Winter is my least favourite season, and November my least preferred month. Typically it's dreary, barren and cold. The bright leaves of October have usually disappeared and the beauty of a first snowfall has yet to revive the stark, bare branches and long-dead grass.
This year is different.
Two days ago the park pathways shared the colours of a lingering autumn as the sun lit up the leaves - some still clinging to branches but most blanketing the still-green grass. There had been a steady rain overnight and early morning, and they glistened with vivid hues in the late-day sun. The birds and squirrels were busy - anticipating colder days ahead.
Yesterday rained all day long. It was a steady, bone-chilling, windy sort of downpour, and overnight it turned to freezing rain. This morning, most everything was covered with a layer of crusty ice. Since the temperatures have been dropping steadily, the sleet has since turned to snow.
Oh there's hardly any serious accumulation - less than a centimetre on the ground, but it's enough to get kids out scraping up snowballs. And it's enough to convince the neighbourhood creatures that they'd better start stocking up for the cold season ahead.
On the weekend, we bought a bird feeder and loaded it up with a combination of seeds. Within the hour, we were rewarded with several species of birds, greedily pecking at each of the four stations that the feeder provides. They continue to flitter about rapidly, challenging me to snap a clear, crisp shot. So far they're winning.
This year, I'm looking forward to the impending winter. Check with me again come February or March, and I might feel otherwise, but I suspect this season is going to be better than in past years. I feel as if I have a new set of eyes with which to see the surrounding changes. Despite the limited distance between the camera's lens and its subject, there lies a brand new frontier to discover.
I intend to be outside doing just that.
I'll save winter photos for a more notable snowfall. Below are some images that were taken this past week.
The muted shades of autumn provided a beautiful backdrop for the bare trees. It reminded me of a water colour painting.
As the trees shed their leaves, the green grass came alive with colour. Here a golden oak leaf glows in the last rays of the warming sun.
This lovely little mockingbird flew directly into my line of vision and landed on a nearby branch. He appeared unafraid of me and very curious, allowing me to take several shots before he flew off again. My spirits took wing alongside him.
Tired of waiting their turn at the feeder, this civilized trio opted to eat a formal dinner at the table.