There’s about an hour in the morning just after sunrise and an hour in evening just before sunset where the sunlight is especially golden. This is the golden hour, or as I prefer, magic hour. Here in Minnesota we really only get it in the spring, summer and autumn – while we do get it in the winter, it’s a lot less noticeable because the sun is low on the horizon all day.
Last night we had a good rain, but the clouds cleared just a bit along the horizon at magic hour and it made for some really beautiful light. Everything seemed to glow against the dark skies. It reminded me that there truly is magic in this world if you open your eyes to look for it.
I started this week off with a case of, well, frankly, I don’t know what it was. A virus of some sort, the kind that gives you a nasty headache, vertigo, nausea and exhaustion. It forced me to slow down, and this slowing down let me tap into my creativity a bit more. I ultimately got more done creatively than I’ve been getting done on a weekly basis, in part because I couldn’t run around doing errands and in part because thinking hurt, so over thinking was out of the question. I’ve always heard that getting sick is the body’s way of telling me I’m doing too much. I apparently need that reminder a lot.
Yesterday I took a walk on the street that I live on, but I walked on the other side. That little action of crossing the street provided me with a whole new world to photograph. All it took was a small change of perspective for me to see the world in a whole new way. I found a beautiful flowering tree, a little stand of dandelions and a really quaint alley that I probably shouldn’t have been in (I think it was private property, oops!). These were all things I’d walked past many times before but never bothered to pay attention to. All I had to do was to slow down and open my eyes to a new perspective.
When I was little I loved the rain. I loved how dark the sky would get during a thunderstorm, and the way lightning would cut across the evening sky. I loved the rumbling of thunder as I fell asleep at night. Even in college I loved the rain. We used to wear rain jackets with shorts and flip-flops and hang out in the rain, beers in hand. I loved the smell of rain, and the way it would fill the forest near my dormitory. And I loved the quiet after a good, hard rain, when the birds chirping would be the only sound in the woods.
But then I got a job and an apartment in the city, and had to take the subway to work. I would walk in my suit or dress pants and heels to the subway, umbrella in hand, and then wait on the sweltering platform with all the other wet riders on their way to work. We’d pack into a wet subway car, no one wanting to sit as umbrellas and rain jackets covered the seats with water. Then back out into the rain, the wind turning my umbrella inside out and soaking me head to toe. There was one day when I got to the subway entrance and found out that the tunnels had flooded and that I would have to walk to work, 89th street to Midtown, in a downpour. It wasn’t long before I started to hate the rain.
In the last few months, however, I’ve learned to love the rain again. Rain means springtime, the end of the long hard winters I’ve gotten used to here in Minnesota. It also means flowers, moss, and green leaves. Minneapolis has enough foliage that the after-rain smell that I loved when I was younger is back, along with the dark and varied skies I remember from childhood. Rain reminds me of the old adage, that the bad allows you to appreciate the good in life. Rain allows me to appreciate the sunny days, the warm days, the flowers and trees, a soft breeze on my face. It reminds me that dark days mean brighter days are on the horizon, and good things are on their way.
Almost every Spring I place an order for at least a couple pairs of Reef Ginger sandals. I’m a bit of a flip-flop junkie and would spend the entire summer in these comfy beach shoes if I could. (and maybe someday I will!) While I have a variety of different brands and styles the Reef Ginger are still my favorites. The sole seems to have just the right mix of support and give to make them really comfortable, and they don’t have that floppy, smack-you-back feeling that some styles have. They come in a variety of different strap and sole colors to match any outfit. I prefer those with black soles as they show less dirt so I can wear them anywhere. They’re also really easy to clean, and are affordable at only $20 per pair.
Reef sandals are available through a variety of retailers, but I usually order mine from US Outdoor. They always have a good selection in stock and I’ve had no issues placing or receiving my order. I would love to tell you about their customer service, but I’ve never had to contact them!
Last week Thursday and Friday were beautiful days here, sunny and in the 80s. On Friday I headed down to Lake Calhoun with my camera and watched the tall grass near the water blowing in the soft breeze, the buoys bobbing up and down gently in the water and the little children playing on the swings near the beach. But it was this dandelion that I passed on my way back from the lake that I found the most inspiring. It had planted itself in the tiny amount of dirt between the sidewalk and the retaining wall of the adjacent house and had succeeded in sending up not one but two flowers so early in the season, even though we’re really low on rain this spring. We call them weeds, and we look down on them, working to root them out of our yards, frowning on their ability to disrupt our plans for perfect lawns and sidewalks. But I have to admire their tenacity and persistence. They persevere in the harshest conditions and are never afraid of disrupting the status quo. Their little yellow faces shine right back into the face of adversity. Yes, this is exactly the kind of inspiration I need right now.
Note: This is a cropped version of the photo I took that day. You can see the full photo on Flickr.