First fires then a pandemic and now floods. Please tell me this is it

Its been a rough few days. It’s only Thursday but it feels like forever since the Athabasca river overflowed and came inland. On Monday the ice jam was 25km long, it is now 13km long. That’s a lot of ice! But it is dissolving slowly and the waters are receding, so that’s good news. The bad news is that many people who had finally moved into newly rebuilt homes that they lost to the fires have lost them again to the flood. It puts things into perspective. Hubby and I have been inconvenienced. We have to make the three hour drive out of town for his dialysis, but we still have a home. Unfortunately this situation may last another week. Yet we are able to rent a motel room in this lovely little community of Lac La Biche and it’s a very comfortable room. My brother continues to wait for news concerning his house and whether or not it sustained damage. The whole downtown core was flooded out. Around 13 thousand people had to be evacuate. My daughter and her boyfriend were also among them. And the adventures continue.

The biggest challenge has been maintaining social distancing and isolation. My brother and sister in law had to go stay with a granddaughter, whom they had not spent time with since the lockdown. I imagine there are many in similar situations.

And so I am asking for prayers for our city as we continue to cope with these often overwhelming challenges.

More trials and tribulations for Fort Mac

Every year in Fort McMurray the ice breaks on the rivers that criss-cross the city. Most years it’s not a problem. Unfortunately this year it’s a problem – a big problem. The Mayor has asked the federal government to send in the military to help. Scenes of flooded streets and news of mandatory evacuations have filled my social media feeds. We live in an area of town that is not affected by this newest dilemma. Unfortunately my daughter as well as my brother and his family live downtown where the flooding is bad. Certain low-lying areas have already been evacuated. My family members have bags packed in preparation, just to be on the safe side. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but there is a distinct possibility. Pictures my daughter sent me show water encroaching on her street. It’s a worry. We cannot get to her as the highway that leads downtown has been temporarily closed to traffic.

I had been wondering about this. As spring gets underway so too does the annual natural disaster season. Tornadoes in the south, and flooding everywhere on the continent are not unusual fare at this time of year. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough of a challenge in and of itself! Below is a video of the flooding, it really is amazing what water can do.

There are five rivers that flow through the city. They are the Athabasca, Clearwater, Horse, Christina, and Hangingstone Rivers. There is also a waterway called The Syne which is used for float plane take offs and landings amongst other things.

The city has been facing the challenges of the pandemic as well as being hit hard by the downturn in the oil industry, which has hit the town hard economically. And now this. So, I ask for prayers and positive thoughts for this city I call home.

Down by the pond the ducks have returned, a nice surprise

I was so excited to see a pair of common golden eyed ducks in the pond a few days ago. Unfortunately by the time I went down to try to get better photographs they had disappeared. They came back today!

The black and white one is an adult male, the one with the brown head is a female

The little devils started swimming away and I had to walk around to the opposite side of the pond to get more shots. They’re pretty hardy creatures, the pond still has a fair bit of ice.
Couldn’t resist grabbing a shot of a Raven in the grass as I walked around the pond.
Apparently the golden eyed duck breeds in boreal forest areas, which is where the city is located: smack dab in the middle of a boreal woods.
I guess you can tell we’ve come to the end of this “tail”.

Serenity Sunday: Port Harmon in Stephenville, NL, Canada

My daughter-in-law sent me a Newfoundland classic for supper today: cod and potatoes with drawn butter. It made me think of back home, the place where I was born and raised. I live in Alberta now and there is much to love about this place that I now call home. Still, I get reminiscing about the island I still love. I do miss the ocean with its constant changes and moods. These were taken at Port Harmon, the deep port in Bay St. George, and part of the town of Stephenville on the island’s west coast.

This anchor has sat at the harbour for many, many years. I remember my Dad taking us to Port Harmon to see the ships docked there. This anchor looms large in my memories.
We could see these limestone cliffs across the bay in Port au Port, where I grew up. The stone is quite light and shimmers in the sun.
Driftwood of all sizes line the beaches
A long stone jetty reaches out into the bay at little Port Harmon
There is beauty as the seaside, even in the foggiest weather
I loved walking along the rocky beach and listening to the waves crash ashore
The power of the ocean waters can uproot trees along the seashore, especially where erosion takes place
I really wanted to drag this piece home for the yard. It had such interesting form.
Small fishing boats come into harbour with their loads of fish, shrimp, crab, lobster and more…nothing like fresh seafood!
Right before a storm, the skies were a rich variety of hues of blue and grey – it was amazing to see and to hear the waves crashing upon the beach. Nature is so awesome to witness….
While the skies were darkening quickly in one direction, looking the other way it was almost serene in its beauty and majesty
Where the sky meets the sea there is always, always magic

Small disappointments, but hope prevails

I was so excited to catch sight of a pair of Common Goldeneye Ducks down on the pond last evening. It’s a sure sign of spring and I had been looking forward to their return. I snapped off a couple of photographs from our balcony, unfortunately they’re not the best quality as I was soooo excited to see them.

Hearty pair of Common Goldeneye visiting the pond, even with ice still in evidence, one had dived under water, looking for food, perhaps?

I went out for a walk around the pond this morning to see if I could get better shots, alas I was disappointed – they were nowhere to be seen. But they may have been hiding in the long grasses and bulrushes that surround the pond.

Bits of ice and snow on the pond, but the weather is warm today so hopefully it will all be melted by day’s end.

However, I did chance upon a raven having a chat with his friend the magpie:

I think Raven was throwing his head back and laughing at something Magpie had told him

I am hopeful of seeing the ducks return again. Last week I saw a pair of Canada Geese flying overhead so spring is definitely underway and I am grateful. It’s been a long winter!

To sing a triumph song once more

For on the morrow we shall rise

And know again that life goes on

Despite the actions of the few

That imperil and cause such strife

The questions fade, it matters not

We’ll pick up the pieces and carry on

Never forgetting the price once paid

When ignorance married arrogance,

That set the world on edge,

and filled each and every human heart

with anxiety.

Deepest hurts we’ll tend and heal

With gentle touch and love most real

The stress and worry once endured

Shall tumble down like twigs and sticks

Caught in rushing waters

Anguish and pain, likewise caught,

Shall float away upon the rivers of time

Carried, carried, far away

Until at last we stand again on steady legs,

With bodies strong,

With sturdy minds and hearts aglow,

With clear eyes and ears attuned

To hear the whispers and the roar

Of a world singing triumph songs

Once more

Earth Day 2020

In the midst of a pandemic all reports are that while people are self isolating the earth is breathing more easily and, hopefully, healing. I hope that wherever you live you are able to appreciate the beauty and the blessings of our little blue planet. These are photographs that I took in 2014 just outside Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada, in the small community of Noel’s Pond.

It was around 5 a.m. as we were driving along the West coast of the island of Newfoundland. Mists hovered above the waters of Noel’s Pond as the sun was rising. It was so breathtakingly beautiful and I can still see it in my mind’s eye.
Noel’s Pond is situated just outside Stephenville, NL. Canada.