Como Park


The last few weeks have brought a world of differences to many of us — a new physical view from the inside looking out; a new vocabulary that includes medical terms of pandemics, viruses, curves, ventilators, and COVID-19; an appreciation for things that previously we’d taken for granted; and a feeling that the world’s turned upside down.  With the barrage of news and seemingly constant updates it’s hard to look too far forward.  Like many, I’m trying to take things one day at a time.  Today the sun is shining and there are signs of spring outside my windows.  The birds are migrating back into our area and their calling hangs in the air.  There are people walking in the neighborhood and soaking up the sun’s warmth.  There’s a young girl that’s riding her small bike next to her dad who is running; they’re chatting and singing as they go by.  Sometime ahead the tulips will be blooming here in Minnesota.  Somewhere ahead, the struggling and the uncertainty we’re dealing with now will be behind us.  Somewhere ahead I’m hoping we will have learned lessons from this time; perhaps we’ll appreciate the beauty all around us – in nature, in family, and the people we interact with.  And somewhere ahead I’m hoping our world will no longer seem to be upside down, but instead will be more kind.

Oh, the beauty of fall!  On what might have been one of the last truly warm days of fall – blue sky, a warm breeze, and 70 degrees – I walked through Como Park.  I was not alone, as there were people walking, biking, running, meandering –  anything to soak up the glorious day.  The sunshine brought out the colors of the sky and grass and the flaming red of this tree by the Frog Pond.  Now we hunker down for a cold front and snow flurries, thankful for the recent memory of a beautiful day.

As we enter the last third of summer, our lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin are starting to bloom with water lilies.  Looking across the water surface you can see areas of white and yellow.  We’ve seen muskrats enjoying a meal of water lilies, and deer will also wade into the water to graze on them.  This water lily is not endanger of being eaten as I photographed it at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Como Park.  Like its “wild” relatives it was happy to open its petals to the bright sun and soak up the trailing end of summer.

Our landscape has been white for so very long that a bright burst of yellow is a true signal of spring.  I spent some time at the McNeely Conservatory where it is spring, under glass.  Yellow and red tulips, ranunculus, crocus, and daffodils are wonderful (and needed) reminders of the season of spring.  These yellow tulips were set off by the blue reflection of the sky in the water behind them.  Soon enough we will have spring outside too, and not need to go inside to experience it.

It was a bitter cold day and evening but the sun had been shining and the blue sky had beckoned people outside.  I was at Lake Como and there were walkers and runners following the path around the lake, there was one lone ice fisherman, and there were people who had laced up their skates and were gliding across the ice where the surface was smooth.  It was a glorious time, and the sunset glowed in the ice surface and in the clouds above.  For a few moments it was beautiful, and not quite as cold as we thought.

After a week or more with below freezing temperatures, we reveled in a day of 40 degrees and sunshine.  I took advantage of our “heat wave” and went for a long walk that took me through Como Park.  As I went past the lake it was wonderful to see the snow and ice patterns.  The dark areas in the photograph are clear ice, interrupted by the white snow that had been blown across the lake.  There were lots of big cracks going through the surface too.  Once we get back to our cold temperatures, the ice will continue to form….all a part of winter in Minnesota.

Last week I celebrated what now seems to have been a colorful flourish to the end of summer.  I sent some time at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park.  The sunken garden was filled with its summer flowers, scents, and  colors.  Since that day our weather has been gray, cloudy, rainy, and much cooler — anything but summer-like.  How lucky I was to have soaked up the last bright colors of summer!

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