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.

Reflections Jack the Horse Lake_Staats 10636I wanted to share another image from our vacation in northern Minnesota.  I am always amazed at the light when we are in this area.  Perhaps it’s because the sky appears so large and the lakes help to reflect all the light that’s around.  This particular evening the sun was getting lower in the western sky, slanting to the east.  It cast a golden glow on the trees along Jack the Horse Lake.  The clouds to the south were a luminous white and pink, dusted with the glow of the setting sun.  And the calmness of the evening allowed the colors to be reflected in the smooth lake surface – a scene that still takes my breath away.  Calmness, light, stillness, luminosity, and beauty.

Sunset over Spirit Lake_10335 StaatsAs the temperature soared into the 90’s in the Twin Cities last Friday, we did what many Minnesotans do and headed “up north” for the weekend.  A small cabin at Whitewood Resort overlooking Spirit Lake was the perfect relief.  We spent the time keeping cool either by swimming in the lake or fishing.  The first night we were treated to a beautiful glowing sunset with the reflection slicing through the wild rice that is in this lake.  As I lay in bed that night I was lulled to sleep by the loons calling back and forth.  We caught our share of sunfish and crappies the next day, watched an eagle swoop down and get his fish from the lake, and our second night was highlighted by a view of the Northern Lights as we sat on the dock with our feet in the lake.  A few hours later, a storm rolled through with lightning and thunder and dropped the temperatures considerably.  This morning we wandered amongst the many lakes in Aitkin County then shared lunch with good friends we haven’t seen in a long time.  As we headed back to the cities we found ourselves refreshed and relaxed and thankful for a quick escape up north.

Storm clouds at sunset_10297 StaatsYesterday started with a gray cloud cover and comfortable temps.  As the day wore on, the sun broke through and the heat started to build.  Planning to take advantage of near-perfect fishing weather, we drove north about 50 miles to East Rush Lake.  We enjoyed a dinner in the boat between pulling in sunfish and crappies, and I was looking forward to the sunset.  Slowly, to the west, we could see storm clouds moving in, leaving a clear demarcation in the sky — blue sky white clouds and sunshine being taken over by dark gray and purple with white clouds developing within.  Our timing was perfect; we made our way across the lake to the boat landing, trailered the boat, and then watched the far shore as the lightning and rain moved across the lake.

Sunset conversation 7D-10285_StaatsOur weather has been warm and humid, leaving two options for coping.  First is to find some air conditioning and sequester yourself inside.  Second is to hunt out a nearby lake and take in the cool breeze that blows across the surface.  I sought out the second option one night this past week, as did others.  The wind blew across this urban lake, rustling through the trees and dropping the temps considerably.  A beautiful sunset was all that was needed to tell me that I’d chosen the better option.  This couple seemed to be thinking the same thing, and relishing the end of another midsummer’s day.

Rudbeckia at sunset_staats 10158While in the Kansas City area last weekend, I marveled in a  summer sunset over a field of wildflowers.  I stole away from the busy activities of a picnic and walked across the acreage that my parents had purchased years ago for the family’s enjoyment.  This evening I wanted to drink in the peace and beauty of the hayfield that hadn’t been cleared yet and the plethora of wildflowers that were blooming.  The rains and lack of heat had allowed the flowers to bloom in profusion.  The rudbeckia covered the hillside and seemed to glow in the golden light of the sunset.  As I sat beside the pond at the close of day I was filled with a sense of gratitude for the beauty before me, my parents, my family, and for this lovely bit of property.

Lake Mary sunset 9434_StaatsA sure cure for stress is a weekend trip to a lake up north.  Add in a group of wonderful friends and a cabin on a lake and everyone comes away in better spirits.  It was ladies weekend on Lake Mary, south of Alexandria.  We got out of our cars on Friday night, walked into the cabin and left our stress behind.  From then on it was relaxing, laughing, resting, and sharing — it was decompression of the best kind.  Throw in a beautiful sunset with the slightest of water ripple near the shore, a sky full of twinkling stars, a deck overlooking the lake with the warmth of the sun on our backs, and wonderful conversation; five friends found it hard to pull ourselves away today to return to the cities and our upcoming Monday.