A single sock.
A single oak leaf.
A single bee.
Wind bending wildflowers and weeds, the sun beating upon our backs as we curve into the shaded woods.
Pause at the rust-hued railing, glimpse to the ravine below where water once flowed when rain was plentiful.
Lost in thoughts. Savoring the solace which embraces us even as groups of hikers pass us by.
We have come here to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park on a Sunday afternoon to see the fall colors, only beginning to show.
But we have come here, too, my husband and I, to walk together, to hold hands, to embrace this afternoon in a place not far from home, yet so far away.
FYI: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park offers numerous organized activities to engage visitors in the season.
For example, from now until October 19, the park is hosting a Fall Photo Quest scavenger hunt. Bring your digital camera or borrow one at the Visitor Center where you will get instructions. Collect fall photos while learning why and how leaves change color.
On Saturday, October 5, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., gather native seeds for planting in park restorations. Sign up at the Visitor Center.
The following Saturday, October 12, from noon – 4 p.m., join the Autumn Trees Scavenger Hunt, collecting clues along trails as you discover which leaf belongs to which tree. Stop at the Visitor Center to start your adventure.
Also on Saturday, October 12, St. John’s United Church of Christ, Wheeling Township, sponsors its 17th annual Big Woods Run beginning at the country church near the park. Registration deadlines are October 7 and 8. After the race, enjoy a luncheon featuring homemade soups and more, an awards ceremony and a bake sale. For more info, click here.
This Saturday, October 5, from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Nerstrand United Methodist Church, 12 Maple Street in Nerstrand hosts its annual Fall Festival. The event features gift baskets, a silent auction, a bake and produce sale, and lunch. Hot beef sandwiches, chili, chicken wild rice soup and homemade pies with ice cream will be served.
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is located just west of Nerstrand or northeast of Faribault.
© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling