The temperature dropped and winter came back to Minnesota during the past mid-week. The blue skies and hope of spring were delayed and side tracked by a fast-moving front that dropped snow and brought back winter’s cold winds. The gray sky that accompanied this snow seemed gloomier than usual, perhaps because of the desire for spring. But as I wandered the hills, listening to the rattling of the oak leaves in the wind, I saw a brief opening in the clouds – just long enough for a shaft of light to come through and give hope again for an eventual departure of winter.
After a week of gloomy, dreary skies a beautiful blue appeared today to help Saint Paul celebrate it’s Winter Carnival. With temps in the 20’s, hundreds of people were dressed warmly, soaking up the Vitamin D, and enjoying the snow sculptures that were completed for the carnival. Perhaps because we’re all longing for warmer climates, this sculpture titled “Under A Rest,” received the Peoples Choice Award. Complete with cacti and little gophers popping up from the ground, the cowboy seemed quite content to take a long winter’s nap in his frozen state.
Our fall temperatures have continued, and last Friday dawned with a noticeable crispness in the air. The wind was still at this early hour, and the sun was just starting to reflect off the clouds above as it made its way over the horizon. At Como Park I was able to find a perfect spot to take in the sunrise. A small pond on the golf course captured the reflection of the clouds above, and the silhouettes of the trees. Some trees still have their leaves while others have lost them to the autumn winds, and the grasses are in full bloom – their swan song before winter moves in. This season seems to be the shortest one, no matter how hard we try to hold onto the fall colors.
We wandered south of the Twin Cities yesterday on a dreary, rainy Saturday. August has been unusually wet with heavy downpours occurring frequently, resulting in high rivers and standing water in many fields. All this was noticeable as we drove through the countryside, but it became more apparent on a stop in the town of Cannon Falls. Here, the Little Cannon River flows alongside and through the town. In a “normal” August, average rainfall for Cannon Falls is four inches. To date this month they have had close to double that – almost eight inches. And with yesterday’s rain continuing to fall, it was obvious as the river stretched out of its banks. The falls were roaring and tossing the brown, sediment-filled water into the air as it tumbled toward the Cannon River which then flows on to the Mississippi River.
Today we are on the cusp of the last month of our meteorological summer. As I’m getting ready to turn the page of the calendar to August, it’s not something I want to do, but yet it is reality. These yellows of summer will soon be fading, much as our daylight hours are already diminishing. Yet, I remind myself that change is good and often we must go through change to get to something better. Without the cold and snow of winter, we would not have the beautiful forests and trees that grace our state. Ten years ago I moved to Minnesota – truly a huge change after living 30 years in Washington state. I am amazed at the things I’ve seen and learned, and humbled by the changes in my life. I’ve learned that a mid-west winter can be survived (and embraced) with temperatures that remain below zero; that frozen lakes can be driven on; that hockey can be played on those same frozen lakes; that there are small little “houses” that spring up on those frozen lakes where people ice fish; that a horizon line that goes off into the distance as far as I can see holds immense beauty and openness; that thunderstorms can be as beautiful as they are sometimes destructive; and that the colors of autumn are intense and beautiful, yet they can’t be timed to the calendar each year. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is that life continues and we adjust – we can chose to adapt and embrace those changes and live our lives fully. My life has become bigger with all those changes and new experiences, and I know that there will be more in the future ahead, just like the inevitable change in the seasons.