I want to thank my friend, Kathy Marche, for allowing me to share her beautiful shots of chickadees, one of my favorite birds. Their song is so cheerful and so heartwarming. and watching them fly or hop about from limb to limb in the evergreens brings me joy. I think the thing I love most about chickadees is that they never abandon us but sing their little hearts out even in the dead of winter. I really love Kathy’s photos, I hope you enjoy them.

“The chickadee and nuthatch are more inspiring society than statesmen and philosophers, and we shall return to these last as to more vulgar companions.” – Henry David Thoreau

“We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it from its territory. But above them all ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.” – Tom Brown Jr

“But hopes are shy birds flying at a great distance seldom reached by the best of guns.”

– John James Audubon

“The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky.” – Jane Goodall

Let’s get the flock out of here

So, my friend, Kathy Marche has generously granted her nod for me to share more of her stellar photos. Life is rather grim in most parts of the world at the moment so I hope her photos will lift a spirit or two. Unfortunately the area where I live does not offer many opportunities to capture photos of birds. Unless you like ravens, there are tons of ravens around. They especially like to gather round when the trash bins are full to overflowing – does not make for a pretty picture though. Here’ a trio of feathered friends for you to enjoy.

A young male Downey Woodpecker photo credit Kathy Marche
Ruby-crowned Kinglet photo credit Kathy Marche
Chickadee photo credit Kathy Marche

I particularly love the chickadees. They are a constant throughout the year and even the coldest days do not keep them from singing their cheerful tunes.

More to come, stay tuned.

Serenity Sunday: Trees

I grew up in a rural area with lots of woods nearby. The woods were one of my favorite places to play. I still love walking on nature trails and being near trees. Since Christmas trees are so much a part of December in many areas of the world I thought it would be nice to celebrate trees. I hope you will enjoy.

“The trees encountered on a country stroll

Reveal a lot about the soul …

A culture is no better than its woods.” – W.H. Auden

Spring with all its beautiful green growth. This was taken in late May just as a rain storm was coming in.

“Trees give peace to the souls of men” – Nora Waln

Summer dress in leaves of green, taken in a park nearby

“He who plants a tree, plants a hope.” – Lucy Larcom

Even barren of their summer dress, trees lend beauty to this world

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” – Kahil Gibran

Late summer, this solitary beauty in a farmer’s field spoke to me

“A tree is our most intimate contact with nature” – George Nakashima

One of many nature trails in the city where I live

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

– Nelson Henderson

Cedar Waxwings in an apple tree in our front garden

“There is always music amongst the trees in the garden,

but our hearts must be very quiet to hear.” – Minnie Aumonier

Beauty in a darkened tree and in the skies above

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them,

whoever knows how to listen to them,

can learn the truth.” – Herman Hesse

Autumn with its vibrant array of color and golden hues

“Even if something is left undone,

everyone must take time to sit still

and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

December and the Christmas tree – this one from some years ago

“Some Christmas tree ornaments do more than glitter and glow,

they represent a gift of love given a long time ago.” – Tom Baker

I am returning to work this week and with Christmas quickly approaching I will be rather busy. I don’t think there will be time to blog – I hope there will be, but I don’t know. But as this year of challenges and struggles winds down I wanted to leave you with this one last quote:

“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.” – Taylor Caldwell

I thank all the people who read my blog and who have been so supportive throughout the year. I thank you for helping me feel part of a community – an online community, but filled with some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. Serenity Sunday may be adjourned until some point in the New Year but I will be stopping by, yes indeed. Take care of yourselves, and remember you are not alone!

Serenity Sunday: For the Birds

I captured these photos a few years ago when this beautiful pine grosbeak was visiting a tree in the yard to eat the remaining berries. It was an overcast day but the red berries combined with the red bird made for such wonderful images that I wanted to share them with you. So, while we won’t be traveling anywhere this week, I hope you enjoy these photographs, and, perhaps, take your own ‘flights’ of fancy. (Forgive the pun)

“Be like the bird who, passing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.” – Victor Hugo

“I don’t ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful.” – Pete Hamil

“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers” – Suzy Kaesem

“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark” – Rabindranath Tagore

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

Serenity Sunday: Beauty

I won’t be taking you anywhere again this week. There is a lot going on in life at the moment. But, I did want to share a couple of photos of a mother robin who made her nest in my neighbor’s flower box in the spring of 2018. Yes, I know it’s fall (in our part of the world, anyway). I hope this photo will bring a smile to your face and peace to your heart.

A lesson in trust
Seen from my window every day until the hatchings fledged

Wherever you are, I hope you find serenity in this day. Wishing you all an abundance of blessings. Cheers!

Serenity Sunday: Focus on peace

I am doing something a little bit different this week. Instead of taking you on a virtual tour this week’s offering is a combination of quotes and prayers on peace and tranquility along with photos I’ve taken in (of) nature. I hope you enjoy them, wishing you a day of blessings, a day of peace.

“Remember too that we can all throw ourselves a lifeline – not a deadline – by appreciating just how precious life really is in the present moment. Peaceful, enduring happiness right now.” – M.P. Neary

“Prayer is the voice of love that brings us internal peace, understanding, and the wisdom of how to share.” – Catherine Franz, Life is a Continuous Prayer

“It’s not the quiet ‘in’ the woods. Rather, it is the quiet ‘of’ the woods. Like the woods, I want it to be ‘of’ me. And I have found that few things can instill that in me like the woods can.”

– Craig D. Lounsbrough

“Silent is an anagram of listen” – Johnny Rich, The Human Script

“Why are we afraid of the silence that ensues after our death? Wasn’t it the same silence we endured before birth? Isn’t it the same silence we revel in when we are completely immersed in the present moment? Let us not be afraid.” – Kamand Kojouri

“Stress comes from the fear of the unknown; tranquility comes from accepting the unknown with love and joy.” – Debasish Mridha

“Peace brings with it so many positive emotions that it is worth aiming for in all circumstances.” – Estella Eliot

“I have recently been able to see the new world – the quiet, the tranquility and the freedom it will bring with it. This is very comforting knowledge for me because I already know that what I envision eventually becomes a reality.” – Shari Arison

“We must believe that there are places where tranquility exists and nature is given back her power to speak . . .”  – Nanette L. Avery

“The idea of starting each day with birdsong may sound overly romantic, but incorporating an element of peaceful ritual into our morning routine doesn’t have to be difficult.” – Linnea Dunne, Good mornings

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: