The heat of July has brought the summer flowers to bloom in our gardens.  The coneflowers, rudbeckia, and bee balm are filling the yard with color.  As I was watching the bees flit back and forth among the bee balm blossoms I looked more closely at the flower.  What I saw was a “Medusa” of flowers –  unkept and wild, throwing its scent into the air to attract the bees.  And yet, that wildness had a unique beauty all its own – nature in her glory, whether neat and tidy or unkept and original, all serving a purpose.

A perfect summer’s day found us wandering amongst lakes in central Minnesota, north of Mille Lacs.  Blue sky, puffy clouds, a light breeze and a warm sun were all part of this epitome of summer.  As we were out on the water my eye became focused on the reflection in the water.  In one slow shutter-speed moment, the blue sky above was reflected in the surface.  White clouds streaming by lent their movement, and the darker gray and dark blue of the water itself gave a wonderful abstract.

We were wandering the back roads of central Minnesota recently in the early evening.  The day had given us rain, cooler temperatures, some sun and wind.  As the sun was getting lower in the sky, the clouds reflected the colors, and the moisture in the air gave us a beautiful rainbow.  The lake still stirred with the wind, creating ripples that rolled across the waters, but the evening provided a magical display of light and reflection for a brief moment.

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.