Spring and Easter – all at the same time.  Bright colors, light colors, the colors of spring.  This flowering crabapple bonsai seemed to sum up the season and the day.   Wishing you the bright colors and warmth and joy of spring and Easter!

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.

winter-stillness-and-reflection_15035-staatsThe snow began after dark and continued through the night.  It was a wet and heavy snow that blanketed the ground and outlined the branches and trees.  In the morning the landscape had been transformed to winter.  It was stillness and quiet this morning before Thanksgiving.  I was at the golf course at Como Park where the oak trees on the far side of the pond still had their burgundy leaves. The entire landscape before me was quietly reflected in the open water.  No ripple, no movement.  Only the peacefulness of a winter’s morning.

winters-arrival-ordway-japanes-garden_14930-staatsWe knew it was coming; it was even later than usual this year.  But winter’s arrival is always a shock, especially when the temperature drops 30 degrees in one day, the wind blows and gusts, and the rain turns to snow.  For less than 48 hours we have been below freezing.  The snow fell Friday afternoon and evening, and here in the Twin Cities we have less than an inch on the ground.  But the white was evident on the plants and grass, and the cold was enough to put a layer of ice on the water in the Ordway Japanese Garden at Como Park.  One tree bravely held on to its bright red leaves – the only real spark of color in the now-winter landscape.  In this beautiful quiet this morning, the only sound was the waterfall that was continuing to gurgle and the geese whose flight south to open water took on a new sense of urgency.

autumn-sunrise-como-park_14461-staatsOur fall temperatures have continued, and last Friday dawned with a noticeable crispness in the air.  The wind was still at this early hour, and the sun was just starting to reflect off the clouds above as it made its way over the horizon.  At Como Park I was able to find a perfect spot to take in the sunrise.  A small pond on the golf course captured the reflection of the clouds above, and the silhouettes of the trees.  Some trees still have their leaves while others have lost them to the autumn winds, and the grasses are in full bloom – their swan song before winter moves in.  This season seems to be the shortest one, no matter how hard we try to hold onto the fall colors.

Lake como dawn 13853_StaatsYesterday’s cool rain cleared overnight, but left pockets of fog in some of the low-lying areas.  The stars came out with the promise of sunshine today.  I was up before dawn this morning and went to Lake Como.  The air was still — no wind to form ripples or waves across the lake, and the fog that was expected hadn’t settled in over the water.  Gradually the dawn sky was growing lighter.  The canoes and kayaks that are available for rent rested in place on the dock, waiting for today’s patrons.  The peace and quiet were a welcome relief from the busyness and crowds that are a short mile away converging on the Minnesota State fairgrounds.

Spring tulips aglow 12770_StaatsIn my longing for the colors of spring, I wandered into the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  My spirits rose as I took in the colors and smells of our long-awaited season of spring – an array of lilies, tulips, ranunculus, and daffodils.  Flowers the colors of the sun — the light of spring that we crave so much after the cold and white of winter.  From underneath these tulips the light from above made them glow and shimmer – an ephemeral hint at their fragility and short-lived life in the transition between winter and summer.