Whenever I’m out on a lake I’m always looking around at the sky, the clouds, the shoreline and the reflections — anything for a delightful image and photograph. Last week I wrote about musical patterns that I saw in the surface of a lake with the reflection of cattails and lily pads. This week I found raindrops dancing on a lake surface. It was early evening when we put our canoe into the water, with a sun sinking into the west and a bank of clouds passing by. The sun was still out and when I looked around I could see small circles on the surface of the lake, and not of the fish-kind. Although we couldn’t feel it ourselves it was starting to rain. The single drops spaced themselves on the surface of lake, making beautifully concentric circles and ripples spreading outward. With the sunlight and the blue sky reflected in the surface, I was presented with a wonderful photographic opportunity. As quickly as the rain had started, it then stopped. After awhile the sun slid below the horizon, painting the sky a shade of pink and orange; the full moon rose over the trees, the stars filled the sky above, and we were treated to another beautiful summer’s evening on a Minnesota lake.
With a weekend full of activities that already included an art exhibit reception, a 40-mile bike ride, and a baseball game, we decided to head out early this morning for some peace and quiet on a local lake. We had hoped to be on the lake as the sun was rising, but Mother Nature had other plans and the dawn began overcast and cloudy. As we launched our canoe we had the entire lake to ourselves, surrounded by the special stillness and quiet that is reserved for the earliest times of the morning. The lake was calm and we paddled near a shoreline that was lined with cattails and had lily pads floating nearby. As I looked at the lake surface and the reflection I felt like I was looking at a sheet of music with staff lines and notes placed in a pattern that was meant to be played and interpreted. Perhaps it was a prelude to the day that was just beginning — a time of wonder and calm when all the world seems still and all you have to do for the next hour or so is relax in your canoe, paddle on the lake, and enjoy the hours as they quietly develop.
Although Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes that is actually quite modest as there are thousands more. The advantage for those of us in urban areas in the state is that we are never very far from a wonderful lake. Within a 10-mile radius of our home are a dozen plus lakes to enjoy. On a calm summer’s evening earlier this week, we launched our canoe for a leisurely paddle. We took along a light dinner to enjoy, a transistor radio to listen to the baseball game, and good attitudes to relax and appreciate the beauty of summer in Minnesota. The colors of the sky and sunset reflected in the quiet waters of the lake. In this photo you can see the power lines and electrical towers of the city, but you can’t see the interstate highway that is just on the other side of the far tree line. On this evening there was no noise audible from the traffic, and we were serenaded by the call of a loon that was residing somewhere on the lake. Except for the power lines, we could have easily been miles away from our urban life. We were out on the lake for only a couple of hours but this short respite from the hustle and bustle, the noise and cacophony of the city life was a wonderful way to appreciate and savor the best of the summer season.
Due to my recent broken arm and tendon surgery I was not ready to participate in the traditional fishing opener here in Minnesota. I was close but not completely operational a few weeks ago. But thanks to my physical therapy (and a late spring) it was time to test my hand and my fishing skills. We headed north yesterday to a beautiful lake in Cass County, Big Rice Lake. The weather was iffy – possible showers, possible storms, possible sun (in other words, nobody could really predict what it would be). We loaded up the canoe with layers of jackets and rain coats, sunscreen, rods, reels, and good humor. What we were greeted with could not have been expected — a wonderfully calm day with hardly a ripple across the surface of the lake. We were enveloped by a beautiful sky which seemed even more immense as it was reflected in the still lake surface. The clouds danced on the water as we drifted along. A few hours later we’d seen red-winged blackbirds protecting their nests, heard the call of loons from various corners of the lake, gotten a little bit sunburned, and caught our limit of northerns. And after we’d packed up our gear and fish, loaded the canoe back onto the car, and left the boat landing the rain began to come down.
We headed north this weekend for a little fishing trip — one that was full of delights and surprises. We were tent camping and were fortunate to find a beautiful campsite on the shore of a northern lake. As we drifted to sleep last night we were serenaded by a chorus of frogs and loons. And yet in the middle of the night a storm moved through, bringing lightning and thunder, wind, and rain. I lay wide awake in the tent, imagining a worst-case scenario and worrying about what we would do. Luckily the worst of the dark & stormy night was off in the distance and what I was imagining didn’t develop. When we awoke this morning we were greeted with summer temperatures, a calm lake, and clearing skies. Today was beautiful for fishing. With blue skies, white clouds, clear water, and the serenade of red-winged blackbirds and loons, we were successful in catching a “slug” of northern pike. After having lived here in Minnesota for almost four years I’m appreciating even more the specialness and richness of our 10,000 plus lakes.