Back on the bike

I’m pleased to say that with rest and medication my back is strong again.  But after having taken a week to recuperate I was worried about the loss of training for our long bicycle ride that’s fast approaching.  I did a test ride a few days ago and things seemed fine, so this weekend we were “cramming” our rides:  30 miles on Saturday, 40 miles on Sunday, and 50 miles today.  I’m happy to say we succeeded (and we’re still standing too!).  But our weekend brought a little bit of everything.  The last half of our Saturday ride was finished in a torrential downpour.  Although we waited out the thunder and lightning in a Subway store, we couldn’t wait out the rain and we arrived home looking like the proverbial “drowned rats”.  Sunday’s ride was in 90 degree temps with high humidity and a 25 mph headwind.  And today’s ride started with a 10 mph headwind and temps in the 70’s, but we turned the headwind into a great tailwind on the return.  We’re fortunate to have access to some wonderful bicycling trails here in Minnesota.  Sunday we rode on a segment of the Gateway Trail which originates in Saint Paul.  Today we started our ride in Faribault and rode the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail through the woods and pasture-lands of the central area of the Minnesota.  This area was once part of the “Big Woods” of the state and provided some welcome shade and beautiful surroundings.  Being able to experience the landscape and surroundings on a bicycle is one of the best ways to see an area, and this week we’ve seen a lot!

Golden colors of fall

Autumn is quickly spreading across Minnesota, starting in the north and moving southward every day.  Saturday morning I left the house before dawn and drove north to Wild River State Park, a beautiful park located right along the St. Croix River.  The morning was cold with frost and blue skies, but as I approached the river valley I could see a thick blanket of fog hovering over the water.  I quickly parked, collected my camera gear, and headed along a trail that follows the river.  In the stillness of the morning with the sounds and sights muffled by the fog layer, I enjoyed a delightful hour of fall colors.  All too soon the sun burned through the fog, the temperature rose, and the wind picked up.  I was delighted to see a bald eagle soaring high overhead, and later a deer ran by, obviously hearing my approach before I had even seen her.  The time passed quickly amongst the golden leaves of the forest, and when I returned to my car I realized I was missing my cell phone.  It must have fallen somewhere along a trail (or maybe even into the river).  I reported the loss to the park staff and drove home with the hope that someone might find it or it might become a new treasure for someone’s geocaching trip.  As the remainder of the day wore on and no word on my phone I mentally retraced my steps and thought that I might have dropped it near the front of where my car had been parked.  So this morning I made the pre-dawn drive back to Wild River State Park, only this morning was a completely different scene.  The night had been warmer, so there was no frost and no fog – only the bright sun as it crested the bluffs on the Wisconsin side of the river.  I searched the parking lot to no avail, but took the opportunity to hike another trail further north in the park.  With the bright sunlight the trees were glowing in their shades of yellow and gold.  I appreciated the contrast between the two mornings and remembered that scenes and places are never the same, even when separated by only 24 hours.  I have since replaced my cell phone, and I am not annoyed in the least at the “reason” I had to visit the park on two consecutive beautiful fall mornings.

The fog comes

Yesterday I awoke to a rare treat — a cool, foggy morning.    For me, there is a special stillness and quietness that settles over the landscape when everything is shrouded with a soft blanket of fog .  I found myself walking quietly so as not to disturb the air and the peacefulness that surrounded me.  And because it was an early Saturday morning, the usual hustle and bustle of work  routines were non-existent with few people out and about.  Since moving to Minnesota I’ve realized that fog is one of the atmospheric conditions of the Pacific Northwest that I miss.   As I was photographing this scene, I was reminded of the beginning of Carl Sandburg’s poem “Fog” where he writes “The fog comes on little cat feet.”  It moves in quietly, settles, and then travels on.   And as was the case yesterday, the sun and heat of summer eventually broke through the fog and we returned to blue sky and bright sunshine.

Bougainvillea red & white

bougainvillea-red-white_staatsMy exhibit of photographs titled “Paths and Portals” ends today at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.  Thanks to all the people who came to the receptions (the opening and the closing) and to those who left comments for me at the Center.  This image  “Bougainvillea red and white” was one of the more popular photographs.  Perhaps the colors speak of warmth and summer, while we’re still battling winter’s grip here in Minnesota.  This scene is from Tucson, Arizona and caught my eye with its contrasting colors as well as the details that were so artistically painted over the door.

Current exhibit – Paths and Portals

paths-and-portals-38347_staatsI have a new exhibit of photographs that just opened this week at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hopkins, Minnesota.   The exhibit includes 37  images, and is displayed in both the main  and second-floor lobbies.  The opening night reception was last Thursday, February 26th, which also happened to be the biggest snowstorm of the winter here in the Twin Cities.  My many, many thanks to the people who braved the treacherous roads and the blowing snow to come to the exhibit.  The photographs will remain on display through March 29th.   For further information, please check my website (www.lindastaatsphoto.com) or the website for the Arts Center (www.hopkinsartscenter.com).