Minnesota


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.

And just like that, spring is here.  We’ve gone from brown to green within one week.  Some spring rain showers, bright sunshine, and warm temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s have caused spring to burst forth in Minnesota.  Grass is now green, and the trees and shrubs are bursting with their leaf buds.  Green shoots are visible from the warming soil, and I have even seen some daffodils that are blooming.  Our lilac bush has opened its tight buds into the warm air.  And luckily the snowfall predicted for this weekend did not appear.  Quickly our landscape will continue to change.

Tuesday was a perfect spring day with white clouds, warm temperatures, and the smell of spring in the air.  There were hints of green in the lawns, buds were evident in the tree branches high above, and birds were singing their spring songs.  The white clouds danced in the brilliant blue sky as we softened ourselves to the warmth of the sun.  It was wonderful, and I was so thankful for getting outside and soaking it all up.  Because….the following day brought wet heavy snow, howling winds, and cold temperatures.  Winter has returned for a few days.

We are experiencing our transition season as winter slowly gives way to spring.  In northern Minnesota and Wisconsin it means give and take –  warmer temps one day and snow the next.  But our waters are starting to thaw, allowing open water for the birds that are beginning to migrate into the area.  The oak trees are holding onto their rust-colored leaves, and the air has been heavy with moisture creating some foggy conditions.  It almost seems like fall but this time we know there will be green in the landscape and ice-free lakes and ponds soon.

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 another bitterly cold day in the Twin Cities.  Suffering from cabin fever from our long drawn-out winter, we were looking for a diversion and headed to the Weisman Art Museum on the campus of the University of Minnesota.  The visit was wonderful –  a chance to forget about the weather and get absorbed in the art inside.  The building itself was designed by Frank Gehry and features his Deconstructivist style architecture.  The outside panels are a treat for photographers as they reflect the surroundings.   With the cold sunshine there were amazing abstracts, lines, designs, and colors.

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.

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