snow


Webster’s dictionary defines hope as wanting something to happen or be true.  So it is with spring this year.  We “hope” for sunshine, warmer temperatures, the bright colors of flowers.  We “hope” that the passing days bring longer hours of sunshine.  And yet Mother Nature has alternative plans.  This week we rode a roller coaster through snow and strong winds, rain, and the promise of warmer air.  Through it all we strive to embrace what it is, just as these runners ran through a deserted Como Park having the trails and snow to themselves in this once-again wintry landscape.

winter-trees-on-the-hill-7d15809_staatsThe temperature dropped and winter came back to Minnesota during the past mid-week.  The blue skies and hope of spring were delayed and side tracked by a fast-moving front that dropped snow and brought back winter’s cold winds.  The gray sky that accompanied this snow seemed gloomier than usual, perhaps because of the desire for spring.  But as I wandered the hills, listening to the rattling of the oak leaves in the wind, I saw a brief opening in the clouds – just long enough for a shaft of light to come through and give hope again for an eventual departure of winter.

early-feb-thaw-at-como-lake_cp1690_staatsTemps in the 40’s?  That certainly means an early thaw in Minnesota, along with dreams and wishes for an early spring.  I took advantage of the sunshine to take a walk around Como Lake.  Along with many like-minded people who were soaking up this bit of warmth, the walking path and bike trail around the lake had everyone dodging puddles.  The lake was open near the northern shoreline, allowing the ducks to come and go.  In another area the ice held standing water to offer a second reflection of the winter trees.  We know winter is not over, and there will most likely be more snowfalls, but for this day it was a welcome glimpse of spring to come.

snow-sculptures_winter-carnival_15600-staatsAfter a week of gloomy, dreary skies a beautiful blue appeared today to help Saint Paul celebrate it’s Winter Carnival.  With temps in the 20’s, hundreds of people were dressed warmly, soaking up the Vitamin D, and enjoying the snow sculptures that were completed for the carnival.  Perhaps because we’re all longing for warmer climates, this sculpture titled “Under A Rest,” received the Peoples Choice Award.  Complete with cacti and little gophers popping up from the ground, the cowboy seemed quite content to take a long winter’s nap in his frozen state.

cabin-at-dusk_15552_staatsWe had spent the weekend exploring the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota.  Our last day had been cold, with bright sunshine and strong winds.  The snow was deep inland from the lake and there had been no thawing anywhere as the temps hovered near zero.  We pulled into our cabin after sunset, yet there was a hint of light in the sky.  With a bright star high above, the sound of the waves lapping against the shore, and the comfort of a light to guide us, we knew we were back – to enjoy a fire in the fireplace, and to marvel and appreciate the beauty that surrounded us on our explorations and our journeys.

sunset-on-the-north-shore-15536_staatsWe’ve just returned from a weekend getaway along the North Shore of Lake Superior.  Winter was in all its glory with temps hovering between zero and below.  Our days were spent marveling in the beauty of the area and of winter along the far northeast corner of Minnesota and across the border into Ontario.  At Kakabeka Falls outside of Thunder Bay much of the water was frozen but there were still torrents plummeting over the edge, and the cold winter air caused sea smoke to rise off of Lake Superior. Along the Gunflint Trail people were out participating in and cheering a dog sled race, and there was also a fat tire bike festival taking place.  It was good to see so many people in multiple layers of clothing, big hats, thick gloves, and heavy, big boots – all ready to embrace the adventures that are unique to a cold Minnesota weekend.

cold-in-the-woods-15405_staatWe seem to be on a weekend snow schedule – the last three weekends have brought fresh snow.  However  this weekend’s precipitation has been followed by blue sky and plunging temperatures.  I was snowshoeing in the woods yesterday morning.  Temps were the highest they were going to be, 5 above, and the wind was starting to blow.  I listened to the sound of my snowshoes dropping into the six inches of fresh light snow, and the wind that was picking up the powder and blowing it sideways.  The brittle oak leaves would rustle in the strong gusts, then settle down to silence.  It was eerily quiet and foreboding of the subzero temps that were fast approaching.  Then I heard the sound of a snow plow truck, and I was reminded that I was still in the city and the “woods” I was enjoying are actually a part of the University of Minnesota golf course.  A quick dose of reality that there is nature all around us, and it offers up its beauty to us whenever we want to get out and appreciate it.

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