In Search of Color and Life

Storm clouds above the prairie ... likely a scene from the distant past.

Storm clouds above the prairie … likely a scene from the distant past.

My what a dreary morning. Our deck was a darker than the usual weathered drab gray, a color that was seemingly adopted by a sky filled with various levels of stormy looking clouds. A cold wind stirred what few leaves remained in the yard. All were signs of a winter foretold.

The rain from yesterday had discouraged the men working to erect our multi-purpose, timber frame garage, and any likelihood they would arrive this morning was nil. Too much wind, and too much dampness to attract those in the construction arts to don a tool belt. With exception of the howl of the wind through the trees in the grove, this would be a quiet day.
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When the owner of the local grocery, Bonnies in Clinton, asked for one of my new calendars, this was just the excuse necessary for heading into town and jumping on a treadmill. Our gravel road is much too rough on my knees to encourage walking, and the stand-me-up wind offered more resistance than I needed.

Driving the 12 miles round trip provided enough fodder for negative thoughts even with 45 minutes of exercising. On this, my first full day after my milestone birthday — believe me, at my age every birthday is a milestone — the last thing I needed was to have my mood affected by the drab grayness of the day. Which made me curious. Was there even a possibility of finding color and life out on the nearby remnants of prairie?

Thousands of birds form a murmuration just down the road from the farm.

Thousands of birds form a murmuration just down the road from the farm.

Regardless, it was worthy of a try. Grabbing the camera, with just enough life left in the battery for a trip through paradise, the trip began. Despite the chill and dampness of the winds, which were seemingly celebrated by the willowy grasses common to native prairie, life and color was out there. My hope of finding deer and wild turkey down by Meadowbrook was quickly dashed, although I did drive upon a huge murmuration just around the corner from there. Have you every heard the sounds of a murmuration? Thousands upon thousands of birds, clamoring all at once, sounds that were actually overshadowed by the collective feathered flight.
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Then it was off to the Big Stone Wildlife Refuge where the grasses danced, the ducks too flight, and mushrooms peeked from the wooded old river bed.

I won’t write too much this morning. Instead I will provide some of what was found between Listening Stones Farm and the refuge.

Levels of color, even on a dreary day, are there for the finding.

Levels of color, even on a dreary day, are there for the finding.

Between the treadmill and the bounties found with the old camera, a sense of energy and excitement is now sourcing through my soul. It isn’t too much to ask even on a damp, dark and dreary day.

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About John G. White

Somewhat retired after a long award-winning career in newspapers (Wisconsin State Journal, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, Denver Post and a country weekly, the Clara City Herald). Free lance photographer and writer with credits in more than 70 magazines. Editor with various Webb Publishing magazines in St. Paul, and a five year stint as editorial director at Miller Meester Advertising.

2 thoughts on “In Search of Color and Life

  1. Great musings…..even dismal days can offer beauty…..if we determine to find it! Thanks for another great group of photos……and for never giving up! 😉

  2. “. . .a sense of energy and excitement is now sourcing through my soul.” LOVE these words. Well, and the images too. 🙂

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