Serenity Sunday: Gregoire Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada

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.

Gregoire Lake in Gregoire Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada
One of many ponds alongside the highway, this one is not far from the community of Anzac
Paved road way through Gregoire Park
I aimed my camera to the left at the edge of the lake, to the right trees were burnt and the vista hurt my heart, I am so grateful for all that was saved
A mix of dead and burned trees along with those that were miraculously untouched by the flames
A beautiful autumn day in the park
Blackened trees still standing alongside their more fortunate neighbors
“There’s got to be a morning after” a song by Maureen McGovern that played in my head often during those days, and is playing there once again. There will be a morning after, even if we cannot envision what it may look like.
Is there anything more perfect than a walk through the woods or along a lake shore in autumn?
Docks on the lake in Gregoire Provincial Park, AB, Canada I am so grateful that though the park was not untouched, the fire fighters managed to save the vast majority of it.

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

Wonderful Wildlife or Pop goes the weasel

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.

I think this guy must be a youngster. I don’t know but it was such a thrill to see.
Loping through the snow, possibly hunting the rabbit
He was moving pretty quickly
and away into the woods he goes

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.

Serenity Sunday: Shoal Point, on the Port au Port Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador

Shoal Point is a strip of land jutting out into Port au Port Bay, not far from the small community of Boswarlos in Newfoundland. Except for the few fishing huts there is no evidence of habitation. I took these photographs in the fall of 2010. Shoal Point is mainly bog but fishers continue to use the area to ply their trade and many local residents enjoy riding a quad to visit the point. If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of a moose out on the bog. At one time an oil rig stood at the outermost point of land. I confess to feeling great relief that oil companies never exploited the area, even though oil was found there. The oil rig that once stood on the point was an exploratory venture only. shoal Point is a great place to watch sea birds and water fowl as well as pods of porpoise and sometimes pothead whales.

I hope you will enjoy these photos of the area and gain a sense of how this land has been used and enjoyed for millennia. I have included a short video at the end of my post of the kissing rocks off the shore of the Port au Port Peninsula.

Driving along the highway enroute to Boswarlos we drive through the community of Agathuna, a little further along we come to the quarry which once promised a bright future for the area
Known locally as “Barn Hill” at the bottom of which lays the Agathuna Quarry
Lobster pots are stacked in wait for the next lobster season
One of just a few fishing cabins on Shoal Point
A dory sits in wait for another day of work, taken in the community of Mainland on the Port au Port Peninsula
A small trawler at work out on Port au Port Bay
In preparation for the winter’s cold, logs for fire wood are stacked and ready
Vibrant vegetation in the fields surrounding Shoal Point
One of several huge boulders that provide a place to sit and gaze out to sea
Old pallets a.k.a. skids form a make shift walkway across the swamp at Shoal Point
“Red sky at night, Sailors delight ….Red sky in morning, Sailors take warning”
The hill across Port au Port Bay from Boswarlos is known as Pine Tree

I am so not ready for this

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:

Early morning surprise
Hey, Mother Nature, it’s Thanksgiving weekend, not Christmas!

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?

Giving thanks for the beauty and the bounty this good earth provides

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

It is thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Sadly we won’t be hosting a dinner this year. Covid really sucks, but I am thankful we are all still here and will look forward to future family dinners for nothing lasts forever, not even covid (though sometimes it feels that way). Here are a few photos of the beautiful fall colors that remind us life is not all dark!

Serenity Sunday: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

It has been a long time since we visited Gros Morne. I don’t know if I have words to describe what a moving experience it was. There is something about being in the mountains with the sea in the distance that is so uplifting and inspiring. I have long wished to share this beautiful place. Unfortunately I have few photos of this magical place, and those are not a very good quality. The landscape is so ancient within the Long Range Mountains and badlands earning it the designation of UNESCO world heritage site. I remember what pride I felt when it was assigned this classification. I am so very grateful to my friend, Selah Robb, who gave me permission to share her photographs here. Although no photographs can take in the full grandeur that is Gros Morne, these images will give a taste of what this park offers. I hope you enjoy them.

taken from the summit
although it may seem to be nothing more than hills, from the highway the mountains reach into the skies
Not for the faint of heart, but for people who enjoy tramping the byways Gros Morne offers spectacular views
Fijords snake through the mountains

I am including a video from YouTube to help give a sense of this place:

Ducks and Fall

Ever since the spring I have been watching a small brood of ducklings grow. I have become rather invested in them and their well-being. During the self-enforced isolation through this pandemic it has been a daily joy to see them. Fall is here with its garment of vibrant colors and soon the birds will migrate. I hope they make it safely to their warmer home. Yesterday was a beautiful fall day (back to rain today) so I took a short walk out to the pond to say my farewells to these feathered friends. I will miss seeing them.

Handsome fellow
Two of the four ducklings born and hatched near the pond
Bottoms up
as the golden hues crawl slowly through the greenery reminding us fall is here
Love the fall colors

Serenity Sunday: Port aux Basques, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

Back to the island! Port aux Basques is situated on the southwestern coast of the island of Newfoundland and is the main point of entry when traveling by vehicle. It is a beautiful port city with a small population of approximately four thousand people. As you drive North from the ferry onto the Trans-Canada highway you will reach a section called the “wreckhouse”, near Codroy Valley. Truckers are well-advised to check with Transport Canada for wind advisories before docking at Port aux Basques as the winds in the wreckhouse can be incredibly strong and have, on occasion, flung fully loaded trucks off the road and into the ditch! I hope you will enjoy my photos of the Long Range Mountains and the sunset near Port aux Basques.

On the road to Port aux Basques
a perfect day for the drive with blue skies and green hills
The Long Range Mountains stretch all along the west coast of the island
More hills the tail end of the Long Range Mountains
small shrub and bushes as well as spruce pine are common
the hills grow larger as we neared Port aux Basques
sunset over Port aux Basques
ponds and small lakes are common
Fresh water streams offer excellent and potable drinking water
Officially known as Twin Hills but aka locally as Mae West
Traveling North along the highway you are treated to ocean views on the left while the mountains soar into the skies on the right
The sun going down behind the hills in Port aux Basques

Serenity Sunday: Beauty of Nature

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.

On Canada Day in 2018 we were treated to a double rainbow. The colors were especially vibrant that day on July 1st

“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

The skies always amaze me, constantly changing with clouds that morph into various shapes in the blink of an eye

“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

I don’t know which is more beautiful to witness, dawn or sunset, both are so beautiful

“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

This was just one of many beautiful sunrises

“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

Sacred night, when the clouds separate and the moon shines down on the city

“Never lose hope. The darkest clouds precede the loveliest rain!” – Avijeet Das

Summer, season of long days and beautiful flowers….life seems to expand in summer

“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 beckons us to come to the water . . .

“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

Nature at it’s most dramatic …

 “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

Blue skies, smiling at me …

“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

A new day, a new dawn a sacred gift, always

 “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

Over the hills and among the trees, what new mystery awaits?

“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

No matter what storms may come, a new light will always break through

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther