This was one of those great weekends that rewards Minnesotans for the vagaries of our four seasons. The temperatures were perfect, the humidity was low, bright sunshine dominated every day, we had little to do but go outside, and it seemed that nature was right on our doorstep.
Probably the best single part of the weekend was our family walk around the St. Olaf campus, which is, as Shannon said already, fantastically beautiful. Carleton pays the bills, but goodness gracious, those Lutherans can really set up an appealing campus. The wonderful Adirondack chairs! We're already planning to go back: grandparents, prepare yourselves.
Back at home, we were visited by a new neighbor, a lithe little ground squirrel that darts over our patio, pauses to assess opportunities for food, and then zooms off in another direction. It's a pretty cute animal, and apparently the inspiration for the U of M's Golden Gopher. It's somehow fitting that Goldie isn't actually a gopher.
Julia and I on Saturday and Julia, Genevieve, and I on Sunday also hit our favorite park. Both days, Julia ran a "race" that entailed about twenty circuits of a ladder/platform/ slide route; it did a great job of knocking her out for her nap. Sunday, Genevieve happily crawled all around the playground structure and even went down the slide with me - perhaps her first trip down a slide.
And each evening, I managed to get out into the excellent weather for workouts (3:21:33 altogether). Rollerskiing on Friday, I was accompanied by a red-tailed hawk that slowly tracked me for about five kilometers of my route before peeling off to find some mouse meat. Except for the raptor, I saw little on the roads except corn to the left of me and soybeans to the right of me. (Everybody must get grown!) But running in the Arb on Saturday, I saw a deer, scared up hundreds of locusts, and marveled at the oceans of shoulder-high black eyed susans. The daily, weekly, and monthly changes in the Arb are, honestly, exciting to experience. In May, a big chunk of my run crossed a restored prairie that was black and barren after a controlled burn. Saturday, that same path was almost a tunnel, with eight-foot grasses towering over me, and this overhead.