winter


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.

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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.

springs-thaw-on-the-mississippi-river_cp1965c_staatsWith our spring thaw in full force, I wandered along the banks of the Mississippi River yesterday.  Where normally the river is ice-covered, there was only a thin layer of ice that lined the shoreline.  The wind was brisk causing the clouds to hurry quickly across the sky.  Fishermen were active on the river, launching boats and heading out to their favorite areas with nary a thought of ice.  The scene was more like one from early April, but we’ll embrace and welcome spring at any time it makes its appearance.

mud-drive-results_cp1759-staatsYesterday we left the Twin Cities before dawn and drove north 150 miles.  The sun came out on a record-setting warm day with temperatures in the 50’s.  The areas north still have snow covering the ground, and the lakes are frozen enough for trucks and fishermen to be enjoying cutting holes in the ice and finding fish below.  Even the snowmobilers were running across the lakes and land too.  Early in the morning the unpaved roads were frozen, but as the day progressed they became mud and clay with ruts throughout.  There was no way to avoid them so we continued and had a wonderful time enjoying the countryside, the lakes, and the activities, stopping once to clear off the back window of the car.  By the time we returned home my car was hardly recognizable.  All that mud and clay seemed to have adhered to the car and dried in place.  An extensive trip to the car wash was needed this morning, but I’ve kept the memories of an unusual spring day in February.

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.

spring-lilies_narcissus-15634_staatsIn the doldrums of winter, sometimes the best antidote for this cold season is a splash of color.  I was rewarded with just that at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park this morning.  The narcissus and Asiatic lilies were a profusion of bright colors, with an extra bonus of scent and smell.  A few hours amongst the pink azaleas and cyclamen was a wonderful way to reset the dark of winter and look forward to longer and brighter days ahead.

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.

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