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.
We’ve enjoyed days of blue sky and sunshine. Our temperatures have soared into the 40s and 50s and we were so very optimistic for spring. Even the grass was showing, and snow was only found in small mounds on protected north sides.
And then it snowed yesterday. Spring was delayed another time. Today I found these trees standing tall on a hill in our monotone winter landscape, their branches still bare but triumphant. They know that spring will come. The grass beneath their trunks will be green again. The sky above their outstretched arms will be a brilliant shade of blue. And their branches will burst out with a full coverage of green leaves. Not today, but soon.
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.
The last few weeks have brought a world of differences to many of us — a new physical view from the inside looking out; a new vocabulary that includes medical terms of pandemics, viruses, curves, ventilators, and COVID-19; an appreciation for things that previously we’d taken for granted; and a feeling that the world’s turned upside down. With the barrage of news and seemingly constant updates it’s hard to look too far forward. Like many, I’m trying to take things one day at a time. Today the sun is shining and there are signs of spring outside my windows. The birds are migrating back into our area and their calling hangs in the air. There are people walking in the neighborhood and soaking up the sun’s warmth. There’s a young girl that’s riding her small bike next to her dad who is running; they’re chatting and singing as they go by. Sometime ahead the tulips will be blooming here in Minnesota. Somewhere ahead, the struggling and the uncertainty we’re dealing with now will be behind us. Somewhere ahead I’m hoping we will have learned lessons from this time; perhaps we’ll appreciate the beauty all around us – in nature, in family, and the people we interact with. And somewhere ahead I’m hoping our world will no longer seem to be upside down, but instead will be more kind.