Clinging to a Minnesota Spring

If I’m feeling really energetic, I walk the extra miles into our quaint little town of Afton, where I stroll through the local marina. Like the sedum in my perennial garden covered in leaves, the boats stored for the winter have emerged from their winter wrap. Scrubbed and buffed, they bob up and down in their slips ready to take family and friends for a cruise on the St. Croix River. Later I swing by Selma’s Ice Cream Parlor on the far end of the street. When I see the OPEN sign, I know it’s spring!

dettmann3Brief but memorable—a Minnesota spring.

Back home, I roam the perimeter of our beautiful, freshly mowed yard and inhale the warm air that carries spring’s scent of renewed hope and transformation. Blessed with lush spring rains and warm sunshine, I meander through the gardens filled with day lilies, hostas and sedum. The clematis, not yet in bloom, reaches for the sunshine beyond the top of the trellis as lush red tulip blossoms and vivid purple iris sway in the afternoon breeze. I sit on the bench by the memorial garden and gaze at the river in the distance. Memories of my parents, my husband, and others who are no longer with me flash through my mind. Their passing reminds me of the fleeting process of life.

Tulip(1)(1)Minnesota tulips.

I linger in the garden, knowing this beautiful spring will soon be replaced by the hot, humid days of summer, and all too soon followed by the chill of autumn. The perennials will go dormant and the migratory birds—like many of the neighbors—will escape to warmer climates. When the Minnesota winter storms arrive and subzero temperatures return, I’ll cling to the memories of this glorious spring as I trudge along the snow-covered roads in my snow gear, knowing that each step brings me back to the renewal of spring.


RELATED: “Minnesota, Colder Than Antarctica: Winter-Coping Tips from a Native





Diane Dettmann is the coauthor of Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants, a story about her grandparents’ settling in Embarrass, Minnesota in the 1920s, where they raised seven children during the Great Depression. In 2011, she released her own memoir, Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal. Her debut novel, Courageous Footsteps, about two teenagers and their parents imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during WWII, was published in June 2015. The sequel, Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph, will be released summer 2016. She has presented her books at local venues and international conferences in Finland and Canada. Diane lives in Afton, Minnesota.


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  • Salina Bujosa January 30, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Diane, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your essay! The pictures are very nice as well.

    • Diane Dettmann January 30, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Salina Bujosa, I’m so glad you enjoyed my spring essay. It’s winter in Minnesota now and I am SO looking forward to spring. I snapped the photos on my daily walks around the neighborhood. Thank you for the comment it made my day !

  • Diane Dettmann June 9, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Linda, so glad my essay carried you along and you enjoyed the journey! I guess it pays to take a mini-notebook on my daily walks and jot down the sights, sounds and smells as I experience them. Now I know how our students felt when their writing met or exceeded the standards. 🙂 Many thanks!

  • Linda Parker June 9, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Diane, I could feel myself walking along with you on your glorious spring sojourn. As alway I love the way you use specific details to “show not tell” the reader of your experience. This piece I’d definitely “above standard.” ?

  • Diane Dettmann June 9, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Sharon, I am so glad you enjoyed my essay and thank you so much for sharing your spring insights. The aroma of lilacs always connects me to memories of my mother and childhood spring days. I’ll keep you posted on the book and definitely will autograph a copy for you.

  • Sharon Cass June 8, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Enjoyed reading about your new essay Clinging to a Minnesota Spring I recall the Spring time too it was very beautiful and Cool, and smelling apple blossoms, lilacs, and see the beauty of life come about during this time of all was very amazing. Please let me know when the book is available and hope it would be autographed as well. Thank you Diane for sharing

    Sharon Cass a former classmate

    • Diane Dettmann January 30, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Sharon, just came across your comment on my spring essay. Sometimes I get behind. Thank you for your positive comments on the spring essay. My latest novel, Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph, is now available. You can find information on my website, Thanks for all your support!

  • Diane Dettmann June 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you so much Kathleen for reading the essay. Glad you enjoyed the it! The Minnesota winters make spring a very special season. 🙂

  • Kathleen Eddy June 8, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Love this essay, Diane. These are the reasons I love living in Minnesota too.

    • Diane Dettmann January 30, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Kathleen Eddy, I agree, I’m already counting the days to spring 2017!