Pasque flowers for spring

Today is Easter – a day filled with promise, hope, and spring.  Yet this year is not like other years.  Many of us are celebrating the day without friends and family and without the many traditions that we have come to associate with Easter.

And usually Mother Nature is on board too, but that’s not the case in Minnesota today.  I’m looking out the window at snow coming down and collecting on the grass and trees.  When the temperature was 60 degrees yesterday I thought the 3-6 inches of predicted snow was wrong, but that just may hold true.  Somewhere there are lovely small pasque flowers that are keeping their blossoms closed to protect themselves from the snow.  They too know what’s necessary for survival.  And yet I know spring will turn the corner, and these flowers will open up again and be thankful for the moisture and the sun.  There is promise and hope.


Pasque flowers on the prairie

Yesterday I drove south from the Twin Cities with a photographer friend in search of pasque flowers.  The weather was unusually warm, the sunshine was bright, and it was good to catch up with my friend.  We arrived at this gravel prairie area and were at first disappointed thinking the flowers were not in bloom yet.  But as we looked more closely we could see peeks of flowers amidst the dry prairie grasses.  The pasque flowers are only three to four inches tall, so they can easily hide.  They start out as little fuzz balls (of which we saw many) and gradually open their petals to the warmth of the sun.  Although there will be a larger and showier display with more flowers blooming in the days ahead, it was a delightful evening and a reminder of all the good things that come with spring.

Pasque flowers

Pasque flowers_Staats-9287Snow last Thursday, followed by 65 degrees and sunshine — it all provided moisture and then warmth for the early blooming wildflowers in Minnesota.  Amidst a gravel prairie about 50 miles from the Twin Cities is a place where pasque flowers are abundant.  And if your timing is good, the entire prairie is filled with these small diminutive flowers.  Only two to five inches tall, they are hard to notice from a distance, but it becomes quite magical when you see an entire hillside covered by these flowers. With the warmth of the spring sun, and the golden colors of the late evening, we spent a wonderful few hours amongst the pasque flowers.

Pasque flowers announcing spring

One of the first prairie flowers to bloom in the spring are the pasque flowers.  They thrive in gravel prairies and are found in various areas throughout Minnesota.  Yesterday I ventured south of the Twin Cities to a Minnesota Scientific and Natural Area.  When I first arrived, the morning was cool and overcast, but I was thrilled to have found a wonderful slope dotted with these small pasque flowers.  Standing only 4 to 5 inches tall, they are easily overlooked from a distance.  As I walked along I found more and more of these little gems pushing their blooms up from under the brown grasses.  I spent over an hour photographing, all the while accompanied by the sounds of Canada geese and mourning doves.   As I stopped to take in the beauty of the landscape around me the skies slowly cleared and I was treated to a warm sun and beautiful pasque flowers against a blue sky — a delightful and wonderful welcome to spring.