Searching for Fall

Infrequently invoked and rarely sought, luck is not a part of my vernacular. Some live the “Life of Riley” with good fortune following their every move, while others tend to be in the right place at the wrong time. In photography, good timing is one element that can inspire creativity, in its absence creativity must be borne from within.  
In a rare move, I decided to pre-plan a Fall excursion. As the school year approached, I requested a personal day in early October, reserved a campsite in the woods, and prepared the camera gear for Autumn’s technicolor. A wet summer and mild September promised an explosion of color. News headlines fed the enthusiasm: Peak of Fall - First Week in October. “Damn I’m good,” I thought to myself, filled with pride in my skill at predicting ephemeral events.  
Driving north and west towards Itasca State Park, I began to question the wisdom of my decision. Forty-mile an hour winds hammered the Jeep and pushed the pop-up camper as we sped towards our "idyllic" destination. Founded in 1891, Itasca State Park is one of the oldest in the nation. Known for its contiguous expanse of old-growth red and white pines, this park is a remnant of Minnesota’s pre-logging era. With trees that approach a rarified bicentennial status, there is no other location in this heavily forested state where you can walk among the ancients. Better known as the headwaters of the Mississippi River, visitors can navigate the width of this iconic waterway by wading through an ankle deep stream.
As we approached the park, majestic pines were mixed with skeletons of deciduous trees. Magnificent maples, aspen, and birch swayed in the wind as leaves flew about and settled to the ground. The receptionist at the park boasted about last week’s display “...the best color in twenty years, too bad you missed it.” I tried not to let my disappointment show, and shrugged off the loss as an opportunity. Timing can inspire creativity... but creatives find inspiration from within.

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