Nothing Could Have Prepared Me For This Day

Today’s Facebook ‘wall’ is plastered with various news blips on the topic of the cuts happening here in Alberta. I’ve made those posts.  But, rather than deleting them, I’m going to take a moment to consider what this day has actually been and been about.  Only moments ago, I brushed my teeth.  I stepped out onto the back deck and looked up at the moon.  I am taking pause and thinking about my day…my actual day…not about that veneer, that public explosion that happens for us if we dig too deep into the chaos that is today in the news.

My morning began like this.

I sat down, with coffee, and pin pointed the Barrow in Furness address where Mary Eleanor Haddow, my great grandmother, was born in the early 1800s.  I then scrolled Instagram, up on the red couch, while stroking Max’s head redundantly for almost a half hour.  I dreamed about making one more trip to England so that I might visit such places and walk Blackfriar’s road and travel, again, to France to stand at my Great Grandfather’s resting place in Etaples and maybe even get myself to Ortona, Italy.

I went to my computer station, in order to print out this map and while cropping it, my sister and I exchanged a few messages with one another.  She sent me a photograph of her and her three pup companions and I sent her a photograph of me and Max.  I love yous were shared.

I decided that Max’s injury had been quiet enough for a few days that I would take him to the river.  The air was so mild and the light, so beautiful.  We took our time; it was more a stroll than a walk, but it was so incredible.I really felt huge gratitude as the day opened up to me.

I dropped Max back to the car and then went for a last look to see if I could sight any of the coyotes.  I spotted several deer across the river, but no coyotes.  And then, the magic of friendship was enjoyed, as I saw Jeff making his observations along the pathway.  As is pretty usual, we ended up talking about cameras and such.  Today I learned about the Polaroid Cube and the Zoom Audio Recorder.

Lunch consisted of a lovely little Greek Salad at home.

After doing just a few things around the house and checking in on all things political (lol), I made a quick stop at the Dollarama Store to pick up some small canvas boards.  I felt a need to paint some poppies with my grandson before Remembrance Day.  There was a bit of a wait for him to wake up from his nap, so over two cups of hot tea, I had a nice visit with Linda and Erin.

Then, this.

I decided to stop at the river, again, on my way home, just to see if I could make any eagle sightings.  At the edge of the Bow, everything  was wildly alive, although the colour was muted which contributed to the magic of everything.  A loud cacophony of sound filled the air as hundreds of Canada Geese found their way to the river.  I was overcome.  And there, in the midst of the geese, one eagle flew assertively in and out of their crowds.  It was amazing.  I managed to capture a brief moment.  But, let’s face it,  no images were going to be focused because the light just wasn’t there.  I didn’t know what to do with my feelings about the scope and beauty in that moment, so as has become habit, I snapped photographs.

I spotted brilliant white southeast on the river, and so, took a quick peek through my camera’s viewfinder to identify the white birds and happily discovered the presence of Swans or Snow Geese, interspersed with the Canada Geese.  A quick and fuzzy snap and I was off and rushing to the location where I enjoyed watching them making their disappearance around the point and onto the river.  Darkness was settling over everything, apart from soft pink directly west.  I headed back.

 

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I saw Doug and Shirley Anne’s car, stopped, opened my window and together, we marveled at the wonder we had just seen.  The three of us felt very blessed and it was just so nice to know that I had shared the magic with friends.

Upon my return home, my son and I headed out to the Saigon Royal Restaurant for a steaming pot of Jasmine Tea and a big bowl of Pho.  I started watching for a text message from my Dad who, I knew, was on the road from Ottawa to Belleville, earlier in the day.  He promised he would text, but I convinced myself that he would struggle with that as per usual and that he is well and safe and enjoying the traditions of the Mistletoe Market this weekend.

At home, Max and I walked the neighbourhood circle and then James and I watched some cop shows on his big screen.

Just a short while ago, I stepped out on the deck and snapped a few photographs of the moon.  While I didn’t capture them, there were three soft rings of colour surrounding her tonight.  Those colours and the lovely still air remind me of the beauty that is ours.  I am grateful.  And one never knows what a single day might bring.

Facebook Profile Updates

Three days now, I’ve been deactivated on the most popular social media website since sliced bread.  I document my father’s music in the hours I might have wasted on early mornings, while drinking my coffee.  I listen to Chris de Burgh music on Youtube as background, while reading Al Purdy poetry.  His words make me weep at times.  I would have posted that on Facebook.

I imagine filling in that small space…I don’t even remember what the prompt was?  Say something about yourself…or what you are doing…what came to be known as a status update.

I would probably post a link to this post.  As a way of weening myself from the process, I thought to update my status here…what would I say?

July 5, 2016  A dark cloud fell upon me when, from no where, a friend invited me to go chase dark clouds.  He parked his car across the street and magically appeared when I needed a friend.

July 6, 2016 My hair was dirty, so I didn’t join my girlfriends for a night of listening to live music.  I didn’t paint at Rumble House, again.  I read Al Purdy poetry and used a sock as a place-saver.

July 7, 2016 I feel sad that I’m seeing the changes in the pond, all on my own, and that no one else sees exactly what I see.  Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow are trying to raise another family in the neighbour’s vent.  I relent and put seed in the feeder that I had pulled out of service because of the growing population of voles.  But, now, with the children’s incessant cry for sustenance, I give in.

July 10, 2016 What does it mean that I have 13 hits on my blog from Macau SAR China, today?  Some times these connections, through writing, just surprise me.

Yesterday’s photographs…documentation of train graffiti, imagining that the artist would want to know where his art had traveled.

I like that the red-winged black bird made it into this shot…

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It’s been wonderful to see the great Cormorants coming through.  They are closer to the river…this, a lone female.

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Mama Savannah Sparrow watching out for her young sprout…IMG_9226

Youngster…sitting a short distance from Mom…about half her size.

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My partner in crime.IMG_9208

A herd of 20 geese, four adults and the rest, progeny, slip into the water as Max and I tippy toe through the goose poo.IMG_9204

The Train Visits the Pond 10:00 – 11:30

Walking the very same path each day, in order to document the atmosphere surrounding a single Dogwood bush at a pond’s edge, for a year, gives me the opportunity to observe what happens in nature; and on the flip side, it causes me to notice what’s happening outside of the changes in the natural world.

Bush February 16, 2016 1056 beauty, warmth, time

If I do a morning visit, say between 10 and 11:30,  I get to wave to the train.  Max barks and runs excitedly.  I stand still as it passes because the markings on the bellies of each car, inevitably cause me to wonder.  I know that graffiti can really annoy people, especially if it appears on historical sites.  That annoys me also.  But, given mobility, I think it’s interesting to think about the personalities that lie on the other end of the marks.  I wonder about the place, time and character behind each tag.  I wonder about the journey that the text has taken.  In fact, I wonder so much that I will likely research some of them.  Life is learning, right?  I’ve got a lifetime of wondering ahead of me.

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Today, I decided to just snap away as the train went by…loud roar on the tracks…bells serving as warnings for the city pedestrians, down the line a short distance.  I have some favourites in this series.  Finding a neat song to play at the same time…just a sec.

 

 

Meeting Steve

My daughter and son-in-law have spoken for a long time about this wonderful cat sitter they employ while taking trips out of town.  His name is Steve.

Well, something I’ve found to be really ‘good’ for my heart is knowing that Max-man is getting one really GOOD walk each day.So, I went to the Red Rover Pet Care website and decided to ask Steve if he had time in his day to meet with Max. Servicing clients in the south, Steve said, “Yes,” and this experience has been amazing for Max and for me.

I treasure my connection with Max.  Typically, we share wonderful times twice a day exploring nature and being outdoors in every type of weather.  It’s been a huge frustration to let go of that connection. Unable to be off leash due to his knee injury, Steve gives Max an athletic walk on leash each day and returns after an hour with a very happy border collie!  Knowing that your dog-friend is well cared for eases frustration and brings peace of mind.  I have learned that if a friend is injured, I can support them by caring for their dog-friends.

These photos were snapped after speaking the words, “Max, Steve is coming.”  Other dog-walkers for Max’s second walk these last many days…I appreciate you with all of my heart…Cayley, James, Erin and Doug.

Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 010 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 009 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 007 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 005 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 003 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 001If you are looking for quality care for your pets and you are living way out in these southern ‘burbs…Kim and Steve are the people for you!

Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 012 cropped Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 011-croppedAn hour long walk…and ten minutes later.

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Foot Rest

Foot Rest 1I felt myself falling in slow motion. Over I went and my foot remained in the hole, while my body flung over that way…to the right. I heard a sound as though a thick elastic band had just hit a wall. I looked up. The dog walker twenty feet from me walked past, hitching her brown and white collie to her lead. I was looking up from a funny angle. Max was sitting at my head, tied tight by umbilical lead. I wondered about moving. My hip was hurting. Slowly, I pulled my foot from the hole. The guy on the bike flew past me.

It was a great day to be a crow!

Housebound for so long, it was a wonderful thing to get out on to the ridge today with Max.The world was our oyster and there was no one else out walking at that particular time of day.

Amazing stuff to be observed and enjoyed.  There were no fewer than twenty large crows, known here, as common ravens, dive bombing one another and hanging on the strong winds of today.  Every third crow seemed to be clutching a mouse in its claws or chomping down on a mouse dangling from its beak.  It was such evidence of the warp and weft of life’s experiences…such tragic sadness combined with utter jubilation.  They tag-teamed one another, twisting and contorting in the wind to wrestle the mice out of one another’s control.

At one point, one of the mice was dropped directly in front of us in the snow.  Its lifeless body confronted me with the concrete reality of the natural spin of nature…as long as it was swinging from the mouth of a raven, it was just a silhouette against the grey sky, a toy, a trifle.

Immediately, the powerful bird swung down to recover its prize.  Max took a brave and almost aggressive stance, barking and leaping at the big bird until it hovered just a couple of feet above Max’s head, determined to assert itself over the mad dog.  I stood motionless, watching, amazed, when all of a sudden Max cowered low to the ground, looking up at the aggressive chattering crow in tremendous fear.  I ran ahead with Max following, but the crow pursued us, continuing to manage its balance and distance above the center of Max’s body.  Max’s eyes flared, the whites of them twisted toward the sky, his neck churned around in exasperation.  Finally, after some time, the waiting bird, angled and made its return to the mouse.

As we continued on our walk, the numbers of crows continued to grow, a line of tumblers on the air…a single hawk joining them, but immediately stalked by three and four of the black birds at a time.  The wind pushed hard against my body!  Max ran, barking for no reason, the hair on his face pushed back against his head…a streamlined bullet running against the powerful wind.  Below, in the shelter of the hill, the same dance was happening, but instead of common ravens, the magpies were ditching out of the branches of shrubs again and again, celebrating the slightly warmer temperatures and the feast of field mice that had also come out of the state of frigid waiting into a lively world of stronger and weaker and unburied vegetation.

Gratitude to photographer, Christopher Martin for the use of his image of a Common Raven in the wintry months.  You can enjoy much more of his work here…I’ve admired his images of a home I know so well, for a long time!

Common Raven: Photo Credit Christopher Martin Jasper Fall Wildlife Workshop

Common Raven: Photo Credit Christopher Martin Jasper Fall Wildlife Workshop

Going to Seed

It is an amazing thing how quickly the textures found on a particular pathway change as the season progresses…same place, just completely transformed!

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It is early yet…it is hot…but the changes occurring in the hills, speak of a bigger change that will come inevitably.

The Harvest Moon

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.

So people can’t sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!’ and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.

Ted Hughes
Pods, hanging in circles on the stem….if you know what this is, please help me identify it.

Happy Birthday, My Beautiful Daughter!

Alright…it just might be that I won’t have the chance to give my sweet child a birthday hug today!  However, I WAS able to hook up with her auntie…picked up a drive-through McDonald’s  ‘seniors’ coffee (my FIRST seniors ANYTHING and a big purchase at 82 cents a cup…joking) and then headed for the ridge for a romp in the wind!  An awesome time sharing a few memories and so much gratitude!

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert

 

More of Autumn: An Afternoon Given to Walking and Light and Wonder

Looking West From the Top of Campbell Hill

Amazing Texture and Movement

More On Looking Up

 And finally….a self portrait. 

Forever Wishing for a 'Real' Photographer's Autumn Interpretation of My Pooch & Me