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.

 

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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.

Yellow of summer 13640_StaatsToday we are on the cusp of the last month of our meteorological summer.  As I’m getting ready to turn the page of the calendar to August, it’s not something I want to do, but yet it is reality.  These yellows of summer will soon be fading, much as our daylight hours are already diminishing.  Yet, I remind myself that change is good and often we must go through change to get to something better.  Without the cold and snow of winter, we would not have the beautiful forests and trees that grace our state.  Ten years ago I moved to Minnesota – truly a huge change after living 30 years in Washington state.  I am amazed at the things I’ve seen and learned, and humbled by the changes in my life.  I’ve learned that a mid-west winter can be survived (and embraced) with temperatures that remain below zero; that frozen lakes can be driven on; that hockey can be played on those same frozen lakes; that there are small little “houses” that spring up on those frozen lakes where people ice fish; that a horizon line that goes off into the distance as far as I can see holds immense beauty and openness; that thunderstorms can be as beautiful as they are sometimes destructive; and that the colors of autumn are intense and beautiful, yet they can’t be timed to the calendar each year.  But the biggest thing I’ve learned is that life continues and we adjust – we can chose to adapt and embrace those changes and live our lives fully.  My life has become bigger with all those changes and new experiences, and I know that there will be more in the future ahead, just like the inevitable change in the seasons.