Nature teaches us lessons. It is a powerful thing to walk along the Bow River’s edge. I observe and learn about so many elements of nature through those observations. I struggle as I watch my beautiful border collie, Max, decline in his abilities and in his health. But then, I step out into the landscape that he and I have enjoyed for so many years together, alone, and I am witness to how the land, water, animals and birds have also changed over these years. I need to be grateful for the journey and for the ever-changing characteristics in all things, even myself. As the years go by, I am grateful for the shifts and the adaptations and the spectacles of my life. I am grateful for my time at the river today. Here are the beauties that allowed me close into their world. I was still and so they moved around me and allowed me to be a witness to a -5 day at the river.
I will share from youngest to oldest…I was engaged by all of them today…a very rare thing.
I asked Wendy, about a month ago, if I might write about her on my blog. She said, “Well, what is there to write about? But, yes, sure. That would be fabulous.” ‘Fabulous’ was something that Wendy said…about good food, beautiful places, and even about a wild flower found along a trail. As I pour over the myriad of wildflower images that I snapped along our various walks and hikes over the years, I selected these two because today, they seem to mark my feelings best and capture the magic of what a true friend is. The first flower is a wild orchid. We were always so excited when we spotted a variety of orchid….typically hidden and not very showy…just remarkably beautiful and tucked away in some rich loam under a bush, usually in the shade.
Yesterday morning my sister-friend slipped out of this world and moved mysteriously into the next…and she did this without ever seeing my words written down.
I’ve decided to sit with thoughts of Wendy this morning, while the sun shines bright on the snow. Somehow it feels warmer today.
I attended the concluding evening of a church mission that was hosted in our parish last evening, prayed for the peaceful repose of Wendy…for the journey that my brother is taking…for my family and dear friends. The priest shared something interesting, once finishing up the Gospel reading about service…the one that’s read every Holy Thursday about Jesus bending down and washing his disciples’ feet… he said, serving one another does not always mean saying a whole lot…sometimes it means just sitting and being with the other. So, this morning, I’m sitting with thoughts of Wendy and I’m not going to say a whole lot.
There will be a whole number of people who over the coming days and weeks, months and years, will talk about Wendy’s accomplishments because she was indeed, an accomplished woman, coach, teacher, political force to be reckoned with, orator, curriculum writer, baker, crocheter, wife, cadet…she was all of that and more, but this morning as I contemplate why the huge ache in my heart, I realize that it was the enduring presence that is Wendy, the friend, to me that I most celebrate. So, I will not let this post be about anything but that, her love and wisdom and friendship. What I wish to most strongly communicate is Wendy’s courage and fortitude and extreme vulnerability…those qualities that Wendy gave through her presence with me and with our group, affectionately named the Ya Ya sisterhood.
The other sisters; Val, Darlene, Carla and Cathy; had the blessed opportunity to work with Wendy some years before our first meeting. It was Val who invited me to join in the regular gatherings with her circle of friends in order to enjoy food, drink, lively conversation and a hot tub now and then at Darlene’s. I was a very vulnerable person at the time, digging deep in order to stay afloat, raising three children on my own, all the while trying to do a great job as a teacher. I am forever-grateful for the friendships that were established at the time and how they have continued to change my life for richness of experience, knowledge and love.
Our activities included regular hiking, gourmet dining hosted by Wendy and her husband Darren and wonderful daughter, Becca…basement movie gatherings and themed photo opportunities. We consumed, voraciously, the times we had together, always rallying around the person(s) who was/were feeling most overwhelmed at the time, offered genuine support to one another, invaluable advice and resource-sharing. Wendy gave me confidence. She also had one heck of a sense of humour. She was a straight-shooter and never muted a point. Her determination and will was contagious. We have, over the years, all benefited from her drive and her commitment.
Wendy had an ability to roll with the punches. She lightly jested that she was much like a unicorn because her health matters that gradually grew to be insurmountable were uniquely challenging. I admired how hard she pushed against every obstacle and I was inspired by the strength of her family and the love that the three of them shared.
On Monday, I sat watched Wendy enjoy a bowl of Thai Soup while I ate a Greek Salad in the Fanning Center cafeteria. It was all so ordinary. We said ordinary things with one another. And, I’ve decided that this is what life is, a long string of ordinary moments. It is right to enjoy each of those. A cup of ice. Saying hello to the other person in the elevator. Advocating for support. Leaning down for that embrace at “Good-bye”. Laughing at the ritual of asking a complete stranger to take a photograph…
Late that night, my cell phone rang…I didn’t get it in time. It was Wendy’s number on my phone.
I called back and Wendy didn’t pick up. I’ll always wonder what Wendy might have said. More than anything, I will remember.
Oh what a treasure to have shared the mountain air with Wendy…fabulous food…nice drinks on a back deck, laughing and talking and looking up at the stars. I will love you always, dear friend…and nothing will take these years from me.
It is 4:00 in the afternoon, on Valentine’s Day. It has been a blessing to look over photographs and to think about all of the wonderful times we have enjoyed. Good-bye, good and faithful servant.
These images are a small sampling and many moments are buried in my archives or sitting on some one else’s camera…but these offer the gist of a remarkable friendship.
I woke up this morning, intending to drive to Lethbridge to visit my Aunties, but there’s some snow and a great deal of blow! So, I decided to cook a huge feast of a breakfast for two of my adult children and to hang out, cozy, with them. Afterwards, Max needed to get his exercise, so he and I headed out in the car and steered our boat to the river. We just returned and are warming up. It was a dramatically different scene from just yesterday when the sky was blue and the earth revealed the decay that is always so familiar in the autumn. Indeed, apart from a skiff of snow on Christmas Day, everything was brown this year.
I have enjoyed the holiday because it has given me time to walk the river’s edge in daylight and observe the activities at the Bow. I have been watching the male and female Bald Eagles build up the railings on their nest. My photos are taken a great distance away and so I have no real concerns that posting these will tease out the weirdos who exist in the world to hurt and interfere with nature.
Setting geese and ducks to flight while doing a reconnaissance.
Keeping eye on a fly-fishing dude.
I Saw a Heart in the Tree
Male Bald Eagle, delivering new railing material.
Today was such a contrast to the past couple of weeks! I pulled out my camera from under my coat in order to snap a quick photograph of a young raptor before he became aware of Max and I and took flight. I had a chance to really get a good look and, according to information on line, with so much mottling, this is likely a sub-adult of maybe two or three years of age from the same parents that I’ve been watching for about four years. I got a good look at him when he took flight. Interestingly enough, he returned to a tree just a short distance from the nest, so I have a feeling he was, in all of this cold blustery wind, seeking out the warmth of home. Thing is, if Mom and Dad return at some point this afternoon, they’ll be their usual ‘hard ass’ variety of parents and aggressively send him on his way. That sort of makes me sad. I know he’s just wanting a taste of a nice fish or something. Here are my photos…very out of focus, so I wish you had been there.
With gratitude to photographer and amazing birder, Ron Dudley, I was given permission to publish this screen shot. As I experienced this Intermediate Adult today, this is what I saw when he/she was closer to me.
I started walking daily at the river, once prompted by a friend. I remember this friend in the same ways that I remember the pond, where I had for six years, taken respite from the world, from work and from my worries. I circled the same still water and watched its changes, daily…apart from a very few days when the roads were too icy on the hill to make it there OR when I drove to Ontario to visit my mother…or to be with my loved ones when they celebrated her life.
I became a new person at the pond. I became a soldier for sustainability there. I became an observer of what human beings have become, in the order of dismissing their responsibilities to the earth. My sadness grew exponentially over those years as I communicated with management and staff in many big businesses that surrounded the area, scrolled through sustainability reports, became an activist with the City of Calgary, and talked about nothing more than what was happening in this single ecosystem. I picked litter…garbage…most days, filling and depositing bags and bags of human filth by the one bin that remained…”$13 dollars a bin to empty”, the city worker chimed in one day when I asked him, “What is going on with our city?” He explained that it is a vision for the city that people will learn to take their litter out with them…”much cheaper”. I sighed. That was when I began to lose it. I was crying during my walks, instead of taking in the bliss of the Mergansers, the Pintails, the Coots and Grebes.
Arriving home to upload my photographs, I would notice for the first time, plastic bags lying on the slopes as Black Capped Night Herons fed. I’d notice a 2L plastic bottle as a backdrop to the beautiful gesture of a Great Blue Heron. The evidence of our thoughtlessness was in my face daily.
I left the pond about a year ago and came to the edge of the Bow River. I’m still questioned about why the redundant act of circling the same location. To that, I can only say that by returning again and again to the same place, one really comes to know it…much like being with one person every single day. I really come to know this place in all sorts of weather and in all sorts of moods. I notice. I observe change and transition and presence with a keen eye. New is easy to see. I never see the same thing. And, while there are still signs of human carelessness, I do not directly see the road development, hear the machines or feel wholly responsible to clean up other people’s mess.
I feel as though I am walking in the middle of a Clea Roberts poem when I am at the river…and that is a beautiful place to be.
Please, if you can, read Clea Robert’s poem, The Forest, from Auguries. Perhaps then, my readers will understand why I come to this same place. Blessings for a remarkable day.
Have you ever been put in a situation…or put yourself in a situation…where you lose control, completely. You find yourself cornered/humiliated/vulnerable/speechless? You lose your voice? Loud voices are coming at you. You see mouths moving and eyes wide open. But, you really don’t hear a word that the voices are projecting. You want to catch up on the conversation and what is happening, but you are so shocked that you’re NOT SAFE, that you are deemed useless, defenseless and feel only things in your body? Oh. I’m sweating. Oh, my heart is pounding. Oh. Am I going to throw up? Am I going to cry?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what is going on in a world where this is allowed to happen. We become enraged when we remember these collective experiences happening historically, in the unbelievable and horrific impacts of colonization and slavery, of racist and immoral conduct in war. (Presently watching the Netflix series on Vietnam, with my son. Watch the entire series, beginning with French colonization…see what atrocities happened there.) We are shocked and freaked out when it happens on the world stage in the forum of politics, religion and foreign policy. (I can’t even name all such horrors.)
The strong prey on others.
The privilege of power; whether that is white or big or strong or conservative or educated or rich…the privilege of power is a demon in the face of building relationship or building community or building trust.
The second clutch of sparrows was attacked on the hottest day of summer. It might have been a Magpie or a Crow. I wasn’t home to see the events. The Crow and the Magpie have youngsters to feed…their aggression is without thought for kindness, but for survival. That’s the difference between human beings and Crows. We can choose to communicate kindly, even in the face of conflict. It is our moral imperative to do so.
Mr. did not give up without a fight. How do I know this? Because his feathers show the scars of the attempt to protect his youngsters. Mr. and Mrs. have grieved at the empty vent these past two days.
I ask myself if I had stayed home from book club, would things have turned out differently. Maybe not.
It is April 9, 2018 for just a short while longer.
I was downloading photographs off my Canon Powershot…birds, of course. I clicked something in the process of fiddling with the files on my desk top and images surfaced from past April 9ths and I take pause.
I’m going to slow this writing down a little. I’m going to back-track. Yesterday morning I was feeling downhearted. News has been very sad lately. We had just endured more bitterly cold days and another 15 cms. of snow. I was just heavy-hearted for a lot of reasons. I received a message from my friend Michael. He said that he was up for some naturing. The weather was taking a turn for the better and the sun was out.
We sat ourselves down on a bench at the river, after enjoying a leisurely walk right to the river’s edge. I watched a Downy Woodpecker, from where we sat. The brilliant white gulls flew overhead. Michael plugged in a bit of Ram Dass and we took pause and listened. For both of us, Toe Knee came to mind. Then we talked about death. We talked about the releasing of everything…power, ego, money, objects, even friends and family. We grieved the loss of so many who suffer addiction, hopelessness, overdose, hunger…we talked about trauma. I know. It all seems pretty dark. But, truth is, we don’t talk about some of the things that really matter. And that is why the pain sometimes continues to go on in the background.
Michael made me cry when he told me that the paintings that my students do are an expression of the artist in me. I was grateful for the remark. And so, today, I began my day by painting with grade threes…this, after walking Max, drinking my two cups of home brew and moving, dazed, through all of the morning rituals that began April 9, 2018.
First…my photograph of the little Mrs. She only pops her head out briefly during the morning, when Mr. heads out in search of sustenance. He is usually on guard at the vent, repeating his vocalizations again and again. This morning came with her sweet face.
The children are beautiful, as they enter into a magical silence and become completely consumed by the process of creating.
Small conversations about Easter break…hugs from friends I have made over the years…a really great conversation about Reconciliation and the Metis with a teacher I had met some years ago…a young student, now in grade five, putting out the question, “Do you remember me?” Number lines and plotting data, first events in stories, agendas, recess, mixing of paint, sunlight filling the room, fruit yogurt, spelling digraphs gh/ph/f…wallpaper in closets…dates in calendars…logging in and logging out…the drive to and from.
Max and I at the river…releasing. We stood under a tree and big chunks of wood began dropping onto both of us. He would shake. I would brush off. Again and again. I looked up to find this guy, ravenously chipping through the flesh of the tree.
…and this guy observing all.
…and this guy scooting into the tall grass.
…and this above and around me.
…and these two courting.
Not to mention, these two.
April 9 was a particularly beautiful day, as it turns out. My first born took a drive to Lethbridge today with my grandson and these two photographs, make my heart sing…Steven with his Great Granny Batsford and his Great Grampa Bergman….and soon he will meet his Great Grampa Moors. What a blessed boy! and how blessed we are by him!
And as I downloaded my photographs onto my desktop computer, April 9, 2013 photographs surfaced. I was given the memory of my mother’s hands…and the memory of the work that she did in her life.
These were a little gift for me.
The day is almost gone and I am left with a feeling about just how powerful a single day can be. I hope to be mindful about each day I am given. I hope to remember the lesson that this day has given.
Of course! The Osprey are on my mind these days, so let’s see what Grade Three can pull off! I shared, with the students, a few of my own photographs of Osprey. We talked about the similarities and differences between Eagles, Hawks and Osprey because, even adults, get them confused with one another.
Earlier in the day, the students had discussed, with me, the aspects of a champion. I told them that I am a champion for nature and always will be. They told me stories about their champions and then went to their seats to write a couple of paragraphs about someone they consider to be a champion in their lives. During art, we would be champions for nature, by talking for a while about how Enmax has built platforms throughout our city in order to help the Osprey out and to protect them.
Then, the students would use their artistic practice to be champions, by making art that would teach others about the Osprey.
David Allen Sibley is an American ornithologist. What better person to demonstrate some real basics of the form involved with drawing a profile view of an Osprey? The students made three sketches in their visual journals. YES! Three! Practice practice practice! If my readers want to see how challenging it is to draw the beaks, the form of the body and the head shape, try to draw along with David Sibley, here. While I wanted to do a small composition with the students in chalk pastel, I also wanted to prepare them. The practice was invaluable and the compositions ended up fantastic!
I recommend that you put this video on silent as the music is very irritating…however, I wanted to give the students practice drawing the Osprey looking the other direction. Most chose to incorporate this posture for their composition and worked from their own drawings, as references.
Here’s some of what the students accomplished. Thank you for your class, Jenn. The students were absorbed and determined as they produced their compositions. Having the practice under their belts, the chalk drawings took a little over 30 minutes…no pencil was used in the compositions.
Pencil sketching from projected Youtube videos…
Students used white chalk to block in their simple contour lines to define where their Osprey would be placed in the composition.
With a foundation of Reflection and Depiction, the students then had opportunity to Compose and Express, using the media. They learned to leave bits of the ground (green paper surface) exposed…to turn their chalk pastels onto their sides and on the tip, for different mark making. A very absorbed activity.
When all was said and done, some of the students shared with me that when they were in Grade Two, I spent a class drawing Eagles with them. I showed them a Live Eagle Cam from Duke Farms. No eagles showed up to nest at Duke Farms this year.
I think that it’s a very cool thing that some of these students have studied the Eagle and now, the Osprey.
What a wonderful group of grade fours! They were very intense about their art…from the very beginning until the very end.
I began the class by asking the students what makes people scared of spiders. We thought about why they have become a symbol and decoration for creepy times like Halloween. We shared all of the types of spiders we know about from library books, movies, stories and experience. We talked for a while about Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
In their visual journals, the students designated a BEFORE page and an AFTER page. I asked them to draw a spider, with their own knowledge and understanding and idea of what a spider looks like. It could be entirely imaginary or be based on something they’ve seen before. They were asked to add as much detail as possible.
The variety of interpretations was amazing. I love love love their BEFORE images.
Next, I showed the students a YouTube video…great guy…easy going and enjoyable script, “How to Draw a Red Back Spider.” I have never been a big fan of HOW TO DRAW books, but honestly, when a class is swelling to 29 to 32 students…the YouTube Video is a way for the teacher to filter around the classroom, assist and support students. If you are doing a demonstration/explanation at the front of the room, with your back to the students, really you are less engaged with them and more being a ‘bit of a show off’. I’m laughing as I type this. Do what you want! It’s just that, very late in the game, I’ve discovered that these little videos are superb for the Depiction part of a lesson.
This guy is great.
The very same students who had created the BEFORE drawings posted above, drew the following AFTER depictions.
I didn’t have a lot of time for prep…was busy eating up a bowl of homemade leek and potato soup, so I grabbed black and white paint and orange paper and so began the expressive portion of the lesson.
Using chalk for drawing, the students were asked to use their sketches in order to create a Red Back Spider on a web. The red spot could be coloured after both the spider and web were painted…using a red Mr. Sketch marker.
The resulting BLOW OUT session was remarkable! A great time seeing students show their own spin on the subject. I only wish that I had my Canon with me. But, this will give my readers some ideas.
I’m sorting things out, in order to spend time with my father in the east. The Christmas cards for 2015 are in the mail. Doctors appointments, Max’s grooming, the vehicle checks and household chores are now being tackled. The past week has meant a lot of beautiful indoor time with booming thunder storms every afternoon. I feel like I’m on a retreat because the house is so quiet…just Max and me. I can eat popcorn whenever I want. In the evening, a glass of red wine. Last night, I baked salmon in parchment paper…fresh lemon squeezed over the beautiful pink meat. Every ritual seems lovely and intentional.
For the most part, it’s been productive and satisfying.
I’ve decided that my pond study will wrap up the morning of Mom’s birthday, July 27. I’ve walked the circumference of the pond at Frank’s Flats every day since October 13,2015 with the intention of taking a single Instagram photograph of a single location, a bush that grows at the pond’s edge. I have seen it through the seasons and watched how light changes everything. I’ve developed rituals around these observations, recording, writing captions, creating mental sketches and noting the changes in the animals and vegetation as time passes. I’ve much reference material now and in the autumn, I want to create a response to all of it. I’ve had some faithful followers as, for most of the experiment up until July, I’ve documented on social media (Facebook) as well.
Yesterday, at the pond, I observed the only two Ruddy duck babes, alongside Mom. The teen-aged Coots and Grebes are now taking diving lessons and doing so very successfully. Mr. and Mrs. everything are swimming further and further from their youngsters, although the teens still cry out helplessly and give chase, not wanting to be separated from, at the very least, their source of food. With the horrendous amount of rain recently, I fear that the Ruddy ducks’ nests have been drowned…the two babies that I observed, came to be only days before the first thunderstorms hit, so I’m guessing all of the other mothers were sitting at that time. I’ll see.
I think that flying lessons are beginning…I notice that the adult Coots, while remaining on the water, are flapping hard and traveling on the surface.
While I stopped putting out seed at my feeders (as a way of settling down the vole and mouse populations), I got emotional when I realized that Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow, in the vent across from my kitchen window, were trying one more time to nest. The children are crying ravenously with each entrance to the vent from Mr. or Mrs. I just need to see this family have a successful season, after two former attempts.
The crows are big raiders in this neighbourhood these days, as those adults also struggle to feed their demanding young.
As I reflect upon the last while, I continue to feel gratitude…especially for the lessons of nature and of solitude. I like slowing things down. I’ve been particularly inspired by a poem by Al Purdy, titled Detail and so I will post it here, along side a few photographs that I snapped yesterday. In 1981, when doctoral work was typed on typewriters…Elizabeth Jane Douglas wrote a thesis titled the Mechanics of Being Alive: Major Themes in Poetry and Prose of Al Purdy. This absolutely impacts my past year’s ‘work’ and ‘reflection’.
all winter long
… the apples clung
in spite of hurricane winds
sometimes with caps of snow
little golden bells
· · ·
For some reason I must remember
and think of the leafless tree
and its fermented fruit
one week late in January
when the wind blew down the sun
and earth shook like a cold room
no one could live in
with zero weather
soundless golden bells
alone in the storm
(Beyond Remembering 135-36)
And then, there are those of us who believe that beyond this, there is so much more. But for now, I leave this reflection. I have a border collie, eager to run in the green wet grass.
Prayers for Billy and his family and for little Taliyah Marsman and her mother and their family.
This past winter was an unusual season, so mild that it was difficult to even classify it as winter. The plows came around once. We had two big dumps of snow. And, that was it. Spring came early, with many warm days in March. As a result, everything is dry.
At my kitchen window, in the neighbour’s vent, Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow have nested three times, all without success. On the first go, we had babies and Mom and Dad did a marvelous job feeding and protecting their wee ones and then all at once, one morning, there was silence. Given that the duct tape I had applied last season had fallen off (and I’m sort of glad it did because I always imagined my neighbour charging me for a repair), I believe that either a Crow or Magpie rampaged the nest. The sparrows tried two more times, but with no successful hatch. The nest is now abandoned, apart from the occasional visit from an adult. This has made me pretty disappointed because I enjoyed my daily observations of Sparrow behaviour, while I worked at my kitchen sink.
The Fort McMurray blaze happened and left the province in shock. To not mention this would just be wrong. The media images of the devastation and mass exodus from the city were terrifying. I think that this fire changed all of us in ways we could not imagine. Our hearts are still reaching out to those impacted most. In an economy that was already struggling with woes, this has contributed additional stress. My prayers continue to be for those impacted and for the fire fighters who continue to make efforts to quell this blaze. This image, from Jonathan Hayward, Canadian Press.
A giant fireball is seen as a wild fire rips through the forest 16 km south of Fort McMurray, Alberta on highway 63 Saturday, May 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
There just isn’t a transition from that! As a result of the differing and dry climate, different insects are inhabiting our gardens. My asparagus failed to come up this year and very few Oriental poppies. My strawberry plants are weak, as are my lupines. I learned, one morning, while taking photographs that this is all due to the destruction of the Tarnished Plant Bug, last season and this. I’ve spent these months trying to ethically rid my garden of the ‘damned’ things. Sadly, this means I will likely be chasing them away to someone else’s garden. I am thinking it will take me a couple of seasons to build up my garden again and I’m anticipating more damage next summer, given that the bugs likely produced eggs before I got on to this. Gardening causes me to think about what it must mean to farm and to weigh my decisions around protecting beneficials such as bees and lady bugs.
Tarnished Plant Bug presence Noted!
Different birds have settled into the pond area at Frank’s Flats. It’s easy for me to notice because of my close relationship with this location the past five years.
Last year, at this time, I was watching the nesting practices of Osprey very closely.
In late April, this year, two nesting platforms maintained by Enmax were pulled down as a result of future infrastructure development on the Stoney Trail ring road and so things have changed. I can only keep track of a single platform from a huge distance. There is no access at this location on Sheriff King Road, for viewing. I think that the relocation happened just in the nick of time, however, so I am grateful for the efforts of Enmax. Presently, Mr. and Mrs. are watching over a couple of eggs, if not chicks by this time.
Mr. or Mrs. showed up right on time this year, overlooking the pond south of 22X and exactly where the platforms were located last year. I’m not certain if this is one of the siblings born last season or if it is one of the adults, but I am really happy that we have this presence.
No place to go, the Osprey began building on the tops of the power poles. This photo was taken once all nesting materials had been removed, demonstrating the adult Osprey’s determination to set up camp. I quickly contacted Enmax via Twitter and from there, same-day action ensued and a new location was selected for the erection of the platform. Disappointed, I knew that I wouldn’t, with my Canon Power Shot, be able to monitor the nest this season.
From a distance, I saw that the very next day, male and female had established a home, with an abundance of nesting materials. It was a thrill to see.
I have visited a few times, just to make certain that the beautiful raptors have had a successful experience. Only a week ago, I checked in. Mr. is attentive as Mrs. sits patiently. These two are slightly behind the other nest I watch, nearing the edge of the Bow River at Sikome Lake, but they look like they are managing.
Birds have been plentiful at the pond and I’ve nudged up closer than in the past. Sometimes I imagine the birds saying, “Oh, it’s just her again!” I still haven’t made the capture of a male or female Shoveler and that disappoints, given that they attended the pond in large numbers this year. Because they are so skittish, I also haven’t a focused photo of either variety of Grebe, although I’ve captured some great out-of-focus drama! Below, see some of my collection of species this year. I am thrilled with the closeness I have developed with nature and seeming, all because I am present for a walk each day, since October 13, in order to take a single photograph of a bush on Instagram. I have been blessed!