The Minnesota fishing opener was this past Saturday, and unlike some previous years the weather was lovely.  We headed north to our favorite fishing lake and found an abundance of blue –  the sky, and its reflection in the water surrounded us with this beautiful color of spring.  Uncharacteristically calm and warm, the boat created the only ripples in the water.  It was wonderful to soak in the warmth and the beauty of the day, while we caught our limit of large Northern pike.  Saturday became even more perfect as we also headed out on the lake Sunday morning, but this was a much different day.  The sky was filled with high clouds, and there was a serious wind from the east.  There was no still and calm, no quiet reflection in the water, but rather a heavy chop and even some whitecaps.  Sunday merely helped us appreciate even more that blue sky, blue lake day from 24 hours earlier.

early-feb-thaw-at-como-lake_cp1690_staatsTemps in the 40’s?  That certainly means an early thaw in Minnesota, along with dreams and wishes for an early spring.  I took advantage of the sunshine to take a walk around Como Lake.  Along with many like-minded people who were soaking up this bit of warmth, the walking path and bike trail around the lake had everyone dodging puddles.  The lake was open near the northern shoreline, allowing the ducks to come and go.  In another area the ice held standing water to offer a second reflection of the winter trees.  We know winter is not over, and there will most likely be more snowfalls, but for this day it was a welcome glimpse of spring to come.

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.

laka-mary-sunset-14756_staatsThis was a weekend of rest and relaxation at the lake.  I’m fortunate to have a group of friends that find camaraderie and restoration together at one woman’s cabin near Alexandria.  The beer was cold, the food was great, and the conversation flowed easily.  It was a time for all of us to unwind, share the events of our lives, and reconnect since our last time together.  Even better was the fact that our weather was warm and clear – unusual for this time in November.  Friday evening I found myself drawn to the lake.  There was no wind, the sun was slowly sinking into the western sky, and a beautiful wisp of clouds was reflected in the glass-like surface of the lake.  The water was so clear I could see the rocks below the surface at my feet.  All was silent, and all was right with this natural world.  As I marveled at the beauty and gave thanks for my friends and my life right now, a loon gave out its characteristic cry in the middle of the lake.  It seemed to be a reminder that nature can always be a place for us to recharge, refresh, and find a restorative place amidst all the outside influences that work to distract us and try to wear us down.

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.

fall-color-reflection-14359_staatsI was up early yesterday morning hoping for a beautiful sunrise to compliment the fall colors that we’re enjoying in Minnesota.  But as luck would have it, the cloud cover was too thick and there was no sunshine.  However, it was unusually warm and the colors were still wonderful.  There was enough wind to throw ripples across the lake and there was a shoreline that was mostly protected from the wind.  Looking through the camera lens I was mesmerized by the color reflection in the water.  The slight movement created a blur of colors and the more I looked at it the more I was reminded of the Northern Lights, only here they were playing out as reflections in a northern lake.

End of the Trail at Top of the Rock_13086 StaatsOn our last night in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, we went to the Buffalo Bar at the Top of the Rock, near Ridgedale, Missouri.  As the sun was setting after a warm summer-like day, it illuminated the clouds that were on the horizon and in the sky above, and all was reflected in Table Rock Lake.  At the Top of the Rock is a water pool that has a statue of the End of the Trail, all at the precipice overlooking the lake.  In researching the statue, I learned that the sculptor James Earle Fraser was originally from Winona, Minnesota, and the piece was first modeled in 1894.  This area of the Ozarks had been home to the Osage Indians, and this evening’s sunset beauty seemed a fitting tribute to them and the area they loved.