The snow had started to fall at sunset the previous day and continued all night.  The morning dawned quiet and lovely with the fresh snow blanketing the landscape.  The clouds had remained thick and then there was a brief opening, long enough for the sun to penetrate the cloud cover with its hazy rays for less than a minute.  The sun disappeared behind the clouds, the snow began again, and this brief scene was the only sunshine for the day.

Today is the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.  After this dark night our days will become longer and filled with more light.

Wishing you all a bright and wonderful Christmas, and a new year filled with light and wonder.

The dawn was cold and crisp.  Although the temperatures have been above freezing during the day, they still dip into the teens and twenties at night.  The multiple inches of snow on the lake have melted and frozen many days in a row, and what snow remains is only an inch or two deep on the lake.  The sunrise was an explosion of color greeting the day, and some of those brights were reflected in a portion of snow-free ice on the lake.  I am always energized after sharing in the beauty of a dawn like this.

One year closes and another opens, much like the sunset that closes out each day and the sunrise the starts the following day.  Today marks the close of 2017 – a year filled with adventures, travels, and events that I truly couldn’t have envisioned or seen ahead to back on January 1st.  And as I look forward to 2018, I see a horizon with brightness and color, new adventures and things that I can’t foresee right now.  But I’m ready to step out through that sunrise and embrace all that lies ahead.  Happy new year to all of you, and I hope you continue along with me in the new year.

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 dawn over Lake Johanna 9247_StaatsSpring has been fickle here in Minnesota.  From cold to snow to rain to warm – we’ve had a bit of everything this week.   I’ve already heard the welcome return of the red-winged blackbirds singing, and the lake ice has started to diminish.  I was at Lake Johanna yesterday before sunrise. The winter air was crisp and cold at 19 degrees when it hit my face and hands as I got out of the car, but my ears could hear the geese and the ducks that were splashing in the open water near the shoreline, and in the distance a woodpecker’s repetitive hammering was contributing to the song.  With all this cacophony the sun was illuminating the eastern sky in pinks and orange.  It seems that everything is in anxious anticipation of the season of spring.