Change to winter in the landscape

We’ve just returned from a trip south to Missouri for a lovely family wedding. When we left our home in Minnesota the snow was flying and the plows were out clearing the roads. As we drove south the snow depth seemed to diminish with the miles and the sun would peek through the clouds as they were blown across the sky. A few miles later and we’d be surrounded again in a snow squall.

We crossed the border into Iowa and the scenario continued (actually, it continued the following day too!). I am always amazed to see the cleared fields outlined in snow. The geometry of the land becomes accentuated and so much more noticeable. In this instance, all those field lines are in a direct contrast to the roundness of the clouds. It’s a beautiful time to be out on the road and observe how the seasonal changes affect our view of the landscape.

Looking inside not out

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.

Following the fall colors south

Last weekend we headed south to the Kansas City area traveling through southern Minnesota, Iowa, and northern Missouri.  The occasion was a special one – my brother’s wedding (congrats to him and his lovely bride!).  Fall colors had peaked already in Minnesota, but by heading south to warmer climates we were able to enjoy more of those rich colors in the landscape.  This scene in central Iowa caught my eye.  Not only was the fence post and its decorative saw blade unique, but the white of the post and the red of the gate seemed to contrast and compliment the green pasture and the golden fall colors on the distant hills.  Fall is soon to be a memory in Minnesota, but it was wonderful to enjoy the season in other states, and it was a perfect weekend to celebrate family and love.

Softball weekend in Iowa

Our weekend was a two-night road trip south to Iowa for softball.  My niece plays for the Baker University Wildcats (from Baldwin, Kansas) and they were playing games in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids;  a perfect excuse for a beautiful spring weekend escape from the north.  Today’s games were against the Mount Mercy Mustangs of Cedar Rapids.  With excitement in both games, the Wildcats won the first game and the home-town Mustangs won the second game.  But the weekend also gave us a chance to explore some areas of Wisconsin and Iowa we hadn’t seen before, and also the chance to catch up with family.  A whirlwind trip, but so very worth it!

A trip south for family and warmth

KState rugby match_StaatsYesterday I made a quick trip south to warmer climes – about 200 miles to Ames, Iowa.  The landscape was devoid of snow and the temps were in the low 50’s (almost tropical for this person from Minnesota where it had just dumped seven inches of snow on Friday!).  My nephew plays on the Kansas State Rugby team and they were playing the Iowa State team in Ames.  I don’t have much experience with rugby, but it is a fast-moving game, rough and tumble, and a testament to endurance and teamwork.  This match was very physical and included some tough injuries too.  In the end, the Iowa State team prevailed over Kansas State.  But the day provided time for catching up with my nephew and my brother & sister-in-law — well worth the drive!