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.
There’s something mesmerizing about the approach of a storm. During the summer in the upper Midwest we get waves of high humidity – the air is so filled with moisture it’s dense and thick. The humidity and heat build until they set off storms. Lately we seem to have weekly storms accompanied by thunder and lightning, hail, and strong winds.
There are so many unknowns with an approaching storm – will it be just rain, will it pass by quickly or stall overhead, will it create damage anywhere in its path, will it build and get worse or will it dissipate, and when will it be overhead. I find the anticipation before a storm moves through fascinating and beautiful. This storm was building for about a half-hour. The white thunderclouds at the far end of the lake stayed to the south as the darker clouds rolled over the lake. The wind quieted and the air was eerie with the stillness. Within ten minutes the rain started, big drops at first and then a downpour. And after another ten minutes the storm had moved out of the area, this time leaving only rain.
The heat and humidity built throughout the day. As evening approached the sun and blue skies gave way to towering white thunderhead clouds to the south. Quickly the darker clouds moved in, the sky took on an eerie gun-metal gray and gold, and the wind grew still. I wandered through the cornfields watching and listening. In a short period of time there was lightning in the area. I erred on the side of caution and decided a woman with a tripod in the middle of a cornfield with lightning around was not a good idea. Within minutes of that decision, the winds picked up and the rain came down.
Yesterday started with a gray cloud cover and comfortable temps. As the day wore on, the sun broke through and the heat started to build. Planning to take advantage of near-perfect fishing weather, we drove north about 50 miles to East Rush Lake. We enjoyed a dinner in the boat between pulling in sunfish and crappies, and I was looking forward to the sunset. Slowly, to the west, we could see storm clouds moving in, leaving a clear demarcation in the sky — blue sky white clouds and sunshine being taken over by dark gray and purple with white clouds developing within. Our timing was perfect; we made our way across the lake to the boat landing, trailered the boat, and then watched the far shore as the lightning and rain moved across the lake.
Yesterday dawned as a beautiful day – sunny and warm, with almost a feel of summer’s return. But late in the afternoon a front moved through, changing our blue skies to dark with rain and strong winds that moved across the area rapidly. After the storm, the sun returned and we opted to go to the University of Minnesota Gopher women’s soccer match. As we walked to the stadium, I looked to the east where the soon-to-be-setting sun was illuminating the storm clouds that had moved through our area. The golden sweep of the clouds was contrasted with the cool blue of the clearing sky, reminding me of the beauty of nature and also the quickness with which it can change.