The Magestic Bald Eagle Takes a Bath!

I would typically do a little segment for the past week and title it ‘For the Birds’ featuring all of the birds I have observed for a week. But, after this evening’s observations at the Bow River,  I decided to make a post that does its best to capture a Bald Eagle taking a bath.  Again, I can’t promise crisp-edged images, but one thing is for certain, I have captured some pretty awesome facial expressions. Do Bald Eagles have faces? (likely heads…not faces…but, you’ll see what I mean)  Some little slide shows.  May 16, 2018

The mosquitoes were out and the electric blue wild violets were in bloom.


The river is moving fast and the water level is moving up.  Over the past two weeks, I’ve been taking photographs at a single spot along the shore and will use those over the coming days for comparison.

Here’s our Eagle…


A series of four…check out the fourth slide.  It makes me laugh so hard.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I consider it an honour to be able to spend so much time observing unlikely magic at the river.  I don’t take any of it for granted.  I’ll find a piece of music to play while the slide show runs.

My father’s birthday, May 14, 2018



What Do They Mean When They Talk About the Little Things?

I do NOT like first lines or titles that make use of the word, THEY, simply because THEY is intended to refer back to your subject in writing or speaking and in a title, it is obvious that the subject has not yet been introduced.  An English language arts teacher, along the way, suggested that the class write about ONE…as in, ONE never knows…or, ONE who reads, learns to write. I hope that my readers will forgive that I used THEY twice in my title…because sometimes it’s just the goal of a writer to find something ‘catchy’ in their titles.

I fell again…that’s twice now.  The first time a few weeks ago, was a slip on ice as I made my way to the entrance of a school where I was teaching.  I wiped out hard on my right side.  I had the sense that I was finally improving and unfortunately  took a flight of stairs the wrong way, just the day before yesterday.  I’m sitting here on a sofa pillow.  I won’t show you images of the contusions that are sitting on that pillow…but, here is the ‘shiner’ on my arm, that is incidentally also sitting on a sofa pillow to the left of the keyboard.

Bruised Arm New Years 2014As a result of these painful injuries paired with the horrible state of our winter weather and road conditions, I’ve been living the past couple of days differently.  I mean, not that I am not a huge proponent of noticing the little things; the magic, if-you-will; but I have been completely engaged in seeing and thinking about things I might not have otherwise.  I’ll give you a few examples.  It began last night.

P1140585 P1140586I almost felt as though I couldn’t breath…so anxious about the white world outside of my little nest…and the lack of human contact after the early morning departure of my beautiful daughter and her friend.  I had watched eight action adventure movies on Netflix in a matter of a day and a half.  I left the room only for sustenance and to let the dog out into the blowing snow in the back yard.  Some time around eleven o’clock last night, I had had enough…bundled up in winter clothing over my pajamas (I just realized I’ve been spelling pajamas, pyjamas, my entire life and due to spell check, I’ve been put on the right track), put on Max’s collar…and out we forged into the back alley where the morning trash collection had assured us of wide trails for the walking.  I walked so SLOW…so cautiously…the entire way.  And I’ll just bet my readers know what I discovered along the way… YES!

The alley was lit up with magic!  Crystalline snow stretched out and sparkled…it was so fresh and so untouched.  It was silent apart from my own footsteps.  Max could be described as a dancing dog…he was so happy…charging and galloping…do dogs dance?  I found myself laughing out loud at his release…and mine.  It was the first step to noticing the little things.

After a fall, the pain seems to amplify over the coming days…true.  This morning, I chose this cup for my coffee.  I spent the time selecting it.  Vincent Van Gogh’s Vase and Irises, a splash of colour.  Briefly, I thought of my daughter, Cayley.  She would remember why.  The coffee, once it finished its gurgling, tasted so fantastic.

P1140590I spent some time thinking about animals today…feral cats…coyotes.  I thought about mice. I routinely fear the possibility that they might seek warmth in my studio.  Mid morning, two chickadees fed at the front yard feeder.  It is presently tucked slightly behind Al Gerritsen’s nativity scene, but every single day a few sad sparrows or these chickadees, visit. Their markings look more than exquisite…their movements quick and erratic.  Again and again, they nipped in for a quick bit of something and then off, to return shortly afterwards.  Max’s warm head…the hard bump of it…sat under my dangling hand, asking for connection.  He watched silently at the window.  I began counting the number of magpies perching in the tree branches across the inpassable road.  I thought about a children’s book that I’ve wanted to write for years now…a magpie that transforms throughout the telling of the story.  I counted nine magpies…their deep black tails hanging vertically and providing a huge contrast to all things white.

Two sets of mice tracks…across the great mound…to the base of my elm.

P1140599I wondered about the cat that had found its way up my snow-buried sidewalk…the tracks that stopped at a point and then, pure untouched snow to the base of my steps.  I wondered about the their abrupt ending and the fact that there were no exit tracks.  What had happened?  I began to imagine stories of a teletransported cat and then I imagined a violent end of some kind…What had happened here?

P1140594Earlier this evening, and likely the reason for writing this post, I thought about a program that I had watched with interest years ago.  I was remembering an episode with Oprah, as I washed my grapes in cold water at the sink.  I wondered why she said specifically, “If you want to lose weight, don’t eat anything past seven o’clock at night…NOT EVEN A GRAPE!”  It was 9:30 p.m at the time…and I decided not to break off a few grapes, but to eat as many as were left in the bag.

P1140605In summary…when one’s day is not consumed with all of the busy-ness…when one is free of over-scheduling and over-indulging, everything slows to a crawl and beauty surrounds. Little things…these are what ‘they’ mean when ‘they’ talk about the little things.

“A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world.” Susan Sontag (Thanks, Lorraine)

[Speech upon being awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade), Frankfurt Book Fair, October 12, 2003]”

Taking Notice

So, I had left the Jarvis Hall Fine Art Gallery and was walking back to my van parked some distance away.  The walk took me along some side streets.  That’s when I landed myself into the middle of one of those amazing moments…the kind when you say to yourself…”Wow…am I ever blessed!”  Autumn leaves were crunching under my feet.  Arms of giant trees reached up to a blue sky.  The air was filled up with the season.  I paused and took this picture.

P1130870I hope that when I look at this photograph, I will remember the magic of that moment of realization.

This morning, still dressed in my flannel nightgown, I looked out the windows and had the same experience, but over entirely different weather and situation.  I had slept in.  My head was filled with thoughts of what I ‘should’ be doing. Everything seemed to have been transformed over night.

I was profoundly touched, remembering the hours of pleasure I’ve enjoyed, watching the birds filling up ravenously at the feeder these past weeks.  Now, to see my little friends out in the snow, I wondered just how they manage to get through the winters.  I saw their beauty, as though for the first time.

P1130951 P1130941 P1130948

Some time later, Max and I headed out into the weather.  Remembering that I am living with a herding dog, I got him over to the pond for a good bit of exercise.  We were all alone. Everything was beautiful.  The ducks, dark boats on dark water…the sky white…the vegetation white…the wind, biting…the only sound, crunch of my feet on the stones and snow.  Max ran hard, playing and eating snow as we went.  I caught myself laughing out loud.

After circling the pond and heading back, I gave one big throw of his Frisbee and watched as the wind carried the thing up high, down past the tall ant hills and into the cat tails by the pond’s edge.  “Max!  Max!  No, boy…LEAVE IT!”  I saw the bull rushes moving and knew that my determined pooch was going to go into the pond, come hell or high water!  Sure enough, a very wet border collie came bounding toward me, proud as punch that he had retrieved the old and mucky toy.

We headed back to the van at lightening speed, Max carrying the muddied toy; both were icicles upon our arrival to the parking lot.  Into the kennel he flew, whining and whimpering.  I thought to myself…these are the daily occurrences that my readers rarely encounter on my blog…

I take pause and make note of that particular moment of realization.  Recently, what I’ve discovered, more than anything, is the blessing in the ordinary experiences of my days.  I am a blessed lady.

Beef Barley Soup...Always good for a wintry day.

Beef Barley Soup…Always good for a wintry day.

A New Earth: Book Talk

I have read most of Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Reading the book came out of a need through the Springtime.  Prior to that time, I thought that the life that I was creating was so satisfactory and that everything was ‘comfortable’ and relationships were ‘steadfast’.  Shortly thereafter, things came crashing down around me.  Out of that huge shift, I meditated/prayed/felt deeply and I decided that in order to move forward in a healthy way, I would need to have a huge commitment to awakening to a new way of BEING.  While I had already had a whole number of ‘stories’ of struggle and heartache in my life, I finally became CONNECTED in a negative way to this new story and felt a sense of hopelessness and could not see myself ever feeling whole again.

This book does not provide ‘the answer’, but it does provide a vehicle for my experience of personal growth.  I have decided, (since training a puppy interspersed with studio painting seems to be my summer-story), that intellectually/spiritually, I would explore my inner landscape and open to myself and whatever that landscape had to offer me.

My blog will be a place where I can explore the concepts that have been key along the way.  I will explore them in a general way here in this public forum, and will keep a personal journal of the specifics of how these concepts relate to my personal experience.  As I write, my puppy sleeps at my feet.  It is a wonderful respite!

This morning’s blog will hold just a couple of insights that I can apply from the reading of Chapter One. My individual fears, anger and doubts contribute to an overall collective in the world.  When I put out my fears, hurt and doubt into the world; my family, my circle of friends or even in a grocery line-up, I am contributing to a greater universal experience.  It is essential that I observe, that I DO have old stories in my head, but that I needn’t connect with those stories…but to observe them and accept them, without connection.  I will give these stories less energy if I consciously observe them…and what my mind is saying…but without identification.  Acceptance to the feelings is key, without thinking, analyzing and judging.