These photos were taken at Gregoire Lake, a provincial park not far from the city that offers beautiful trails through the woods and an opportunity to swim in the lake or simply sit on the beach on a warm summer’s day. Many use it to fish either from the shore or in boats. It was a haven I feared may be lost when wildfires swept through the area in 2016. In these times of great uncertainty, I am often reminded of the fear, stress, and worry of those days. The city was evacuated and we spent a month not knowing what the future held. Of course, we never really did know what the future held in store, not then not now, but have to have faith despite the cries that tell us the sky is falling. When all is said and done and we one day look back on these pandemic days it is my hope that we too, though perhaps somewhat scorched, will stand as tall and as fully alive as the pines and birch trees in Gregoire Park that survived the fire.
I leave you with a few quotes on autumn and nature as we move into winter, with its own brand of beauty.
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.” – Richard Bach
We went for a drive this morning and I dragged along my big canon rebel, you know, just in case. It was such a thrill to see a hare, a wolverine, which is part of the weasel family, and a tree full of red polls. I wasn’t able to capture the rabbit, it was just too quick and the photos of the birds are not the best. However, I wanted to share a few I managed to capture of the wolverine.
As you can see we’ve had a bit of snow already in these parts. Here in town it’s pretty much gone again, but these were taken outside the city where there was a bit more. I am not looking forward to winter, but maybe with a bit of luck I will get snow shoes so I can walk the trails more easily. If it means catching sight of the local wildlife, I’m willing to brave the cold.
The weather network said we’d have rain all day. They were wrong and I am so not ready for this. But I was happy to see my camera caught the action:
I know it won’t last long, first snow never does but it’s still coming down hard out there. I mean, will the children be out making snowmen this afternoon? I refuse to dig out winter boots and parkas just yet. Still, there is a bit of magic around the first snow.
Yesterday I dropped hubby off for his dialysis treatment then went to the grocery store for a couple of things. I bought these flowers to decorate the table for Thanksgiving. Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a world where such color exists and we can have beautiful flowers on the table, even while snow covers the earth?
I hope all my family and friends enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend. And may we all recognize the blessings that flow into our lives and give thanks for them.
One of my all-time favorite songs is It’s a Wonderful World by the great Louis Armstrong. Every morning waking up to the beauty of this good earth how can I not feel it is anything but wonderful world? There is so much beauty in every nook and corner of the planet. Yes, this pandemic weighs heavy at times, but when we go outside nature is always there to provide balm for the spirit. I hope you will find balm for your soul in this week’s offerings. We won’t be going anywhere today but I hope you enjoy the wonderful beauty right here at or near my home.
“Mirth is like a flash of lightening, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” – Joseph Addison
“You see, I had been riding with the storm clouds, and had come to earth as rain, and it was drought I had killed with the power that the Six Grandfathers gave me.” – Black Elk
“When I began to listen to poetry, it’s when I began to listen to the stones, and I began to listen to what the clouds had to say, and I began to listen to others. And I think, most importantly for all of us, then you begin to learn to listen to the soul, the soul of yourself in here, which is also the soul of everyone else.” – Joy Harjo
“Ah, Hope! What would life be, stripped of thy encouraging smiles, that teach us to look behind the dark clouds of today, for the golden beams that are to gild the morrow.” – Susanna Moodie
“Never lose hope. The darkest clouds precede the loveliest rain!” – Avijeet Das
“At the entrance, my bare feet on the dirt floor, here gusts of heat, at my back, white clouds. I stare and stare. It seems I was called for this: to glorify things just because they are.” – Czeslaw Milosz
“Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.” – Regina Butt
“Only he shakes the heavens and from its treasure takes out the winds. He joins the waters and the clouds and produces the rain. Only he realizes miracles permanently.” – Michael Servetus
“I think I will be able to, in the end, rise above the clouds and climb the stairs to Heaven, and I will look down on my beautiful life.” – Yayoi Kusama
“Religion is among the most beautiful and most natural of all things – that religion that ‘sees God in clouds and hears him in the wind,’ which endows every object of sense with a living soul, which finds in the system of nature whatever is holy, mysterious, and venerable, and inspires the bosom with sentiments of awe and veneration.” – William Godwin
“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” – St. Augustine
“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther
I think we all feel like we are deep in a dark valley, hemmed in on all sides as this pandemic continues to cause much anxiety, sickness and death. I invite you to come to the mountains, one of the Creator’s great miracles. I pray you will find a renewed sense of wonder, peace, and renewal.
“Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace.” – Janice Anderson
Thank you for coming with me to the mountains. These photos were captured by my talented daughter, Kelly Hopkins, and I am grateful to her for granting me the honor of sharing them here. May your Sunday bring you serenity and peace.
Some days it just does not pay to go for a walk. It’s been raining here a lot this month. Rain is in the forecast again for every day this week. Enough already! But yesterday was beautiful and this morning dawned lovely and bright. So, I decided to make use of the nice weather while I could and went for a walk along the riverbank. I’d decided to go to a trail I haven’t walked in almost a year, but wanted to be near the river (that was a big mistake). I left the trail and climbed down the bank to walk along the shore of the river. That was fine and I made it without mishap. On the way back I once again climbed the bank up to the trail and fell in the muddy and very wet grass. The grass is very long there. I was soaked! Mud all over me! To make matters worst, the air was thick with humidity and the mosquitoes fierce. And just when I was almost to the top of the bank I fell again. Now my shoes were soaked as were my jeans. My hands and forearms covered in much and nowhere to rinse it off. Good times. And the nippers left many itchy spots. The best part of the morning was meeting Naya (her name means little sister), a husky cross. Her owner told me she is also part wolf. She came out of the woods just as I reached my car. What a sweet doggie, very friendly. I had a brief chat with her owner before climbing into my car to go home and shower. Silver linings. And my sweet Callie-cat was happy to welcome me home, despite the mud. Aw, unconditional love!
Have a nice, mud-free, day my friends. I am going to try to find something to take the itch away from these bites.
In 2016 wildfires forced the evacuation of this city where I live. We were so blessed to spend the month of evacuation in the town of Sylvan lake, a small town located at the halfway point between Calgary and Edmonton. I hope you enjoy these photos from our stay there.
We lived with many unknowns during the evacuation. It was stressful in many ways, but being able to walk the shores of Sylvan Lake and experiencing the kindnesses of the people of this small town helped tremendously. I hope that these photos lend themselves well to creating a small bit of serenity to your day. Be well. Be blessed. Be safe.
I enjoyed watching this little guys the other day. He was quite busy gathering something off the ground in the parking lot. I have no idea what it is – perhaps nesting materials? It didn’t look to be anything edible. Wildlife in the city, gotta love it!
These photos were taken over the past few years between Fort McMurray and Edmonton. Alberta has many beautiful places. There is lots of rural farmland as well as hills and mountains with lakes and rivers carved into the land.