Winter sun & shadow play 7D_0902 _StaatsWe headed out before dawn to Willow River State Park, located just outside of Hudson, Wisconsin.  The temperature was a cold 9 degrees, but the eastern horizon was beginning to glow so we knew we’d have a bit of sunshine to warm us up. At one time the Willow River was used to operate mills for grinding grain, and later logs were driven down the river to Lake St. Croix.  Today, in the cold of a winter’s morning, the area was quiet.  We arrived early enough to observe whitetail deer that were starting to rise after being bedded down for the night.  We saw an eagle soar overhead.  And the snow all around was animated by the sun.   Any small hills were accentuated and visible by their shadows, and where these small flower stems were standing tall through the snow they shed their shadows too across the white landscape.  The sun caused the ice in the snow to sparkle as if it was filled with a thousand diamonds.  It was a wonderful time to explore a new area and see all that offered up to us.

It’s summer here in the mid-west.  We’ve had temps in the 80’s and 90’s, and humidity that sometimes matched those temperatures.  One of the best ways to cool off on a hot summer’s night is to be on or near the water, whether it’s a pond, a lake, or a river.  So last night we headed over to Hudson, Wisconsin and with our feet in the water, we watched the sun set over the St. Croix River.  It was beautiful and delightful, especially with all the sailboats and recreational boats on the river.  Afterwards, it seemed only appropriate to finish off the evening with some cool ice cream.  We were on the east side of Saint Paul and stopped at the Dari-ette Drive-In.  Here you can order from your car or walk up to the window.  We ordered our ice cream and sat outside at a table to enjoy the evening.  With its neon sign, the flashing ice cream cone, and the lights of the cars going by, I couldn’t help but pull out my camera to photograph one of the last few drive-ins that still exist in the state.  If you’re in Saint Paul or passing through, I’d certainly recommend a stop at the Dari-ette Drive-In.