Monday, November 18, 2013

A Warm November Afternoon

The weather in Wisconsin can be a little confusing sometimes. We can have sunny, mild days in January; snowstorms in May; and tornadoes in November. But last Friday, Charlie and I enjoyed a rare warm November afternoon at one of my favorite parks... and it came at a time when entering into that comfort zone and having all afternoon to decompress was absolutely essential.

We followed a deer trail out to the tip of a peninsula and explored the entire shoreline of what felt like our own private retreat. The wind was absolutely still and the only accompaniment to the silence was the music of migrating cranes echoing across the lake.

One side of the peninsula was in full sun and the sand was warm and soft. I quickly got too warm for my winter jacket and ended up carrying it while we made our way through fallen trees and drift wood along the shore. Charlie romped around in the water, collecting sticks and constantly placed them in my path, trying to entice me to play fetch.

As we rounded the tip of the peninsula, I found myself in the shade on the opposite shore. I put my coat back on as the coolness enveloped me. Icy waves lay frozen on the beach and the chilled sand was solid beneath my feet. Expanses of shallow, reedy shoreline, normally inaccessible in warmer weather, were now available for exploration; frozen sand and mud had formed a hard, stable surface. A thin layer of ice hugged the shoreline within the boundaries of shade and the weight of Charlie on the ice as she ventured out to explore made tiny popping sounds as it strained to stay solid. She was careful to stay close to shore, but even so, the water was so shallow here that there was no threat of her breaking through.

We sat on a log and watched a few fishermen float by on boats across the lake and listened to the crane-song drifting through the still air. Spiders had strung garlands of silvery strands all along the rocks, trees and tall grasses and they glistened in the slanting sun. With a refreshed attitude and invigorated mind, we made our way back home, looking back occasionally at our afternoon retreat and knowing in my heart that the memory of this day will be with me for a long time.