My favorite day of the year


In Minnesota we have two seasons: Winter, and road construction.

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Welcome to Minnesota. Enjoy our orange cones!

But sandwiched between them every year is one single, glorious day we call “summer.” Summer really does feel that fleeting here, perhaps because the winters are so memorable.

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Proof that Mother Nature is trying to kill you.
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This is my friend Norine, casually stopping by to say hello.

But on that rare day when the prairie grasses sway in the breeze like an inland ocean and the sky turns a deep cerulean blue, I forgive nature for the months I’ve spent as a purple popsicle.

Today was one of those rare and glorious days.

I’d made plans to spend the morning with my friend Carol, who lives near the town of Stillwater. She knows all the meandering back roads and scenic spots — including this public dock on the St. Croix river.

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Carol also has a great eye for architecture, and today she gave me a tour of the Jackson Meadow community in nearby Marine on St. Croix.

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Part of the idea behind the development is harmony with nature, so the yards and public grounds are planted with native prairie grasses and wildflowers. I loved how you could hear birds everywhere, and the buzzing of bees.

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The light was so intense that the colors almost looked fake.

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But Carol was there; she can vouch for me.

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And I can vouch for the fact that there’s no better way to spend the rare Minnesota summer day than with a dear friend. Thank you, Carol.

80 Responses to “My favorite day of the year”

  1. Minnesota sounds like how I remember South Bend, my childhood hometown. It snowed from October to April. It was usually melted sometime in June. We competed with Buffalo, NY, every year for snowiest place in the nation.

    • 2 hmunro

      Gotta love that lake-effect snow, eh? 🙂 For all the weather hassles of living in the Midwest, we’ve got to admit that at least it’s seldom boring.

  2. Hello
    I like coming here because Minnesota is a place I would like coming one day (wyoming too)

  3. It seems as though mother nature is apologizing for the deadly cold winters. The scenes are so beautiful. On the contrary where I live (Pakistan) the longest season we have is summer. I wish we had it only for a day haha. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed looking at the pictures. 🙂

    • 7 hmunro

      Pakistan! I can only imagine how long and hot your summers must be (and just contemplating that makes me a little bit grateful for our winters here). But I suppose all any of us can do is to try to find beauty in our everyday lives, no matter the weather or where we live. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  4. Such beautiful pictures 🙂 Congrats on having nice weather… It’s raining here in Cornwall, England.

    • 9 hmunro

      I will try to send some of this sunshine your way, Shana — I’m burned red like a lobster from the little time I spent outdoors yesterday and could actually use a few clouds today. 🙂

  5. Lovely -again! I’ll have to stop repeating myself. That sky!

    • 12 hmunro

      It’s the first time I’ve used a polarizer filter, Terry — and those were my words exactly: THAT SKY! It was still even more beautiful in person, though.

      • Ah, I wondered if you’d used a filter. That sky is so intense in those photos with the two buildings in it. Good choice

        • 14 hmunro

          … although clearly I’m a novice with the polarized filter, because the sky isn’t supposed to look that dark or uneven. In my defense, though, it was so bright I could hardly see anything in the viewfinder!

  6. Near-perfect days are so rare that we really appreciate and marvel at them. Thanks for the good feeling of a nice day.

    • 17 hmunro

      I hope you were able to get out and enjoy it, Tom — and if not, it looks like we have another glorious day in progress. Enjoy. 🙂

  7. 18 afarawayhome

    incredible photos! it looks so vibrant and fresh, it’s hard to believe it’s ever different…

    • 19 hmunro

      As we say in Minnesota, “Ah, you betcha it’s different in the winter!” But one day at a time, and this day was perfect. Thank you for stopping by!

  8. cool blog!!

  9. 22 Jeff

    I thought mosquitoes was the third season up there 😉

    • 23 hmunro

      So you know a little something about Minnesota, do you? I’m not a native so I may be wrong, but I think mosquitoes are actually the official state bird …

  10. Thank you for those vibrant photos, H. You sent a little bit of perfect blue all the way around the world. Aren’t we lucky that our sky is blue, not some kind of soupy murk? Imagine if summer involved heat, but no light.

    Tell me, does Minnesota know when to expect its few summer days each year? Are they always the same days?

    • 25 hmunro

      We are indeed lucky our sky is blue, instead of some soupy murk. Though I suppose if we’d grown up with soupy murk maybe we’d find that beautiful too …

      As for when to expect those few summer days: in a word, no. No, we never know when (if!) they’ll arrive. Sometimes summer comes in May; other times in August. But I always welcome it, no matter how early or how late.

      • You’re right, of course: if soupy murk was what surrounded us, we’d find the beauty within it. And our art galleries would be full of Turners

        Your summers sound quite exciting in their fleeting, unexpectedness. Like catching sight of a kingfisher.

        • 27 hmunro

          Ha! I love that beautifully murky Turner you linked to. *Exactly.* You’ve also described our summers beautifully (including the part about the kingfisher, which I’ve been lucky to glimpse twice). I think our summers here are a wonderful metaphor for life, actually: Knowing how fleeting they are makes them all the more special.

  11. Minnesota may have just a small serving of summer days, but your pictures definitely made the most of it.

    I can’t get over it how gorgeous the “planned wilderness” looks! If we stop cutting the grass (and we do not even have a lawn….it is more like a meadow anyway), it does not look beautiful, more like someone is too lazy to mow.
    Do you know the name of the bright orange flowers? (It is not cone-flower, is it? 😉

    • 30 hmunro

      I agree with you about how gorgeous that “planned wilderness” is. And it supports so much wildlife too! It’s a pity that the ordinances in my city prohibit such plantings, though … perhaps because it’s difficult to distinguish an intentional prairie from an unkempt lawn? Sigh.

      As for those bright-orange flowers: I don’t know. But I will inquire. (Though I’m pretty sure they’re not cone-flowers … 😉

    • 31 hmunro

      Hi there! As promised, I’ve done some investigation into those gorgeous orange flowers. They’re a Minnesota native called “butterfly weed” (clearly, naming things is not a forte for us in Minnesota …). You can read about them here to your heart’s content:

  12. Wow such stunning photos, love the icicles!

  13. Never been to Minnesota but now I kind of want to go just to see if this hilarious post is true! 😉

    • 39 hmunro

      Ha ha! Like all good stories, my post benefits from maybe a dash of exaggeration — but just a dash. If you do ever head up this way let me know and I will gladly take you on a tour of my favorite spots. 🙂

  14. Lovely post. Being from Scotland I can relate to the one-day-of-summer event and I agree about spending it with friends. The photos are beautifully shot. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Looks gorgeous. I have never visited Minnesota, but may have to after seeing your photos. Though I think I will try to make it in summer if I can figure out how to avoid road construction season! Thanks for sharing your images.

    • 44 hmunro

      Oooh, please DO come for a visit, Joe! I would be delighted to show you some of my favorite places. Minnesota is truly a gorgeous state, though to my shame I don’t get out and explore it as often as I should …

  16. Would Carol share the public dock on the St. Croix river location? I have lived in Stillwater for 20+ years and would love to dangle my toes there! P.S. you and Carol should stop in!

    • 46 hmunro

      Hello Judy! My gosh … how have I not known all these years that you’re in Stillwater? I’ll definitely let you know next time I visit! As for that public dock … it’s right off of Hwy 95. It’s at the intersection of Hwy 95 and Pawnee Avenue N. So if you’re headed northbound on 95, away from Stillwater, Pawnee Ave will be on your left and the entrance to the public launch will be on your right. You’ll need to park at the top of the hill, near the entrance, and walk maybe 200 yards down to the river — but it’s paved, and an easy stroll, and SO WORTH IT. And if for some reason you can’t find it I’ll come down there are try to retrace Carol’s and my steps! 🙂

  17. 47 svbernstein

    Really neat blog. I like it!

  18. Love the picture with the bee! So talented! I’ve always wondered about Minnesota… everyone seems to really like it there.

    • 50 hmunro

      I can’t speak for everyone, but I do *love* Minnesota — in the summer. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  19. 51 sunloveraliciareg

    Absolutely beautiful pictures! We also have to to enjoy the rare summer days were get here in the UK. I try to spend as much time as I can out in nature when the sun is out 💗☘🌸 xx

    • 52 hmunro

      … hence the “sun lover” portion of your blog name, yes? 🙂 Thank you for gracing my blog with your bright, sunny comment, Alicia!

      • 53 sunloveraliciareg

        Yes! Ha! X you’re welcome Hun xx ps: Sorry for typo… Was meant to read “we” instead of were in case I confused you! X

  20. Summer is so fleeting, yet for a brief moment it makes me forget about winter altogether. Your beautiful pictures attest how colorful things can be around here, at least for a little while. Thanks for sharing them!

  21. Those are beautiful pictures and i can relate very well with because its summer everyday in my country Zambia! I don’t imagine how i can survive the snow winters. Thanks for the pictures!

    • 56 hmunro

      Zambia! Wow. I can’t imagine how it must be to live in a place where it’s always summer. But I would love to visit someday … I bet it’s beautiful. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    • 59 hmunro

      Me too. 🙂 Can’t beat a sunny summer day! Thank you for stopping by.

  22. 61 anduril42

    Hmm, in Oregon we have similar seasons: rain and road construction. 😛 Great photos!

    • 62 hmunro

      That’s probably why i fell in love with your beautiful state at first sight! 😉 Thank you so much for stopping by.

  23. Reblogged this on sunshine736 and commented:
    Ich mag das foto

  24. 66 alertecha

    This is literally my city as well! Here in Lahore all we have is Summers and construction. I would however like to replace the summer bit by winters. We barely have winter here.

    • 67 hmunro

      I don’t imagine you have much of a winter at all in Lahore! But I suppose that also means you don’t need all the thick winter coats we have to wear here in the northern U.S. I wonder what *that* would be like … 😉

      • 68 alertecha

        Thick winter coats are something we dream of honestly. People here adore winter fashion. It’s only the Northern Pakistan where we can live our dreams

  25. Here in the Philippines it feels like summer everyday because of the heat temperature. I wish I could experience winter and also Road construction season ahahahahahah LOL 🙂

  26. Spent 5 days in Minnesota a few days back and we loved it! A very beautiful place that we’ll be back to again.

    • 73 hmunro

      How wonderful to hear that you enjoyed your time in Minnesota! It really is a beautiful place — though, to my shame, sometimes I forget that or take it for granted. Well, we’ll welcome you back anytime. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      • Isn’t that the way it is though? So often I forget to look in my own backyard and it’s beauty because I’m looking to somewhere else and it’s perceived beauty.

  27. Beautiful. I’m in the midst of writing about our two seasons here in Laredo, Texas – Summer and FaWiSp.

  28. one day of summer? wow!

  29. 80 lyrasdreams

    Life looks so magical from the camera, its surreal.

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