The first weekend of “official summer” brought a cold front with temps in the 60’s – hardly feeling like the summer we’ve been hoping for.  We were in Duluth to celebrate a friends’ return to Minnesota – a new home and wonderful people to welcome her back.  The roads and highways were lined with lupine, standing upright and in full bloom.  Colors ranging from deep purple, to lilac, to pink, to white – they were a welcome sight from the clouds and cooler temperatures.  But I was most enthralled by the lupines along the shoreline of Lake Superior.  With the huge lake in the background and the billowing clouds, the lupines stood tall against the wind and the weather blowing in from the lake.

On Father’s Day we all take a few moments to reflect on the fathers and grandfathers that have been in our lives.  After all these years I appreciate my father even more – for his guidance and support, his love and caring, as well as all the little (and big things) he did for me.  I fondly remember a playhouse he built when I was little, the dance and piano lessons that helped shape me, and the horse that he got for me when I was in high school.  The trips we took, his patience in teaching me, and the always available voice on the other end of the phone line…so many things I would love to thank him for today if he were still here.  To all the fathers and grandfathers that build things for their children and grandchildren, and give them the support and love that’s so necessary throughout our lives – thank you.

As our temperatures rushed into summer highs yesterday, people were resorting to the tried and true ways of staying cool.  Mid 90’s and high humidity cause some Minnesotans to shelter in air conditioning, while the majority choose to embrace the weather but cool off by a lake.  Whatever wind that’s blowing across the lake surface cools and becomes a delightful and welcome breeze.  People were out at Lake Como canoeing, kayaking, walking, relaxing and savoring the warmth of summer; winter’s cold seemed a long way away!

On a brilliant summer’s day we took a drive west of the Twin Cities to Swenson Gardens in Howard Lake, Minnesota.  Their gardens were open for their annual Peony Field Days, and the timing was perfect.  With warmer temperatures and bright sunshine many of the peonies had come into full bloom.  It was a chance to wander and dream and plan for places in our own garden for more of these lovely plants.  I especially liked these America peonies –  their bright red was a wonderful contract to the green foliage and the blue sky with its puffy clouds.

All within a few days the clematis have burst forth.  A delicate pale yellow bloom with a yellow center, this lemon chiffon clematis has climbed up the trellis and  bloomed all at once.  The cooler temperatures and bright sunshine of the past week coaxed the buds to open in profusion.  Soon the other clematis will follow, but it will be hard to top the beauty and fullness of this one.

The lilac bushes has blossomed out, and their sweet smell lingers in the air.  We’re fortunate to have both white and purple lilacs.  Throughout the neighborhood there are lilac bushes and hedges, and some are over 10 feet tall.  Their colors and delicateness are noticeable.  After the heavy rain from a day ago, the alley was littered with white and purple petals scattered on the ground.  As short-lived as their blooming season is, it makes me appreciate their beauty and their scent even more.

The Minnesota fishing opener was this past Saturday, and unlike some previous years the weather was lovely.  We headed north to our favorite fishing lake and found an abundance of blue –  the sky, and its reflection in the water surrounded us with this beautiful color of spring.  Uncharacteristically calm and warm, the boat created the only ripples in the water.  It was wonderful to soak in the warmth and the beauty of the day, while we caught our limit of large Northern pike.  Saturday became even more perfect as we also headed out on the lake Sunday morning, but this was a much different day.  The sky was filled with high clouds, and there was a serious wind from the east.  There was no still and calm, no quiet reflection in the water, but rather a heavy chop and even some whitecaps.  Sunday merely helped us appreciate even more that blue sky, blue lake day from 24 hours earlier.