The day was cloudy and gray and the wind had been blowing.  Twilight was approaching and yet the sun broke through the clouds for a brief five minutes.  It lit up the far shore of the lake and the trees became golden, all reflected in the stillness and calm of the lake.  The shadows of the treetops to the west started to darken this eastern shoreline and would eventually envelop the entire view.  But for a brief period it was a magical and golden view.

The sights (and sounds) from a recent Canadian fishing trip are still fresh in my mind.  With good friends and family we headed north of Ignace, Ontario for a week of fishing.  After one sunny day the rain moved in, but we fished, explored, got lost, found our way, fished some more, laughed, and didn’t let the continuing rain dampen our adventures.  This is an area of lakes, woods, and sky.  The woods are dense, the lakes are everywhere with rocks and trees coming right to the water’s edge, and the sky opens out over every lake.  It is remote with towns few and far between.  We took ATV trails through the woods to reach remote lakes, and with the multiple days of rain we drove through mud and water washouts. We caught walleye and pike in abundance and enjoyed our shore lunches.  Eagles were everywhere, loons serenaded us, and we saw ducks that will soon be migrating south. To top off the adventures of the week, the Northern Lights made an appearance on our final night in Canada.  A memorable and fun trip!

The nights have a bit of coolness to them now, and the sunshine isn’t quite as hot as it was earlier this month.  Our daylight is becoming noticeably shorter as we move closer to fall.  The skies are filled with Canada geese flying over, strengthening the wings of the young ones as they prepare for migrating south; their honking fills the air.  I noticed these sedum blossoms the other day with spots of color in them.  They too are responding to the fast approaching change in the seasons.

I watched in amazement at this tiny hummingbird as he flitted among the bee balm blossoms in the yard.  He would work all around the edges of one flower, fly off to an adjacent flower and do the same, then to another and another.  After about a minute he would land on a nearby branch and rest.  And then he’d repeat the same thing all over again, sometimes moving to a blooming hosta and then back to the bee balm, or sometimes to a clump of catmint nearby, and retreating back to the bee balm.  It was a treat to observe and marvel at something so very small with all this energy.

It’s a true summer’s day –  blue sky above with white patchy clouds, and the sun is beating down with its warmth.  We are driving along some county roads in northern Wisconsin.  We’ve passed fields of green soybeans and acres of corn, all thriving in spite of the late planting season and the copious amounts of rain this year.  But up ahead is a bright and welcome sight — at an intersection there is a sea of yellow on one side of the road.  It stretches off to the trees in the distance, and it is a glorious field of sunflowers.  Faces to the east, backlit by the sun, the large blossoms are nodding in the wind.  To me this is the epitome of summer, and I’ll soak it in to remember during the not-so-summery days that lie ahead.

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.

Sometimes photographs present themselves directly — a beautiful sunset reflected in a lake, or a lovely flower that opens its blossoms to reveal its textures and colors.  And other times a photograph can be more subtle, calling out for attention many times before it’s actually received.  I walked past this shed countless times, looking at it but not really noticing it.  And then one morning the sunlight came in from an angle and illuminated the oars and paddle with a lovely glow.  That’s when I saw it.  The oars with their oar locks are weather beaten and old; they show their wear and tear proudly.  The paddle lost its paint many years ago and is actually cracked at the bottom.  The collection struck me as a homage to summer days, old boats, old resorts, and probably some big fishing tales.