Spring arrived quickly in the past week.  There were hints of green showing up in the trees and the grass.  The ice moved off the lake and the open water was an invitation for geese, ducks, loons, eagles, and the people wanting to fish.  It was a flurry of activity all generated by the unofficial end of winter.  By early evening it was quiet and peaceful again.  A light rain shower had moved through the area, the sun was beginning to set, and the lake had calmed.  And as if to punctuate the end of a delightful spring day, a rainbow appeared in the sky and was reflected in the still of the water below.

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The cusps of seasons and days can often hold tension and beauty.  We woke to the sound of thunder as a storm was starting to roll through, yet the eastern horizon held a hint of color.  As the rain started to come down, I could see the droplets hitting the open water.  Further out on the lake was the edge of the black ice that was starting to go out, and on the opposite shore was the white ice and snow that hadn’t thinned yet.  It was a wonderful experience – both visual and auditory.  The loons are back in the area, and  the geese, ducks, and swans were all contributing to the soundtrack.

In my own life there is a change too, as I retired from my corporate job and am transitioning to the adventures I’ve been looking forward to all these years.  I began this blog in January of 2009 with the purpose of sharing the beauty of my world and to give me the incentive to photograph each week.  And what an amazing journey it has been — so many sights, so many surprises, and so much to see!  My plan is to continue this blog however my posts may not be quite as consistent in timing.  I hope you will continue along with me and share in my upcoming adventures.

 

We are seeing the start of our spring thaw.  Warmer temps and bright sunshine have had a significant impact on our snow pack.  Slowly we are seeing brown lawns reappear and some garden beds have small green shoots near the ground.  The lakes have a much longer way to go before they are clear of ice.  Gradually the ice near the shoreline goes out, but still the lake has a good 12 inches of ice.  The snow on the surface has become mushy and uneven, and eventually will melt completely.  The silence of winter is also giving way to the sounds of spring.  When I walked out onto the lake I could actually hear the snow melting, and high overhead the Canada geese, the ducks, the swans, and the sandhill cranes were all calling and honking.

The snow started Friday night.  After 24 hours it was still coming down, whipped by the wind into whiteout conditions.  Another 12 hours later the wind had calmed somewhat and the flurries were lighter, but still coming down.  The snow was blown into drifts, and it was hanging precariously from the roof eaves.  Anywhere from 10 to 12 inches were on the ground.  As I headed out to start shoveling my eyes caught sight of the fence.  The snow was perched carefully on the railings and even filled in the horizontal line to the caps of the posts.  At the bottom the snow had drifted partway up.  Two hours of shoveling and the snow was still coming down.  Although this sort of snow is not unheard of in Minnesota in April, it is anything but spring-like, and most Minnesotans are dreaming of green grass.  Soon!

The perfect antidote for another snowy April afternoon was an outing to the Minnesota State Capitol building.  Last summer the building reopened after a restoration and renovation that took over three years.  After clearing away 110 years of grime and dirt, repairing water damage, repainting walls, restoring skylights and stained glass, the building is a jewel of color and beauty.  The rotunda sparkles and shines and is surrounded by paintings and statues telling the story of the state and its people.  It’s an architectural (and decorative) wonder for having been built in the early 1900’s.

Easter and April mean spring.  Spring means warmth and colors.  Except when Mother Nature decides to put a white icing over the landscape.  I spent some time at the McNeely Conservatory yesterday morning photographing the spring flowers.  Outside the weather was cold and windy and snowing, but the conservatory was the perfect antidote to the weather.  I was surrounded by the smells of tulips and daffodils, hyacinths and magnolias.  In the bonsai section I found this lovely azalea.  Its diminutive structure seemed to mirror the snow-covered tree outside, while its brilliant colors were the opposite of the landscape beyond the window.

The dawn was cold and crisp.  Although the temperatures have been above freezing during the day, they still dip into the teens and twenties at night.  The multiple inches of snow on the lake have melted and frozen many days in a row, and what snow remains is only an inch or two deep on the lake.  The sunrise was an explosion of color greeting the day, and some of those brights were reflected in a portion of snow-free ice on the lake.  I am always energized after sharing in the beauty of a dawn like this.