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It has been a cool and wet few days in Calgary, even to the point where we received a skiff of snow in September!  I was cautioned that I had no room remaining on my cell phone, so yesterday I downloaded from my album onto my desktop hard drive.  The thing about downloaded photographs is that I was, once again, reminded that life has sped by, filled to the brim, even in the most simple or dark circumstances.  There is so much that I haven’t written about or recorded.

I’ve read several books since spring and would really like to update my reviews, even if they are sparse.  So, that will likely still happen.  But, for today, I feel my thoughts are incredibly influenced by the book I am presently reading, H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.  It is my new favourite book.  I am profoundly moved by it and I’m hanging on every word.

As a result of this reading, I want to post a few photographs from recent walks at the Bow River.  Yesterday, Max and I headed out in the rain.

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When the earth is wet, there is such a rich and beautiful aroma that surrounds me while passing through the woods and beside the river.  I am at a loss for words to describe this because any description would not do the experience justice.  Also, there is a hush, apart from the drops of rain coming down from the tree canopy…it is a mystical silence…peaceful, even though I know that the entire landscape is vibrating with life in hiding.

Yesterday, stepping about in tall overgrowth, Max and I took pause…listened.  I heard a hollow clomping sound on round river stone, just to our right.  Uncertain, we remained still.  I held my breath and listened.  Max was alert.  I was alert.  A few more steps.  Stop.  A few more. Stop.  When once we began again, with a great explosion, a young deer sprung out and wildly flew deep into the trees.  Max erupted into a fit of barking and it felt like everything around us woke up!

I watched the juvenile Bald Eagle, an Osprey, a Hawk, Cormorants and Pelicans all struggle to find sustenance.  It was so amazing to watch the dynamic and to appreciate the effort involved.  At a point, the Bald Eagle, displaying his remarkable wingspan, swooped down upon an American Pelican.  He is not yet adept at his hunting and is frequently cutting corners by having others do his work for him.  Similarly, he dove into a gathering of Cormorants, investigating the possibility that there might be food among the opportunists.

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The Osprey, tucked secretly in the dark shadows of trees, swooped out aggressively, in order to give chase to the Hawk…crying out desperately as he flew so fast that I couldn’t identify him.  He had shared the east side of the river with me for a while, tearing into the hedges and thick shrubs and sage, likely in pursuit of rabbits and other small animals.  There was never a chance to get a good photograph.

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The Bald Eagle juvenile was looking intently from his low perch,  at these Killdeer…there were scores of them across the river from me.  If you’ve heard a single Killdeer, you may understand why the Bald Eagle is drawn to a location where twenty…maybe thirty…are calling out.

Can you spot two in the photograph below?

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Can you spot the Osprey here?

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I have watched the eagles for a little over a year now…given Michael’s prompting to leave the pond during the rip and tear of the Southwest Ring Road development.  I am so grateful for the life I have been able to observe at this location and for the healing experience this daily walk has begun in me.  As I write this post, I am feeling very blessed for a whole lot of reasons.  I hope that if my readers feel sometimes that life, like a sweater, is unraveling, one source of divine life and love can be found in an intimate relationship with nature.  I know that it’s helped me.  Here are a few other moments with the raptors this year.

 

 

I have been blessed by my walks at the river this weekend…I keep saying to myself, through winter, I don’t want to forget the purple.  I don’t want to forget the gold and red.  I will carry it with me.

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What a Difference a Day Makes!

At the pond today, I wondered about the fragility in nature.  Only yesterday afternoon, I was admiring the reflections of the clouds in water.

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Today, the clouds were ominous and pounding rain drove down in the SE from eleven o’clock in the morning and on into late afternoon.  The two Ruddy ducklings are all that seemed to have hatched.  I have no idea what happens to the population of eggs as tended by all of the other Ruddy partners that edge the pond.  Are they all lost?

I captured a marvelous series of a red finch feasting on one of the plants…the red was very intense, given that the bird honestly seemed to be soaked through.  I’ve taken some photographs of the edge of the pond to show it’s evolution over the past week…if my readers look at the cat tails, they will get a good idea of how high the water is today.

IMG_9574IMG_9576Mr. is trying to find a place to hide.  There are no fewer than 15 male and 15 female Ruddy Ducks that edge the pond.  Only one female has been seen the past week, with two little guys and they are successfully diving and having a grand time, even through all of this unreasonable amount of rain.IMG_9578Mrs. with soccer ball.  It’s atrocious, now that the water level is so high, just how much human waste and plastic floats on the water.  It made me sad today.IMG_9579

This is the Grebe nest as it appeared today.  I’ve posted several photographs of this nest this past spring.  The other nest, on the opposite side of the pond, is completely submerged today.IMG_9582

Well…the rain brought these two around again today.  I’ve never had my camera with me when I’ve spotted them and while these aren’t great photographs because of the conditions, I’m glad I have them documented.

Black-necked Stilt (Recurvirostridae)
Himantopus mexicanus
L: 14″

This is a very distinctive black and white shorebird. It has a long, thin black bill and either pink or red legs and feet. This bird is common in the marsh environment.

IMG_9584IMG_9585IMG_9589IMG_9597Here is one female Ruddy Duck with her offspring.  These two youngsters are so much fun to watch because already, they make wonderful divers!IMG_9604IMG_9607

His feathers, plastered against his body, I could not help but document the process this male House Finch went through to pull apart segments of this plant.  Surprisingly, he wasn’t concerned about my presence and just worked feverishly.IMG_9616IMG_9621IMG_9627IMG_9629IMG_9638

Site occupied by another of the Coot families and the successfully hatched Ruddy Ducks.  Much plastic floating on this corner of the pond.IMG_9643

The cat tails are submerged, as is the rock shoulder of the pond.  The bush that I have documented since October 13 is partially submerged in water.IMG_9646IMG_9647

This wee one feels water logged and exhausted.  IMG_9649IMG_9661

Female Ruddy Duck on the north edge of the pond.IMG_9666

Wet Birds, Wet Dogs and Wieners and Beans

I’ve had such a beautiful day.  I just stepped in from an awesome dog walk along the south east ridge overlooking the irrigation canal, the Bow River and the city smothered in rain and cloud.  Leaving my glasses in the van, by the end of the hike, my skin was cool and wet.  If Max could laugh, he would be laughing…the way he ran and explored sort of said it all.

Back at home, I cooked up a lunch like Mom would have put on for us on days like this, wieners and beans, with a piece of toast on the side.  I miss her so much today…but feel her comfort in everything that I see or experience.  I’m grateful for her love that transcends everything.  I’m grateful for the glory in rain.

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Morning Sketch #3: September 11 and The Flood

It’s strange that I landed on this page in the book, De Ark Van Noach, illustrated by Rien Poortvliet…today, on the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York.  It was a fifteen minute sketch, not particularly accurate and a bit of a study on grey.  The greys of the piece done by Poortvliet are warm. Mine are cool.

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To Grow

Human Growth

“The hardest step of all human growth may well be that from the child’s dependence on and aggression towards its parents, to a friendship and dialogue with them, which recognizes their grace and gifts.”

Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, p. 236

Thank you, dear Hollee!

Old Stepstone: Cold Speck

Oh, ’tis sad to be parted from those that we love
Strange faces we see every day
Each heart string of mine is broken in time
When I think of those dear ones at home

Goodbye dear old stepstone, goodbye to my home
God bless those I leave with a sigh
I’ll cherish fond memories when I’m far away
To roam o’er this wide world alone

I stood on my doorstep one evening and morn
The wind whispered by with a moan
The fields may be whitening, but I will be gone
To roam o’er this wide world alone

Goodbye dear old stepstone, goodbye to my home
God bless those I leave with a sigh
I’ll cherish fond memories when I’m far away
To roam o’er this wide world alone

And I stood on my doorstep when school time was o’er
And I wished for the time to go by
Now it has passed, and I stand here tonight
To bid this old stepstone goodbye

Goodbye dear old stepstone, goodbye to my home
God bless those I leave with a sigh
I’ll cherish fond memories when I’m far away
To roam o’er this wide world alone
To roam o’er this wide world alone

Breath: Fragments

When I went outside

Maple leaves,
thick textured clumps on dark boughs,
bathed in sunlight
blew
and suddenly looking up, my face was wet,
surprised.

And then I knew
the trees were raining.

Warm shirt sleeve, arm reaching for
Forehead, eyes, cheeks.
Again and again, drips dropping.

There hadn’t been any air to breath
all day.

The blue sky still somehow
boomed in the distance,
weather traveling,
as quickly as it had come.
And looking down at my feet, I
was left with this.

Breath.
The cast shadows of trees
bright cement,
making light dark light dark light dark
lines on the sidewalk.
What was chirping?
Cool air and blue sky.
Wet grass on ankles.
Grace.

©Kathleen Moors 2011

The Box Garden by Carol Shields

There was a patter of rain on the roof late last night after I had turned in.  It has rained every night since coming to the cottage, but contrary to what one might think, it has become a welcome and calming sound…the rain and wind. By morning the sea breezes have dried the generous circle of deck and I step out, with arms wide open, thinking that yet again, I am queen for the day!

I pull the three homemade quilts up close to my chest.  I fluff and organize against the wooden headboard, my four pillows, their covers neatly edged with stitchery of one kind or another.  The sheets and pillows both feel like cool soft butter.

There is a warm light emitted from the lamp at my bedside and I read until I finish A Box Garden by Carol Shields.  Charleen is not the best of protagonists for me.  Carol Shields was a master of character-writing, but I fall in love with Charleen’s mother.  There is nothing better for women-readers than a Shields novel, even when less-widely read.  Given my present setting, the feeling of this place and the fact that I was holding in my hands a yellowed second hand book…and read it in one evening, just contributes to how well I will remember and love the book.  Sometimes what makes a book glorious is as much the experience of the book-reading as the story itself.

I love Brother Adam of the Priory…the one who writes the letters to Charleen.  I like that he writes to her and I like that he sends her the box garden.  I don’t like him so much for who he has been or becomes, but because of his love for grass growing, the great and wondrous expanse of green and what it does for the spirit.  Grass is used also in Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.  I remember and continue to treasure those chapters.  Shield’s book brings that back for me.

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Bridge Street: July 29, 2011

It was a humid night.  Nothing moved.  I thought a lot throughout the night, even after writing a blog about bees and bee keepers and bee books.  I just couldn’t sleep.  The sky was grey on Bridge Street this morning; the first day of rain since my arrival and I lacked the motivation to go out and collect one misty drizzle-filled photograph of a house on Bridge Street.

Subsequently, here are my words.  I dawned my hoodie and put socks on for the first day of my vacation…then the shoes…and loading Max into the van, headed for the Belleville off-leash area.

When we arrived, there were some other owners and their pooches, but it looked to me like I might have had an umbrella in order to fit in perfectly.  But, have I ever really been concerned with that?  A drizzle soon turned to a down-pour, but given the Ontario- air, it was still warm.

And suddenly I went to that experience of ‘memory’ and I returned to warm Ontario rains of my childhood.  While dog-owners raced to their cars, pulling disappointed dogs behind them, I began my second loop of the park.  (This is where the head leans back and the open-mouth turns to the sky…this is the moment when a person actually smiles in the rain.)  Max’s body extended into a streamlined figure bulleting about the park in a wild frenzy of squirrel-chasing and bounding through the trees.  We were both so happy that I just had to come here tonight to write it down…the happiness is written down here…a reference for me when I might forget.

I returned to Bridge Street where I hung out with my Mom and read  Sisters in Two Worlds.  I will finish this one off tonight.  I continue to feel amazed by women and their hands…the work they do, the lives they touch.

Being here on Bridge Street is a blessing.