Yes, it is cold in Minnesota right now. Even here we admit it is cold when the temperature is below zero but we look for the beauty and fascination of these times.
On Friday evening a warm front moved through Minnesota, only to be quickly conquered on Saturday by a severe cold front. Such a rapid shift is always marked by high winds. Late Saturday afternoon, when the winds were 40-50 miles per hour, my wife and I took one of our granddaughters down to a spot on the Mississippi just east of town. In February and March of each year there is a Grand Convention of bald eagles that we wanted to share with her.
We weren’t sure we’d see any eagles at all because we thought the wind would likely cause them to huddle in the forests. Instead we watched 30-40 eagles playing in the air, hovering, turning to let the wind push them, dipping and climbing, all without flapping their wings at all. And in the roughest part of the choppy river, more than a hundred baffle head ducks would fly upstream a hundred yards, then let the wind and current push them downstream so that they could repeat the cycle over and over again. Into the little cove at one side of the river, mallards were zipping in at over sixty milers per hour, looking like miniature F-16s.
Cold, turbulent, miserable winds? Or just nature giving her birds a chance to play and show off their amazing skills?
Yesterday Char and I took our granddaughter back to Mom and Dad and headed up here to Big Trout Lake in northern Minnesota. Our lodge is toasty warm and we’ve spent today in a flurry of activity: reading, napping, reading, napping. For a thrill we opened the door to the deck and threw out a cup of hot water to watch it turn instantly to steam. In the morning, when it is back to twenty below, we’ll try it again and watch the water turning instantly into ice crystals.
Boy, do we Minnesota birds and people know how to have fun or what? I wish you were here. I’d let you have your own cup of water to toss into the air.