On Wednesday the temperature was in the 60s.

When you live in Wisconsin you don’t tend to take 60 degree November days for granted, so I determined to spend some of it outdoors, figuring this might be the last 60 degree day for months.

I decided to take a walk in the meadow at Aldo Leopold Nature Center. I hadn’t been there for a couple of months and looked forward to a mosquito-free walk.

In recent years I’ve realized I prefer rustic trails through woods, meadows and prairies over pristine gardens, like those at Olbrich.

This was made apparent to me a couple of years ago while gazing at an extraordinarily large and elaborate backyard flower garden. There literally wasn’t a weed anywhere. No visible dirt either. The lack of weeds was so distracting I couldn’t see the flowers for the lack of weeds.

The flowers were nestled atop beds of mulch. The gardener told me he adds a few dozen bags of mulch to the flower beds every month during the spring and summer.

I dunno… as beautiful as the flowers were, it seemed unnatural for all of them to sit in flower beds with no dirt or weeds in sight, just the mulch. Give me unkempt flora over the pristine kind any day.

Then again, I’m one who favors a purple yard, so you may want to take my opinion on such matters with heaps of salt.

Anyway, I set out for the meadow, with fantasies of a nice stroll through the meadow one last time this fall. I thought perhaps the colors would be similar to those in the painting at the top of this post. (I know. Silly me.)

I’m sorry to say I didn’t even set foot in the meadow. As I approached it, the grass looked scorched and uninviting. I didn’t hear any birds or honking geese. I realized then that fauna is as integral to the meadow experience as flora, which is another reason I prefer meadows to pristine flower gardens.

Like the recent time change, the autumn meadow was too much of a reminder of the approaching winter.

Speaking of winter, in a fit of optimism a few weeks ago I actually pondered the possibility of acquiring used snowshoes so I could snowshoe in the meadow during the winter. (I know. What was I thinking? I hate the cold.) But I fully expect my next meadow missive won’t be until next spring where, I hope, there will be white-throated sparrows waiting for me.

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