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.
It’s been a string of summer days here in Saint Paul – sunshine, blue skies, beautiful white puffy clouds, and warmth. I took a walk to Como Park and followed the path all the way around Lake Como. Near the pavilion there were people considering the rental of water crafts. And they had many to choose from – kayaks, canoes, peddle boats, and paddle boards. A tough decision, but any of those choices would bring a change of scenery and some cooler air out on the lake.
These are the long summer days we look forward to all winter. It’s worth the snow and cold temperatures to finally turn the calendar to June and welcome the sun and the warmth of summer.
I was very fortunate to be at Como Park the other evening. It had been a beautiful day and many people were enjoying the evening and the park. There were people walking, biking, running, flying kites, setting up hammocks between trees, picnicking, and taking in all that our urban park offers, including a recent high school graduate celebrating his accomplishment. The sun was fighting through the hazy clouds on the western horizon, but it threw a lovely light on the waterfall on the right side of the Frog Pond. And that same light was streaming through the glass of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. How lucky I was to be there at this very moment.
As we are all social distancing and staying at home, our world is dominated by our views looking out. Many of us have become observers of the transition of seasons, the angle of the sun coming through our windows, and our neighbors that pass by walking their dogs. It’s good to look out to recognize and confirm that winter moves into spring, the sun continues to rise, and our neighbors are still in our neighborhood. That’s what gives us a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times.
This photo takes a different approach and looks inside from the outside. The sunlight streams through the window, lighting the vase amidst the darkness behind it. Shadows are created across the curtain by the window frame. The lace is delicate and beautiful, set off against the coarse texture of the wall. Perhaps our inside worlds are just as beautiful now as the outside world, if we take a moment to observe and appreciate where we are at this moment and what surrounds us.
The snow of winter has a way of draping its white over everything. The trees become lined emphasizing their structure and branches. The ground becomes white showing the curves and hips of hills. At the University of Minnesota Saint Paul campus is a wonderful sculpture setting of cows. These bigger than life animals are resting peacefully in their urban setting. The snow has draped over them also, quietly emphasizing their repose and seeming indifference to the weather. They’re a great reminder to me to accept the weather, accept the snow, and appreciate its beauty.