Stepping stones

We’ve recently returned from a three-week road trip to visit family and explore new places. We experienced sun and heat, smoke-filled days and nights, a full moon, and a sky filled with countless stars. We traveled through miles of corn, soybeans, sunflowers, grasslands, badlands, prairies, mountains, and black hills. The diversity and beauty of our country is truly amazing.

On our return to Minnesota we stayed one night at Lake Shetek State Park in the southwestern part of the state. As we explored the park and lake we walked across a causeway connecting the lake shoreline to Loon Island. The causeway was constructed as part of a WPA program. Earlier in the day I had seen a family swimming and relaxing at the end of the causeway. But as I walked again in the calm of late evening my attention was drawn to these rocks that extended from the sandy beach into the lake. Their pattern seemed to be welcoming me back to the land of 10,000 lakes and asking me to come along, follow each one, into the coolness of the lake.

After the summer storm

With the heat of summer we often have storms develop in the late afternoon after the high temperatures have built up throughout the day. One early evening I walked south to Como Park but noticed a large and dark cloud to the northwest. It was threatening but there was clearing after it. When I reached the McNeely Conservatory the sun was just sliding below the cloud, it’s rays streaming and illuminating the sky above and the sun itself lit up the dome of the conservatory. It was a beautiful albeit fleeting moment. Sometimes we are put in just the right spot to see and appreciate the beauty around us, if we will only look for it and take it all in.

A quiet morning at the lake

It was still early in the morning. The red sun had risen and managed to shine its light through the smoke and haze that has blanketed our area. There were swallows sweeping above and over the lake, gathering insects, resting on the pontoon cover, then continuing their aerial acrobatics. Occasionally I could hear a bird off in the distance. But as I sat at the end of the dock, my attention was focused about 20 yards in front of me. A loon was gracefully floating by, intent on things other than my presence. It went to the south, then to the north, and then it dove under the surface. After what seemed like an unusually long time, it reappeared…with a snail and some greenery that it found on the lake bottom. It floated by me, turned, dropped everything from its beak, dove down again, and disappeared for another long time, only to resurface way out in the center of the lake.

I treasure these simple moments – the quiet of the morning, the birds, fish, and animals doing what they do in the early hours of daylight, and the ritual that has played out for decades and eons. And I try to imagine someone sitting by this same lake shore observing a similar moment one hundred, two hundred, maybe three hundred years ago.

An unsettling summer sunrise

The other morning dawned cool and calm. There was steam coming off the lake surface, and the sun was a red ball rising into a hazy yellow and murky sky. It was quiet except for the sounds of geese and ducks calling off in the distance. On this day there was never much of a wind so the sky never cleared to it’s usual bright blue.

We’ve had numerous days like this one of hazy sunshine, partly due to increased humidity but also from the smoke of Canadian and northern Minnesota wildfires that have drifted into the area. The sunrises and sunsets have been unusual and unsettling, and yet quite beautiful.

Update to my website

Happy summer solstice and summer season! For all those days in the depths of winter when we grumbled about the cold and snow we now have the long days of sun and the heat of summer. It’s a time of blue skies, short sleeves, carefree shoes, lakes, fishing, and relaxation.

I have recently updated and combined my blog and website (https://lindastaatsphoto.com/) and I invite you to take a look around. You will see a menu ribbon or a dropdown option for navigation. There are three galleries with my photographic images – florals, architecture and designs, and landscapes and nature. These will help you understand the way I see the world around us. As we get closer to winter I will be adding a section for this year’s offering of holiday cards and 2022 (oh my!) desk calendars. And on my blog page is a place where you can sign up to receive emails anytime I have a new post (which is generally two to three times a month).

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. My blog continues to share the change of seasons and the scenes that I see, whether in the upper Midwest where I live or on the road with new adventures. Thanks for coming along on the ride with me; there’s still much to see, experience, and share!

And a credit to Greg Buzicky for the above photo, on a beautiful (and successful) evening of fishing!