The seasons move quickly from spring into summer and this year seems to have moved faster than normal.  Everything has turned to a beautiful bright green — the color of new growth, late spring, and early summer.  We’ve had enough rain to keep things fresh and the heat hasn’t set in yet.  This graceful fern was backlit in the garden, accentuating each leaf and its lovely color.  Its beauty was stunning, and I also know it will be fleeting as the green will become darker and not nearly as bright.  It’s a reminder to me to appreciate the season and the time we’re in now as it changes ever-so-quickly and what we see today will not be the same tomorrow.

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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.

We are in the middle of the transition from fall to winter in Minnesota, and Mother Nature has her own agenda.  With fall colors still evident, we had two quick snowfalls.  We love the four distinct seasons we have, yet we can be confused when the boundaries are blurred.  My neighbors have a beautiful euonymus tree in their front yard.  Its leaves are a wonderful pinkish-red in fall, and yet this week the branches were covered with snow.  The white made the leaves glow a bit brighter, and contrasted them to the more usual golds and browns that were scattered on the sidewalk below.  The wetness of the snow had its affect on the leaves; the next day the tree was bare and the ground was dappled with red.

Like the flip of a switch, spring blew into the Twin Cities this past week.  Last Monday, May 1st, brought us snow flurries in abundance – it looked and felt more like November than May.  But as the week wore on, the temperatures rebounded, the sun appeared, and the leaves started opening.  The tulips and daffodils became riots of color, the crabapple trees were awash in pinks and whites, and the once-barren, brown grass became green again.  This weekend found people outside – gardening, walking, running, biking, having parties on their patios and decks – anything to soak up the warmth and the return of spring.

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.

snow-dusted-hydrangea_staats-15369Last weekend’s snow disappeared with the rain that followed for a few days.  Once again our ground was visible, and winter seemed far away.   But the snow started falling again last night, and by this morning we had six inches of fluffy white snow on the ground and the trees.  There was no wind, so the snow stayed where it fell, gracing the branches and trees.  This delicate hydrangea bloom was a recipient of the dusting, and it seemed to sparkle with the flakes scattered over its blossoms.  The temperatures have been below freezing the last few days and the lakes are icing over.  This afternoon I saw a large skein of Canada geese heading southward.  They were much higher in the air today as they continued past their usual stops in our area, knowing that they must continue further south to find open water.  And there was a noticeable stillness in the air tonight; a nearly full moon shone down as the snow glistened in its light absorbing the sounds as we quickly move into the winter season.