One of the silver linings of this year has been an increase in hiking in Perrot State Park. The extra open weekends have provided ample opportunity to get out to some excellent WI State Parks. Perrot is only a short drive from our house and is a true gem on the Mississippi River. Over the past handful of years we’ve typically counted ourselves fortunate for getting out there one or two times each year. This year we’ve been blessed to head there for some hiking no less than half a dozen times.
Today what I’m thankful for is a little different. It’s not just hiking in Perrot, rather seeing the changing of the seasons. There’ve been four times this year when I’ve taken pictures from roughly the same vantage point atop Perrot Ridge. The trail we typically take winds us up the bluff through the woods and then carries across the spine of the ridge. At the apex it opens into a beautiful goat prairie with incredible vistas of the Mississippi River Valley. Atop that ridge I usually pause to snap a quick pic to enjoy and soak in just how different the view is given the variables of that precise moment.
Today was particularly wild as it looked very similar (though more gloomy) to when we took our first hike there this March. Here’s the progression of pics:
What really caught my attention today was the contrast between July and today. Our hikes started in the tail of winter. They continued into summer. As winter comes again we prepare to keep going. In that cycle we’ve seen no leaves, luscious vegetation, beautiful fall colors, and now back to no leaves. The leaves and beautiful fall colors will come back again, year after year after year.
For many this time on Earth feels like the winter. It can be gloomy, can feel barren, and can be cold. This too shall pass. The times when we are down test us. Can we find the positive in anything? Can we stay optimistic? Can we utilize the opportunity to grow and close the gap between who we are and who we are called to be? This is a season like any other. It will pass. When it does the reminder of it will make the sun feel all the more bright and life all the more vibrant.
Hiking through Perrot has reminded me of this. I will continue to hike all the seasons. I will find ways to appreciate each of them for their own unique qualities and opportunities. There is beauty in all seasons.