Serenity Sunday: Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada

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.

From sunrise to sunset the lake is a beautiful place to be
Is there anything more serene than time spent at (or on) the water?
The marina at Sylvan Lake
Beautiful paths along the shoreline
Stairs provided from street level to the the beach
Downtown Sylvan Lake
resting places are provided
A boat at anchor on Sylvan Lake
We spent many hours walking along the shore and I often had my camera in hand
These benches provide a wonderful view of the lake

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.

Rainy days and Mondays…

It’s been raining a fair bit this past week, so much so the pond in the green space behind our building has flooded again. Sigh. I just want to get out on the trails for a nice long walk, but I know the trails will be soggy and I do not own any rubber boots. I snapped a photo to show the difference a few days of rain makes.

A view on most days …before the rain
Overflow of water fills the area around the pond after a few days of rain

I know rain is good, but after the long winter and a spring that was slow taking hold, it would be nice to see sunshine for a while. I guess the ducks and geese are happy though. So, that’s something. I keep looking for baby ducks but so far without success. If they had any they are keeping them well hidden in the reeds. Can’t blame them, a lot of people walk their dogs around the pond, many let their animals off the leash despite signage to the opposite. I guess if I were a duck I would not trust my young to be safe with canines on the loose either.

At any rate, this is life here today. How are you doing in your neck of the woods?

Serenity Sunday:At home

Today is Mothers’ Day. It will be a different Mothers’ Day for all of us wishing to be near the women who have blessed our lives. Today I won’t be taking you on any far away tours but I invite you to enjoy the beauty that I see here at home. And I wish all you who are Mothers, all who nurture life, whether you wear the banner of “Mom” or not, a joyous day filled with beauty and love.

From the moment of sunrise, may you feel the warmth of the sun’s rays
Whether you face the eye of the storm
Or are filled with hope after the storm
may the beauty and blessings of this earth fill you with joy and wellbeing
Until after the sun sets and you lay your body down to rest
I wish you the blessings of peace and contentment

Happy Days are here and now, not in some “after things go back to normal” future. I wish you happiness, joy, peace. and all that is life-giving, all that is good.

The need for solitude, even in the midst of a pandemic

I feel for the extroverts. The social butterflies. You know the ones. The people who really need to be with other people, to connect regularly. I don’t think I’m an extrovert, but neither am I fully introverted either. But, I do like my solitude. I need it as much as I need food and water. Like everyone else I have had good days and not so good days through all of this isolation. This past week has been extra stressful with the flooding in our city; the worry about family members who live in the flood zone and the necessity of having to travel out of town for hubby’s dialysis treatments. We have to go again tomorrow. The worst is trying to remember to pack everything we might need. We stay overnight in Lac La Biche as the dialysis can be very hard on him. At any rate, this morning I woke up with a tension/sinus headache. There are so many things to deal with that it just overwhelms me sometimes. We are fortunate to live in an apt. building that overlooks a green space with a small pond. So, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head and bust up the stress that’s been mounting throughout the week. I am glad I did. I took a slow stroll around the pond watching the ducks. As I walked around the small grove of trees I stopped to listen to the chickadees and red-winged black birds that were singing. There were not many people around and it was a joy to just be; to quiet my mind and commune with nature for a bit. It is a beautifully calm and sunny day here today and I am counting my blessings as I write this. I hope you who are reading this are finding positive ways to cope with the stress of this pandemic. I hope you are well and keeping safe. I will leave you with this photo from our balcony and with my sincere wishes for many blessings for whatever you may need today.

Taken August 2019 after heavy rains

The blessings of birds

The blessings of birds are many from their importance to ecosystems to the joys they bring with their songs. Here is another installment of photographs to help cheer your day. As always I am grateful to Kathy Marche, the photographer and the soul with a big heart. Thanks again, Kathy.

American Goldfinch – Kathy Marche photo

American Redstart – Photo by Kathy Marche

Black-backed Woodpecker – Kathy Marche photo
Black-bellied Plover – Photo by Kathy Marche
Cedar Waxwing – Kathy Marche photo
Common Yellowthroat – photo by Kathy Marche
Downy Woodpecker – Kathy Marche photo
Golden-crowned Kinglet – Kathy Marche photo
Hairy Woodpecker – photo by Kathy Marche
Kildeer – photo by Kathy Marche
Lincoln Sparrow – Kathy Marche photo

Northern Three-toed Woodpecker – Kathy Marche photo
Olive-sided Flycatcher – Kathy Marche photo
Pine Grosbeak – Kathy Marche photo

If you ever visit the province of Newfoundland & Labrador you may want to take a walk on the many trails through the woods – you’ll be glad you did!

Spring: Just around the corner

A friend and nature enthusiast has graciously agreed to allow me to use her photographs on my blog. Kathy Marche lives on the West coast of the island of Newfoundland. An avid bird watcher, she has captured wonderful images of our feathered friends. With spring just around the corner it is nice to anticipate the return of migratory birds. Here are a few of Kathy’s photographs taken in various locales near her home.

Black-throated Green Warbler Photo by Kathy Marche
Mourning Warbler; Kathy Marche photograph
Wilson’s Warber; Photo by Kathy Marche
Yellow Warbler was making a nest; Photo: Kathy Marche
Black and White Warbler – photo by Kathy Marche
Another shot of a Black and White Warbler – Kathy Marche photographer
Yellow-rumped Warbler; photo by Kathy Marche
“Whatcha looking at?” Yellow-rumped Warbler – photo by Kathy Marche
Feeding time – a Yellow-rumped Warbler – Kathy Marche photographer

My sincere thanks to Kathy for allowing me to use her photographs. There are many more to come. Kathy treks the nature trails as well as the highways and byways and takes beautiful photos of nature and winged creatures of every kind. I hope you have enjoyed this brief interlude and break from winter. It is a cold day in February, but looking at these photos helps me remember spring will soon be here… thank goodness!

Birth of a Sunflower

peeking sunflower

Deep within your green folds you grow

Developing, stretching toward the sun that warms you

Slowly you peek out at the August sky

Not quite ready yet to make your debut

Sneaking furtive glances at the sun

For whom you are named

And like the earth itself you follow the sun

Reaching on green stalk toward the warmth

Of your namesake in the sky

Even before you burst forth in all your glory

we wait in joyful hope

Anticipating your beauty

Your wide girth

And brown centre

That provides a subtle base

To your golden petals

Soon, soon