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.

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It was sunny and warm yesterday – perfect conditions for snowshoeing.  We headed off into the woods without a specific destination but rather to explore.  The snow was still deep where is was sheltered from the full sunlight making our snowshoes a definite requirement for any navigation.  There were numerous deer trails and turkey tracks throughout the woods.  After awhile we came upon a small clearing that was more open to the sunlight.  The shadows fell strong upon the snow, in undulating lines and patterns —  a dynamic statement of the beauty of winter.

Soon the snow will melt, and soon it will be spring!  We enjoyed a quick vacation to Salt Lake City the past few days.  There were remnants of snow when we arrived, but the sun was warm and the temperatures climbed each day.  Being from snow-bound Minnesota, I was thrilled to see these lovely spring crocus –  fighting off the cold and the snow of winter, bravely blooming and reminding us that spring will conquer winter and we will be surrounded by color once again. Soon.

This morning was cold and windy.  The sky was cloudy and the air was filled with fine sleet and tiny snow.  Winter still has its grip, and we were on a drive exploring.  The forests can be thick or thinned.  In this one area was a wonderful stand of birch and aspen, with a few small oaks in their midst.  The colors and contrasts caught my eye –  white on white, gray on white, and brown and white.  Certainly a limited color palate, but beautiful in its starkness.

During the past week we have had three distinct snowfalls, each one giving us plenty of opportunity to be outside.  Just as we start to grumble about winter we remind ourselves that we are exercising while shoveling, we are getting Vitamin D on those mornings when the sun is sparkling over the fresh blanket of snow, and we are seeing our neighbors more regularly as we are all outside clearing our sidewalks and drives.  For some reason my snow shoveling seems to take longer than others.  I’m stopping to see the soft drifts that are piling up, I’m watching the clouds start to dissipate as the sun burns through them, I’m marveling at the brightest of blue skies overhead, I’m hearing a call of a cardinal in between the sound of snow blowers,  and I’m noticing how the snow has settled so lightly on  some of the tree branches.  All those details only enhance my appreciation of winter and its unique beauty.

A week ago we headed north to visit a friend near Duluth.  The weather was sunny but still cold; we were excited to be at 15 degrees!  We all strapped on our snowshoes and headed out into the woods.  Along for the trip was Halo – a happy, snow loving dog who was running rings around us.  Halo is enjoying life now after suffering while with a previous owner.  She is missing one of her hind legs, but seeing her jump through the deep snow, bounding ahead of us, and loving every minute of it, you’d never know that it might slow her down.  She was in her element and reminded us all of embracing the seasons that we have and enjoying them to their fullest, no matter!

The Super Bowl and its fans departed the Twin Cities last week, but the St. Paul Winter Carnival continued.  On a cold night we wandered to downtown St. Paul where the ice sculptures were on display, along with this year’s star attraction, an ice palace.  The weather has cooperated with the Winter Carnival this year, and all the attractions were still in their frozen shape (as opposed to the melting we’ve experienced in other years).  A huge ice palace was built this year and was dominant over the other activities.  This cold night brought many people out to admire the structure.  During the day when the sun has been shining and had some warmth, people have placed pennies in the large ice blocks.  The other “item” of note in the palace was the frozen walleye that was in one of the blocks on the south side.  The good news, per St. Paul Winter Carnival folklore, is that once again Vulcanus Rex and his Krewe have dominated over King Boreas, and winter will end and warmer weather will be on the horizon.