When many people think of color they think of the beautiful blooms of spring and summer or the bright leaves that adorn many of the trees in fall, but what about the winter? Where did all those beautiful colors go that once adorned our landscape?
The weather had just turned cold a few days before, and I was already getting tired of the indoors. So donning my hat and coat I decided I would take a walk around my property in Cole County. I didn’t expect to see much, considering it was cool and not many animals like this weather, nor did many plants’ blooms survive the first frost. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the bright red berries of the deciduous holly as they seemed to burst from the drab winter woods. After spending several minutes admiring the lavish plant, I decided to move on to see if I could find any more colors that brightened the muted winter landscape. It wasn’t long before I spotted a vibrant blue jay sitting on a bare tree branch looking out at the world. The blue and white coloration of the bird seemed to glow in comparison to the gray tree bark on which it was perched.
I furthered my walk to nearby Binder Lake in hope of spotting more colorful excitement and I was not disappointed. As I approached the lake I saw several mallards floating on the darkened water. The iridescent green on the drakes’ heads shimmered in the light and enhanced the water giving new life and vibrancy to the muted world around them. This gorgeous sight was not the last of the day; I also chanced upon a red-headed woodpecker pecking away at a nearby tree. Though most of its body was covered in the uninteresting winter colors of gray, white and black, the red patch on the bird’s head brought colorful relief to the scene as it bobbed back and forth in search of food.
These and many more wonderful surprises not only brightened my day but changed my pessimistic outlook on the colors of winter. So if the winter “blah” has come over you, take a step outside and enrich yourself with the lavish colors a Missouri winter does have to offer.