I am surrounded by mountains here in this valley. When the earth tips on its axis and brings change to the seasons, the mountain to the south of me slowly becomes too high for the sun to peek over it. The most notable period of shade occurs around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and hence I call it the Five O'clock Shadow.
|Swans linger until freeze up as the mountain on the right casts its shadow on the valley.|
Then I know that the long warm days of summer are almost spent and that winter will soon be here. The shadow soon becomes complete, running the length of the whole ridge line that is called Wrong Mountain.
|Snow clouds gather to drop the first snow of the season, Oct. 16, a mere 3 inches.|
From late October through Valentine's Day, no direct sunlight hits the valley. That doesn't mean it's dark or even twilight. When the sky is clear for the sun to shine on the snow-covered mountain to the north, there's quite the reflection of light.
|A female merganser paddles around in open water as ice encroaches.|
|Late season fishermen enjoy temperatures just above freezing Saturday on the Kenai River.|
|Bald eagles hang around the headwaters of Tern Lake, feasting on spawning salmon.|
Trumpeter swans linger along the snow-covered bank of Kenai Lake. Some swans migrate south, while others stay in the river all winter.
|Hoar frost clings to dried grass.|
|Watching snow creep farther and farther down the mountains.|
Valentine's Day brings hints of spring and it's fun watching the sun gaining ever more ground on the shadows each day.
And then, one wondrous day, the migrating swans and other waterfowl return to breed and raise their young.
|Red necked grebe|