Here in the north we are still waiting for spring’s arrival. Our skies have been gray, our temperatures have been 10-20 degrees below normal, and we’ve even had continuing frosts and snow. It’s been hard to keep our spirits up thinking that spring will not arrive in April but is holding off until sometime in May.
But there’s a lovely “cure” at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park and it seems like everyone is making a mental-health trip to the conservatory. Spring is in bloom, with bright and lovely colors – reds, yellows, whites, pinks, and blues – and the scents of these blossoms float in the air. Everyone is smiling, taking photos of the colors with their phones, inhaling deeply, and spending time in the gardens trying to soak up the indoor promise of warmer weather.
Spring will come, although by now it may be fleeting. We may instead jump from winter to summer. But I’m sure we will all welcome the long-anticipated warmer weather and it’s accompanying blossoms and blooms.
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 enter the last third of summer, our lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin are starting to bloom with water lilies. Looking across the water surface you can see areas of white and yellow. We’ve seen muskrats enjoying a meal of water lilies, and deer will also wade into the water to graze on them. This water lily is not endanger of being eaten as I photographed it at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Como Park. Like its “wild” relatives it was happy to open its petals to the bright sun and soak up the trailing end of summer.