Our landscape is white and the skies have been quite gray and overcast – the gun-metal gray of winter. The days are short and the darkness sometimes seems especially long. This morning I got up before dawn and was drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper. I eventually looked up and noticed the brightness of the morning had started to take over the black sky. As I stepped out the front door, the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds caught my eye; it was a beautiful contrast and a welcome splash of color that we had been missing the past week. The trees are leafless structures now, thrusting their branches up and out, and the cotton-like clouds seemed to be catching on the branches of the tree as they were moving by.
I hit the road this past weekend for a quick trip to the Kansas City area. It was a time for catching up with family and celebrating my niece’s high school graduation. We were even able to fit in an evening of pond fishing – the winds were calm, the air was warm, the sunset over the farmland was beautiful, and even the fishing was successful. I headed back home to Minnesota yesterday, leaving Kansas City in the morning after an early thunder-storm had passed. The sun was out and the temperature was rising, as was the humidity. I was watching dark and threatening clouds to the north, hoping they would move east before I got to that area. As I arrived in northern Iowa, the weather intensified to the north and east with large clouds blossoming on the horizon right along the front line. The radio station kept interrupting with severe weather and tornado warnings to the east and the south. When the interstate merged to one-lane and the cars started to back up, I took the first exit. This area of northern Iowa is filled with wind turbine farms, all working to harness the power of the winds that blow across these plains. Their height and power seemed to compliment the weather that was building in the area. My timing was perfect as I was west of this storm system, and my time photographing allowed me to miss the heavy downpours that were to the north. I managed to arrive home in between the storms, but with an appreciation of the power (and randomness) of Mother Nature.
One of the joys of living in the upper Midwest is the ability to see “forever.” The sky is large and the vistas can go on forever. And in Minnesota (land of 10,000+ lakes), we have the wonderful opportunity to see the sky reflected in our beautiful lakes. Last week we put our canoe in one of the local lakes. It had been a day of thunderstorms and rain, but the clouds seemed to part and go around the lake. A warm summer’s evening, a bit of dinner, and a paddle on the lake is a great way to relax. Then add to that a beautiful sky, and summer is wonderful!