer believing the presence of chlorophyll will hold white at bay.

But like gray hairs among the gold, black, or brown - the passage of time marches on.  The hardiest of bikers add studs to their tires while walkers will don layer over layer to withstand  cold.
My walk along the hike and bike trail in the Pheasant Branch Nature Preserve took me from Park Street to Parmenter - along a meandering stream.

Joined by squirrels packing groceries for winter I stopped to listen.

It is the middle of the city, but the only sounds were from imperceptibly moving leaves and the clucks and tweets of nervous birds.

Low murmurs of water rush over rock dams to create a staccato rhythm for the chorus of nature in its final stanza.  It's a quiet orchestration.  Only an imagined sound of footsteps intrudes in the slice of wilderness.  Rays of sunshine appear as a veil before my eyes for autumn's curtain call.

Yet one of my final walks through nature's quiet didn't feel like an encore performance.  It was a series of moments transitioning from one time to the next.

The waning days of summer falling into the some days of winter with it's mystery, wonder, and romance.

The quiet unknown of winter is resting under its own blankets of snow.  Underneath may be bone-chilling cold; slippery streets; and mountains of white.

This walk reflects the season past - the time of transition - and the season to come.

Even more..  on the branch, in the air, and under ground is the faint scent and promise... of spring.