It’s a true summer’s day –  blue sky above with white patchy clouds, and the sun is beating down with its warmth.  We are driving along some county roads in northern Wisconsin.  We’ve passed fields of green soybeans and acres of corn, all thriving in spite of the late planting season and the copious amounts of rain this year.  But up ahead is a bright and welcome sight — at an intersection there is a sea of yellow on one side of the road.  It stretches off to the trees in the distance, and it is a glorious field of sunflowers.  Faces to the east, backlit by the sun, the large blossoms are nodding in the wind.  To me this is the epitome of summer, and I’ll soak it in to remember during the not-so-summery days that lie ahead.

Sunflowers at sunset_StaatsOur past week’s weather has been warm with winds out of the northwest.  That’s usually not something to note, except that there are wildfires in Canada and in the Pacific Northwest.  The smoke from these fires has been passing through our atmosphere in Minnesota, creating hazy days and amazing sunrises and sunsets.  Last night we had a quick rain shower that moved through the area in the evening.  Before sunset, the rain passed and I grabbed the opportunity to see what the sunset might be like.  These sunflowers were backlit by the orange sky and glowing sun; they all seemed to symbolize the warmth and golden colors that we associate with the summer months.