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.
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.
Oh, the beauty of fall! On what might have been one of the last truly warm days of fall – blue sky, a warm breeze, and 70 degrees – I walked through Como Park. I was not alone, as there were people walking, biking, running, meandering – anything to soak up the glorious day. The sunshine brought out the colors of the sky and grass and the flaming red of this tree by the Frog Pond. Now we hunker down for a cold front and snow flurries, thankful for the recent memory of a beautiful day.