“When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
~ Marcus Aurelius
We Only Wanted to Glimpse One Bluebird
One of the things my partner and I were most hoping to see on our recent foray into wine country in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, was a Western Bluebird. While we get to enjoy the gorgeous Mountain Bluebirds which live here in Alberta, the beautiful Western Bluebird does not call Alberta home. We had never seen one of these little beauties before and we really wanted to catch a glimpse of one this trip. So imagine our surprise and great delight to discover that an entire flock of Western Bluebirds was roosting in the large Ponderosa Pine trees just outside our lovely accommodations in the Okanagan!
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.”
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Wake Up and Listen to the Bluebirds
Each morning of our stay at our beautiful accommodations at Crooked Tree, a lovely place in the woods, on a hill overlooking Lake Okanagan, we’d sit outdoors enjoying the early morning light as we sipped our steaming hot cups of tea and coffee. Chilly, refreshing, crisp autumn air filled our lungs, and hot drinks warmed our hands and bellies as we sat quietly, reverently, watching the sunrise and the magic of the early morning light as it crept across the lake. We feasted on the stunning vista and took great delight in listening to the bluebirds start to twitter as they awakened in their roost right next to our balcony. What pure pleasure it was to watch them flit about as the sun rose higher and the day grew warmer and brighter. A few brave bluebirds even dared to land on our balcony railing while we sat there, as if to say hello. It felt like we were in some sort of magical fantasy land. What fun to have the Universe conspire to not only give us a glimpse of the bluebird we were so wanting to see, but the pleasure of seeing so many bluebirds—and being able to enjoy them from our very cozy and comfortable balcony, complete with a stunning view of the lake and vineyards below. How sweet is that?
“Man is not himself only…He is all that he sees;
all that flows to him from a thousand sources…
He is the land, the lift of its mountain lines, the reach of its valleys.”
~ Mary Austin
The Western Bluebird
We recently bought ourselves a fabulous new lens, a Tamron SP 150-600 mm, a superzoom telephoto lens which we can’t say enough good things about. It’s a very long lens, weighing 4 1/2 pounds or so, and I’m going to need some practice (and a little more arm strength) to be able to hold the thing steady enough to get shots of fast-moving birds. All these beautiful bluebird photographs were shot by my partner, who is much more adept at using this lens than I am right now (nice job, honey!).
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds.
~ John Milton
These are brand new birds of twelvemonths’ growing,
Which a year ago, or less than twain,
No finches were, nor nightingales,
But only particles of grain,
And earth, and air, and rain.
~ Thomas Hardy (Proud Songster)
“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.”
~ Washington Irving
Room With a View
Perched high on a secluded and peaceful 10-acre hilltop, Crooked Tree is a real find. The suite we occupied (one of only three suites) is very tastefully decorated and beautifully appointed, with a fully-equipped kitchen, a loft and not one but two balconies. It is cozily nestled amongst the pines, high on a hilltop above the Naramata Bench, yielding a spectacular and commanding vista of the sprawling Okanagan Lake below and the rolling mountains rising gently behind the lake to the west and fading into the distance in pleasing tonal gradations. The verdant green vineyards, wineries and orchards of the Naramata Bench below complete the stunning view. Alix, the proprietor of Crooked Tree, is a pleasure to deal with. She has thought of everything, it seems, down to the smallest detail, to make her guests’ stay as pleasurable as possible. I don’t normally promote businesses on my blog, but this place is truly exceptional. If you find yourself looking for beautiful accommodations around Penticton, do check them out.
Beautiful vistas, birdsong, the sweet scent of pine, utter tranquility and a beautifully appointed suite—a perfect way to celebrate a special occasion.
All photography by madlyinlovewithlife and BJC Photography;
© 2015 madlyinlovewithlife & © 2015 BJC Photography.