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.

Like the flip of a switch, spring blew into the Twin Cities this past week.  Last Monday, May 1st, brought us snow flurries in abundance – it looked and felt more like November than May.  But as the week wore on, the temperatures rebounded, the sun appeared, and the leaves started opening.  The tulips and daffodils became riots of color, the crabapple trees were awash in pinks and whites, and the once-barren, brown grass became green again.  This weekend found people outside – gardening, walking, running, biking, having parties on their patios and decks – anything to soak up the warmth and the return of spring.

I was headed somewhere else, took a detour on a gravel road, came to a high point and my eye caught a tall white steeple looming over the farmlands.  A u-turn put me in the right direction, and as I pulled into the churchyard another car was pulling in behind me.  Ken had just arrived to clean the oldest of the churches, and he graciously told me the history of the site near Nerstrand, Minnesota.  The Norwegian community built the original limestone church in 1862, and the white wooden frame church was finished in 1894.  Complete with a beautiful pipe organ, it is a simple, sun-drenched sanctuary.  The church was decommissioned in 1973, but the Valley Grove Preservation Society has worked tirelessly to restore both churches and acquire many of the acres of land surrounding the site for prairie and oak savanna restoration.  The haze of the sky in the photo was from the prairie that was being burned just to the west of the white church.  I was delighted to have happened upon this site at the same time that Ken arrived, otherwise I would have missed the inside view and the stories he shared of the history and the efforts by the Preservation Society.  I was even able to ring the old church bell and hear it resonate from its old tower.  I am looking forward to sharing in the community’s country social in September, and hopefully attending their Christmas Eve service.  It was my lucky day for having taken that winding road off my original path to follow the white steeple.

Spring generally announces its arrival with the bright colors of tulips, crocus, and daffodils, and the greening of grass and trees leafing out.  And yet I’ve found a much softer and more delicate side to the season just out my front window.  We have a lovely magnolia tree that bursts forth into blossoms near the middle of April.  It’s bloom is much anticipated.  And unfortunately its bloom is also short-lived, with the flower petals giving way to the wind or rain, and quickly to the green leaves that burst forth afterward.  But as it becomes awash in white flowers it becomes magnificent.  The petals are thin and delicate with a soft tinge of pink.  To me it signals the whisper and call of a softer side to spring.

Spring and Easter – all at the same time.  Bright colors, light colors, the colors of spring.  This flowering crabapple bonsai seemed to sum up the season and the day.   Wishing you the bright colors and warmth and joy of spring and Easter!

Our weekend was a two-night road trip south to Iowa for softball.  My niece plays for the Baker University Wildcats (from Baldwin, Kansas) and they were playing games in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids;  a perfect excuse for a beautiful spring weekend escape from the north.  Today’s games were against the Mount Mercy Mustangs of Cedar Rapids.  With excitement in both games, the Wildcats won the first game and the home-town Mustangs won the second game.  But the weekend also gave us a chance to explore some areas of Wisconsin and Iowa we hadn’t seen before, and also the chance to catch up with family.  A whirlwind trip, but so very worth it!