Meacham Grove, Bloomingdale IL

Woodlands, wetlands, a small lake and a looped path for walking dogs, running, cycling or generally feeling like your not really in the Chicago suburbs anymore; Meacham Grove is a Forest Preserve and small recreational getaway. I’d been there before in summer, when it’s exceptionally green and overwhelmingly lush in the thick humidity, and it was quite a shock to return in winter and find it so brown and the vegetation so dried and dead. As an Australian who spends her American time in California, this is not something I’m used to. But after the initial shock wore off as I made my way around the looped path in a wind chill that must’ve been well below freezing, I start noticing delicate textures and subtle colours amongst all the brown. Suddenly what had seemed like the absence of something else, became beautiful in its own right.

Dried dead flowers along the bank of a small lake, with a snowy path along the hillside on the other side, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Dried dead flowers along the bank of a small lake, with a snowy path along the hillside on the other side.

A snowy path over a small grass hill, with a stand of dark bare winter trees and a grey sky, Meacham Grove, IllinoisPale rough tree trunk with a snowy ground and small red berries growing near its base, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A snowy path over a small grass hill, with a stand of dark bare winter trees and a grey sky; Pale rough tree trunk with a snowy ground and small red berries growing near its base.

Dead brown leaves still hanging onto the branches of trees in the snowy woods, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Dead brown leaves still hanging onto the branches of trees in the snowy woods.

Dead and dry grass on the banks of the lake with patches of green grass beneath, all covered in a light dusting of snow, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Dead and dry grass on the banks of the lake with patches of green grass beneath, all covered in a light dusting of snow.

Brown dried up flowers along the bank of a small lake, with a snowy path over the hill and a stand of bare trees on the other side, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Brown dried up flowers along the bank of a small lake, with a snowy path over the hill and a stand of bare trees on the other side.

Bare trees in the lightly snowy forest, the fallen leaves barely covered, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Bare trees in the lightly snowy forest, the fallen leaves barely covered.

A few dead brown leaves still hold on the the branch of a tree in the snowy woods, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A few dead brown leaves still hold on the the branch of a tree in the snowy woods.

Interesting dried textural grasses on the bank of a small lake, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Interesting dried textural grasses on the bank of a small lake.

Several types of tall dried brown flowers and grasses on the bank of a small lake on a dark and overcast winter day, Meacham Grove, IllinoisThe rough trunks of trees in the lightly snowy woods, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Several types of tall dried brown flowers and grasses on the bank of a small lake on a dark and overcast winter day; The rough trunks of trees in the lightly snowy woods.

A hillside of dry grass and bare trees with a light covering of snow and an empty path crossing it, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A hillside of dry grass and bare trees with a light covering of snow and an empty path crossing it.

The trunks of tree with light snow against them and dead winter vegetation, Meacham Grove, Illinois

The trunks of tree with light snow against them and dead winter vegetation.

Tall dry grasses and fallen branches on the floor of the forest with a light covering of snow, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Tall dry grasses and fallen branches on the floor of the forest with a light covering of snow.

Looking through brown leaves still on the trees to a bare forest with light snow over the fallen leaves, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Looking through brown leaves still on the trees to a bare forest with light snow over the fallen leaves.

Delicate tall round dead flowers amongst dry yellow grass in a snowy landscape, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Delicate tall round dead flowers amongst dry yellow grass in a snowy landscape.

The braches of bare deciduous trees silhouetted against the grey overcast winter sky appear as delicate as lace, Meacham Grove, Illinois

The branches of bare deciduous trees silhouetted against the grey overcast winter sky appear as delicate as lace.

Different textures of dead and dried vegetation with a light covering of snow on the banks of a small lake, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Different textures of dead and dried vegetation with a light covering of snow on the banks of a small lake.

An empty bench seat beneath the trees over looking the lake with light snow on the ground on a grey winter day, Meacham Grove, IllinoisReeds and grasses on the edge of the lake as the wind makes ripples on the water, Meacham Grove, Illinois

An empty bench seat beneath the trees over looking the lake with light snow on the ground on a grey winter day; Reeds and grasses on the edge of the lake as the wind makes ripples on the water.

A house overlooks an even smaller snow-covered lake, surrounded by dried reeds and grasses and bare trees, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A house overlooks an even smaller snow-covered lake, surrounded by dried reeds and grasses and bare trees.

Tall dead grasses on the edge of the lake with light snow and green grass just visible beneath, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Tall dead grasses on the edge of the lake with light snow and green grass just visible beneath.

Grass-lined foot worn path down to the small lake with a light covering of snow, the path around the lake also covered in snow in the distance, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Grass-lined foot worn path down to the small lake with a light covering of snow, the path around the lake also covered in snow in the distance.

Light snow on dead and dried grasses on the banks of the small lake with tiny green grass showing through, Meacham Grove, IllinoisSmall bare trees and dried vegetation of the edge of the small lake, the snowy path over the small hill in the distance, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Light snow on dead and dried grasses on the banks of the small lake with tiny green grass showing through; Small bare trees and dried vegetation of the edge of the small lake, the snowy path over the small hill in the distance.

Furry textured brown plants that have died off for winter on the edge of a small lake, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Furry textured brown plants that have died off for winter on the edge of a small lake.

Light covering of snow on reeds and grasses at the edge of the lake, with bare trees reflected in the water, Meacham Grove, IllinoisBare trees and reeds at the edge of the small lake with the snowy path over the hill on the other side, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Light covering of snow on reeds and grasses at the edge of the lake, with bare trees reflected in the water; Bare trees and reeds at the edge of the small lake with the snowy path over the hill on the other side.

Looking past a small tree to wetland with a light covering of snow and ducks happily floating about in the cold water, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Looking past a small tree to wetland with a light covering of snow and ducks happily floating about in the cold water.

A couple walk with dog along the snow path that runs around this small lake in the suburbs, amongst yellowed grasses and bare trees, Meacham Grove, IllinoisThe yellow fuzzy remains of a flower on a dried brown winter plant, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A couple walk with dog along the snow path that runs around this small lake in the suburbs, amongst yellowed grasses and bare trees; The yellow fuzzy remains of a flower on a dried brown winter plant.

A range of different browns amongst the tree branches in the snowy woodlands, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A range of different browns amongst the tree branches in the snowy woodlands.

Looking past a small tree to the wetlands with ducks floating in the cold water, and snowy bare woods behind, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Looking past a small tree to the wetlands with ducks floating in the cold water, and snowy bare woods behind.

Different dead and dried grasses and vegetation on the edge of the light with light snow on top and healthy green grass beneath, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Different dead and dried grasses and vegetation on the edge of the light with light snow on top and healthy green grass beneath.

A very small pine tree grows amongst the yellow grass in a lightly snowy landscape, Meacham Grove, IllinoisDifferent tall plants with dying remnants of flowers on the edge of the small lake, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A very small pine tree grows amongst the yellow grass in a lightly snowy landscape; Different tall plants with dying remnants of flowers on the edge of the small lake.

The trunk of a thin tree overlooking the yellow and brown winter wetlands, Meacham Grove, Illinois

The trunk of a thin tree overlooking the yellow and brown winter wetlands.

Two small pine trees grow in the dried grassy landscape with a light dusting of snow on the ground, Meacham Grove, Illinois

Two small pine trees grow in the dried grassy landscape with a light dusting of snow on the ground.

A tall deciduous tree with snow settled on its branches in the lightly snowy landscape, with yellow grass, tall reeds and bare woodlands, Meacham Grove, IllinoisFurry yellow reeds blow in the freezing wind with light snow on the ground beneath them, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A tall deciduous tree with snow settled on its branches in the lightly snowy landscape, with yellow grass, tall reeds and bare woodlands; Furry yellow reeds blow in the freezing wind with light snow on the ground beneath them.

A couple walk their dog down the yellowed grassy hill, the curved path covered with snow and a grey sky above, Meacham Grove, Illinois

A couple walk their dog down the yellowed grassy hill, the curved path covered with snow and a grey sky above.

All images and text ©Jess Gibbs 2012

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