The day was cloudy and gray and the wind had been blowing.  Twilight was approaching and yet the sun broke through the clouds for a brief five minutes.  It lit up the far shore of the lake and the trees became golden, all reflected in the stillness and calm of the lake.  The shadows of the treetops to the west started to darken this eastern shoreline and would eventually envelop the entire view.  But for a brief period it was a magical and golden view.

It was a bitter cold day and evening but the sun had been shining and the blue sky had beckoned people outside.  I was at Lake Como and there were walkers and runners following the path around the lake, there was one lone ice fisherman, and there were people who had laced up their skates and were gliding across the ice where the surface was smooth.  It was a glorious time, and the sunset glowed in the ice surface and in the clouds above.  For a few moments it was beautiful, and not quite as cold as we thought.

One of the mantras taught to photographers is patience.  Sometimes what you are expecting may not appear possible, but a little patience can lead to some grand results.  Such was the case earlier this week.  The afternoon was cloudy, warm, and humid, and the sky was nondescript.  Even the lake looked dull.  We headed out for a ride around the lake and 30 minutes before sunset the clouds started to clear.  As the sun started to go behind the trees on the western shore, they cast a shadow on the eastern shoreline.  The water became calm, and the clearing sky filled with pink and white clouds was reflected in the lake surface below, along with the gold of the trees on the shoreline.  It lasted for a few minutes and then was gone; my patience rewarded.

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.

August began as it should, sunny and hot – the epitome of a Minnesota summer’s day.  The perfect ending to an August day is a lake and ice cream.  We were lucky enough to have both the lake and a DQ close by in the Cities.  As kids played in the water by the swimming beach, we noticed more and more people coming to the lake as the sunset approached.  A storm was developing to the northwest and the clouds began to move in, but luckily they held off long enough for the sun to give up a last hurrah, light up the sky and clouds, and reflect its brilliant colors in the surface of the lake.  A group cruised by on their pontoon boat as we sat on a bench and enjoyed our ice cream, the cool breeze coming off the lake, and the beauty of the day’s end.

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.

Full moonrise 10917_StaatsLast weekend’s super moon and lunar eclipse was an event followed by many people.  I found myself in the agricultural fields of the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota at the time of the moonrise.  The weather had been glorious with warm temperatures and a southerly breeze, and as the sun set the sky remained clear.  Slowly the full moon rose on the eastern horizon, clearing the corn fields that surrounded me, accompanied by the sound of the wind rattling through the dry corn stalks.  Although I was in the middle of the city, it seemed like I was distant and not in an urban area.  But what surprised me the most, were the number of people that had come out to do the same thing I was doing.  The gravel road between the fields was lined with cars.  People were sitting in chairs or sitting in their cars, and people were walking — all there to marvel in the size of this full moon and then to observe the lunar eclipse.  Another 18 years is a long time until the next event like this, hence the urgency for many of us to enjoy it this time.