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

Driftwood


I have always found driftwood to be magical, somehow. When I pick up a piece I like to imagine where it may have been, what shores it may have visited before the ever-moving tides carry them off to new beaches on new lands. I have picked up many pieces over the years and each one carries me away, sometimes to other points in time, other places, other cultures. Driftwood holds secrets mere humans can never know and yet in their gnarled and sea-roughened state will speak to our souls, if we’re listening.

Below are a few photos I captured of driftwood I found interesting:

“I imagined your stick, washing in the waves for hundreds of years, turning to driftwood, smooth and hard like stone. I imagined a little girl finding it on a beach so many years later. Saving it on her shelf, where she put the things that made her feel like the world was magical.” – Ava Delora

“Each person seemed to have a destination, but Val was a piece of driftwood, spinning down a river, not even sure in what direction she was moving. But she knew how to make herself spin faster.” – Holly Black

“Sometimes when I think of life, I feel like a piece of driftwood washed up on shore.” – Haruki Murakami

“Everything was God; as God is total, so the driftwood branch was holy. This must be the stuff religion is made of.” – George Leonard

“Yet in the blood of man there is a tide, an old sea-current rather, that is somehow akin to the twilight, which brings him rumours of beauty from however far away, as driftwood is found at sea from islands not yet discovered; and this spring-tide or current that visits the blood of man comes from the fabulous quarter of his lineage, the old; it takes him out to the woodlands, out to the hills; he listens to ancient song.” – Lord Dunsany, The Book of Wonder

“Most inspirational writers were born as driftwood and will say they have been beaten against every shoreline during their life. We understand storms. We understand drowning. We understand being devalued. We understand being stranded alone on a beach. God made us this way so we would know every lighthouse can be found and tell others how to find them. We were never meant to stand on a beach with you because every rescue we do rescues ourselves. We always go back to the sea because that is where driftwood belongs – forever searching for answers to our endless questions and sharing what we learned” – Shannon L. Alder (2012 Writer’s Conference)

“It was at the outskirts of the world that Old Things accumulated, like driftwood around the edges of the sea.” – T.H. White, The Troll

“Across the lonely beach we flit,

One little sandpiper and I;

And fast I gather, bit by bit,

The scattered driftwood, bleached and dry.

The wild waves reach for it,

The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,

As up and down the beach we flit –

One little sandpiper and I”

  • Celia Thaxton

“I find no symmetry in my being

As I find myself awash

Nay! Abandoned nor marooned.

The soul shall carve my destiny

As I shed my driftwood thoughts

A sea of possibilities beckon me

A frigate bird flies over me

As I navigate my course

Beyond twilight zones”

  • Avinash Mantri

This last one is my very favorite piece, looking, as it does to me anyway, like some ancient creature that just crawled out of the depths of the ocean, it’s many legs carrying it lumbering across the sand, searching, searching, for what? I do not know.

I did use filters to add depth and clarity to these pieces, which to me are magical; surreal, almost. I hope you enjoyed your visit and I thank you for dropping by.

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

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

Chickadees


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.

Our Winter Wonderland


There really is something magical about winter. Snow and ice can be challenging, but oh my, to gaze in wonder at a snow covered tree does something to my soul. I cannot imagine living anywhere else on earth and even though I do my fair share of complaining (some would say more than my fair share haha) about the cold I am happy and so blessed to live in the “great white north”.

Winterscape

It is as if nature herself decorates my well-loved woods with paint of white lovingly applied. I am grateful to live in this place that honors nature and understands humankind’s need for “wild” places, even in the midst of an urban area.

Near the Birchwood Trail that crosses the city where I live

I consider myself so blessed, so fortunate to live in this city that makes sure its citizens can enjoy the great outdoors all year long with trails that well kept for skiing, snow-shoeing or hiking through the woods. Both these photos were taken at night and I love how the snow reflects the evening light.

I have nothing more to add. I simply wanted to share this winter beauty with you all. Cheers!

In lieu of Serenity Sunday


I don’t have a lot to offer today. It’s been a busy week. I am officially back to work just in time for the government to lock down the province – well sort of. It was a mixed bag of regulations, but all service-type businesses such as hair salons have been forced to close their doors, libraries too. However, although the library where I work is closed to the public, we will be doing contact less pick-ups once again

At any rate, it’s been a busy week, as I’m sure it has been for many. Last weekend we took a little drive out into the countryside. I had hoped to see wildlife but all we managed to see was a few birds, and, since we were driving the speed limit (80 km/hr) we were going too fast for me to capture them. It was a beautiful calm and sunny morning. Here’s a taste of what we did see:

The sun was in our eyes as we headed out, making it difficult to see at times, but I enjoyed the warmth on my face through the windshield.
The moon had yet to set and it was cool to see it through the branches of this tree.

Wherever you happen to live on this good earth, I hope you’re doing well and staying safe. I know this has been a VERY challenging year and I know there are further challenges yet to come. So, please, take good care of yourself. Stay well and healthy!

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!