Autumn's Fleeting Beauty

Autumn comes early to the anvil of Minnesota, reports CBS News Correspondent Harry Smith. Most of the aspen and birch have already turned brilliant gold -- a gold too rich to be spent or saved for within two weeks it will be gone.

Jim Brandenberg is a Minnesota native who lives near Ely. He's taken pictures for National Geographic all over the world, but lately he has been concentrating on his own backyard.

We tromped through the woods with Brandenberg in search of color and light -- in hopes of capturing just the right picture of this time of year. It helps though to slow down enough to see it.

"I strongly believe there are people running loose in our culture that never ever think about nature," says Brandenberg. "I don't think we think enough about nature."

Brandenberg says we miss the sights and sounds -- and beauty -- of simple things like rain, or clouds blown down from the arctic North whispering that winter isn't so far behind them.

Imagine being so at home in nature that a Grey Jay as wild as the wilderness it lives in feels comfortable enough to eat from your hand.

Brandenberg's pictures of one wilderness autumn in Minnesota have just been published. He took just one photograph a day from September 21st to December 21st -- just one frame of film for every day of fall.

"There's something inexplicable this time of year," he says. "I sometimes feel sorry for people who have not grown up in a land that changes seasons."

In the morning when the mist hangs over the lakes it means the water is warmer than the air. Those days are numbered.

Brandenberg figures most of the water here will be frozen over by Thanksgiving.

Winter comes to Minnesota sooner than later, so it's important to savor those days when it's easy to be outside and to celebrate those days when you can look into the sunshine and feel warmth.

Reported by Harry Smith
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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