Monday, April 26, 2010

More blossoming trees - what do we need to bloom?

I have had a very reflective weekend (in addition to getting some quality-length naps).  On Thursday, on the way to work, I found a new crop of flowering trees - crab apples, I guess, with a rich, deep color and very sweet smell.  They must have just popped out in bloom.

Lilacs are starting up too - it's been slow and easy in the past couple of cooler, rainy days.

None of this has happened before in April here in the north-lands, in my recollection.  But even though it raises fears of global warming, this mild month of early, slow, exquisite spring has been a blessing.  Previous springs have seemed to flash by in a week's time.

Now - what will it take for us to bloom?  For me to bloom?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flowering trees - spring bursting out in blossom

I wrote a little post this morning in my pocket-sized notebook as I rode on the bus - but left it at work.  (I'll try to retrieve it tomorrow and add it below.)  The first shot (from my phone camera) was out the window of the bus, as I watched in amazement all of the blossoming trees lining the city streets.  It seems this just happened overnight!  Or I haven't been paying attention.

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The morning post: The trees have been leafing out and budding for two weeks - many still half-emerged, as cool nights have slowed what in "normal" May springs seems to take about three days in total.  This slower pace allows me to notice and marvel at each new manifestation - yesterday, a swath of royal red tulips along the sidewalk on the way to the student health center, where I do yoga on Mondays.  They were glowing with life's intensity, each quite perfect and fresh, no sagging yet of any petaled cup.  I longed for my camera, but didn't have it.  (See camera photo below taken the next day.)

Internal weather: not as spring-y.  I attended a talk by two university V.P.s on the attitudes and approaches we need for the "new normal" of unending fiscal emergency.  We're not alone, they assured us.  We need to reinvent the university continually by unleasing creativity, by constantly asking we we do things as we do.  But - this group was the choir they were preaching to - a joint meeting of grass-roots profssionals (communicators and project managers) who are working for personal and institutional improvement - and none of us has tenure. Academic culture is hard to change, and our employment class (neither faculty nor unionized civil service) makes us the most vulnerable to cutbacks.  Still, a historic first: the faculty voted for a 1.3 percent cutback of their salaries (and ours too) for the year to avoid deeper staff cuts. 

The trees dopwntown as I ride an extra-early bus to work, are flowering everywhere - a promise of the abundance and power of planetary life.  May your spring days bring renewal and hope, energy and strength, gladness and peace.
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More from the day: on my walk to the office, I got up close to some blossoming trees.  They smell wonderful.

In the afternoon, on the way back from a meeting, I took a side trip to revisit the tulips I had seen the day before.  They are still close to perfect.

I had to take this picture too, because daffodils last so short a time.

In the evening, we visited the wildflower garden - this time, I had my camera, which allowed me to take some lovely close-up pictures.  Some day, I will learn how to embed a slide show of a series of photos into the blog.  (Reya does this from time to time, most recently here, and I've always admired it.  It appears to be a PhotoBucket thing.)

Click on these - what are they? marsh-marigolds? - and see them shine.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring days in our city of lakes

Spring is an amazing season here in the City of Lakes, in the State of 10,000 lakes.  In recent years, I haven't spent much time doing what a large percentage of the population is doing every weekend, which is to stroll around one or another of our lovely lakes.  Back in the day, a very left-leaning governor (Floyd B. Olson, I believe) was instrumental in keeping the lakeside and riverside properties within the Minneapolis city limits as public parklands.  It certainly has made our city liveable.

So today, we visited for the first time one of the city parks off-leash areas, where dogs can be dogs and people can enjoy them.  We have been going to an indoor dog-play hour each week, so that Charlie can become socialized.  Today, in the dog park, he was more active and social than he's been in that indoor setting, so we'll certainly return.  (He had particular fun with a young and speedy dachshund, racing around the park.)

So - two photos taken afterward, as we joined our fellow Minneapolitans on a Saturday early evening stroll along the Lake of the Isles shore:

The first is looking across to one of the little islands nestled in this lake.

Next, a view of Charlie (that's Peter on the other end of the leash) - Charlie still pulls ahead on the leash despite being in Level Three dog training.  He'll walk by my side if I have treats in my hand, but we haven't gotten it to a point of doing so when out on a walk.  Nor have I gotten him to stop jumping up on people (including a very tiny but intrepid little girl this evening).