R & R this Sunday afternoon

August has been a tumultuous month for us and I am so very weary. I don’t have much to post about but did want to share a couple of photographs of the gorgeous pink skies last evening. Alberta skies never fail to impress me – so beautiful!

Forecast was for thunder storms and rain, but we didn’t get either one
Zoomed in on all that spectacular pink!

Wherever you may live on this beautiful planet, I hope you get the chance to enjoy nature and all its gifts!

What do you see in the clouds?

As a child a favorite activity of mine was laying in the grass and watching the clouds and trying to see animals or people in their formations. Some time ago I was walking with the daughter of a friend of mine. We had a great conversation about clouds and played the game, what do you see in the clouds? It was great fun. I still love watching the skies. And, I still see things in them. Summertime is perfect for relaxing in a lawn chair and sky gazing. Here are a few photographs captured from the past week. What do you see?

Whether wispy, feathery clouds or dark and menacing, clouds fascinate me. They speak to my heart, to my soul, whispering poetry that could never be defined in words.

Apple Blossoms Beauty

You know it’s definitely spring when the pink blossoms flourish on the apple trees. It is a beautiful day here today. I wanted to share a small piece of it with you who have been so kind to visit my blog. I do love spring. The weather warms up, but not so hot as to make it uncomfortable. No need for air conditioners as yet. At least not here in Northern Alberta. It’s been an up and down week as far as temperatures go. Some parts of Canada have seen a late snow. In our neck of the woods we did see a few days of lower temps and rain, but no snow, thankfully. We needed the rain though. As I type this I can hear the red-winged blackbirds singing away around the pond in the green space behind the building. It’s lovely!

But I digress – apple blossoms, yes! In some areas of the city the streets are lined with crab apple trees which are beautiful in spring and feed the birds through the fall and winter. We were out and about and I captured a few photos – some in my son & daughter-in-law’s yard. I felt a little bit silly as I crept ninja-like down their driveway trying to steal up on birds visiting the feeders. Alas, there is a school yard right next to their house where children happened to be playing. Their noisy ruckus frightened the birds away so no matter how stealthy I tried to be the birds would fly off at the smallest sound. Lucky for me there was beauty to be found overhead in the apple trees….

one of many crab apple trees that line a street downtown
overhead at my son & daughter-in-laws home
the fushia blossoms were gorgeous against the blue skies
different shades of pink
driving to the small community of Draper, part of the city but still very rural so nice to have this area that is yet to be overrun with buildings and people
the Clearwater River, one of five that converge in the city

First long weekend of spring/summer 2021

It was a beautiful day for a drive in the country. One nice thing about living here in this city is that you don’t have far to go to enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few photos I managed to capture this morning:

Our first stop was at Gregoire Lake just outside town where I was treated to the bird song of this little sparrow
Gregoire Lake
So glad the ice is all gone, for this year at least
The boat ramp at Gregoire Lake (wish we had a boat)
Spring buds – signs of new life were everywhere
This little fellow was singing his heart out….scroll on, you’ll see
He was really quite loud – it was a joy to hear
expelling all that energy singing requires sustenance, it was time for a snack
Beaver dams are common all along the highway

Going with the flow in the Region of Wood Buffalo, Alberta

It’s that time of year again. It feels like spring, even though there’s still a couple of weeks before the official first day of spring. Here in the frozen north people look forward eagerly to the river break up. There will be cars lined up along the side of the road as people watch and listen for that first crack of ice. It symbolizes the official end of winter and buoys hope that warmer days are coming. There are five rivers that flow through the city. The two biggest are the Athabasca and the Clearwater rivers.

 The city is the oldest European settlement in the province of Alberta, dating from 1788. Prior to that the Beaver people and the Chipewyan Nation made this area their home. They were followed by the Mikisew Cree, Metis, the Dene, Fort McKay First Nation, among others.

Although the Region of Wood Buffalo is mainly known these days for the oil sands, it was a thriving economical area with fishing, logging, fur trading and salt production long before oil was extracted from the oil sands.  The area has known many ups and downs including the wild fires that swept through in 2016 and the once-in-a-century flooding of 2020, right on the heels of the sweeping pandemic.

Like the rivers that flow through the region the people here continue to go with the ebb and flow of the times, watching always for change and better times ahead.

A sculpture celebrating the past, present, and future of the area
looking forward to open waters as winter turns to spring
Frozen rivers mean cross-country skiing, skating, or ski-doo rides
Taiga-Nova, an industrial area of the city
Rivers and hills, a familiar backdrop all through the city
When rivers overflow their banks in a once in a century flood
Taken prior to the wildfires that swept through the area, this is one of my favorite views of the great Athabasca River which flows through a gold course and through the city of Fort McMurray

Misty Mountain Morning

Several years ago when we were still living in Newfoundland our son and his then fiancee came home for a visit. When they left the only flight available was at 4 a.m. That meant we had to be at the airport for 3 a.m., which was not easy as we lived an hour and a half away from the airport. We decided to spend the night at a Bed & Breakfast closer to the airport so we wouldn’t have to leave home in the wee hours. Early the next morning we hit the local Tim Horton’s. I mention it because it was one of the oddest visits to the coffee shop ever, bar none. As we drove up to the drive-through there were people ahead of us – on horseback!!!!! That was the start to a very different day. After taking them to the airport we headed home. The drive between Deer Lake and Stephenville is always beautiful with incredible scenery from the mountains in the Deer Lake and Corner Brook area to rivers, lakes, and ponds on each side of the highway. I am posting a few of the photographs I managed to capture in the early hours of that day. You will have to scroll to the very bottom to see one of my all-time favorite captures. I hope you will enjoy.

The Humber River flows into the harbour in Corner Brook
Mist hangs above the water in the dawning hours
the hills in the background are actually foothills, part of the Long Range Mountains that run along the West coast of the island of Newfoundland, Canada
Sunrise is always beautiful and the scenery tranquil
near Noel’s Pond, just outside of Stephenville, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
The sun shining through the mist over Noel’s Pond
Noel’s Pond is a popular summer-time getaway with many summer cabins along the shore
The view that morning was really spectacular. This is one of my absolute favorite captures, so surreal

Northern Lights: the blessing of frigid weather

Yesterday it was -36 Celsius and – 58 with the wind chill factored into it. That’s pretty freaking cold. Today is much the same. Life gets interesting when the thermometer dips so low. For one thing the exhaust from vehicles in front of you freezes in place, making driving even more challenging. On days like this we stay home, if at all possible. Today we have similar temperatures with a slight one degree drop lower. Yup, it’s cold. But the wonder of seeing the Northern Lights somewhat makes up for it. They really are a blessing on a frigidly cold night. So, last night I was out on the balcony to try to capture them. These photos do not do them justice at all, and it was so cold I could not stay outside to try to get better ones.

On the best nights the lights “dance” in the sky
I love the green hues, if the earth is white the skies were definitely displaying their beautiful green hues in the Norther Lights

I really wish I could have captured more, but my fingers were beginning to freeze after mere moments outside

Ice fog this morning, a rather eerie view, but pretty too

This morning we were treated to a thick ice fog. It’s not easy to really see in this photograph but it was very dense. Oh, the joys of living in the frozen North! Yet, though it is very, very cold I do enjoy the Northern Lights and the ice fog. That is, as long as I can stay comfortably ensconced at home.

Flowers: nature’s pop of color

“Minds are like flowers; they open only when the time is right.” – Stephen Richards

We are in the depths of winter. We’ve been very fortunate this year and it has been mostly mild with lots of sunny days. (Should I knock on wood lest I jinx it?) We went for a drive out into the country this morning. I was hoping to see a bit of wildlife but didn’t. Sigh. Yet, it was a beautiful sunny morning and we enjoyed the drive. Still, I will be glad to see a bit of color once again. The trees, except for the evergreens, are bare and snow covers pretty much everything. I do appreciate the beauty of winter. I really do, but already my soul is yearning for soft grass instead of ice or snow covered paths and the scent of flowers in the air. It will be at least another couple of months before we begin to see signs of spring. So, I took a stroll through seasons past and the vibrant colors everywhere. If, like me, you’re yearning for a bit of color in this white world please have a look at a few flowers I photographed in summers past:

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Indian Proverb

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.” – Lady Bird Johnson

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”

– Buddha

“The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition.” – Honore de Balzac

“The flowers take the tears of weeping night, and give them to the sun for the day’s delight.”

– Joseph S. Cotter, Sr

“It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important . . . People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Flowers knew how to preach divinity before men knew how to dissect and botanize them.” – H. N. Hudson

“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character.” – Lydia M. Child

Magical moments

I love the magical moments, the moments that engrave themselves on my mind imprinting so deeply that many years later I can take them out and appreciate them anew. I was up extra early this morning – 4 a.m. in fact. Don’t ask. At any rate, as I was up I decided to go out on our balcony to welcome this new day and received a blessing. Below me, under the tree in the back yard were two foxes. One was dark in color and the other was definitely a red fox. The darker colored fellow has been visiting intermittently for about a month. I tried a while back to capture an image of him without success. This morning was the first time seeing the red fox. There really is something moving, eloquent, and beautiful about seeing wildlife at any time but in the darkness of the night it seems especially magical. As I watched the red fox sat under the tree and I went inside to grab my phone and was able to capture a decent image of her. It’s not a particularly great image but I am grateful for it. I am hoping our visitors will return, not just to capture images of them, but for the magical moments they provide. Wherever you are and whatever is going on in your life at this time, I hope you recognize the blessings this day brings. I hope you experience many magical moments in life.

Red Fox brings a blessing

“I remembered the fox. One runs the risk of crying a bit if one allows oneself to be tamed.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Serenity Sunday: SNOW!!!!

Trail through the woods in winter, it’s so still and quiet, a sacred hush that calms my heart and makes me smile…..the earth sleeps covered in a soft quilt of white

“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.” – Vista M. Kelly

Marble Mountain, a ski resort not far from Corner Brook, Newfoundland & Labrador

“Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” – Henry David Thoreau

A chipmunk braves the cold to forage for food near the end of winter

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” – Aristotle

Long Range Mountains on the West Coast of the island, Newfoundland & Labrador

“With every falling flake, a unique spark falls from heaven” – P.Miller

I thought it was so cool to see this heart cut into the little mound of snow on a tree stump in the woods, caused by melting snow dripping from tree branches just above it. Nature is magical!

“Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.” – Kahlil Gibran

Stephenville, Newfoundland & Labrador

“There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on.” – Carol Rifka Brunt