We cannot see our reflection in running water.
It is only in still water that we can see.
~ Taoist proverb
A Trip We’ve Taken A Million Times
Early in July, my Sweet Bear and I packed up our vehicle for the 600 kilometre road trip from Calgary to my home town, North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Our car was chock-a-block full, containing everything needed for our contribution to my mother’s birthday party: two homemade cakes, one poppy seed cake and one orange-almond cake (careful where you put them honey, they can’t be squished); an electric hand-mixer and a large stainless-steel bowl (to make whipped cream for the cakes); five strings of fairy lights (for a splash of magic); assorted plates, utensils, cutlery and fancy napkins; two small suitcases and one garment bag; two pillows and one yoga mat; one guitar and an entire sound system, which included two heavy and somewhat bulky microphone stands, two speakers, a very heavy amp, a sound mixer, a big box of cables and wires, and two microphones—all equipment required for the live entertainment (Sweet Bear and I were the live entertainment.)
All photographers know that early morning light and late evening light are magical: colours seem to liquefy and pool upon water, transforming it into a shimmering mass of quicksilver. Silhouettes are crisp and the world is gilded in gold. Early morning and late evening energy calm my soul; the energy is more subdued—the world is either just waking up or winding down for the night. It’s a sublime time to be outdoors with a camera as, almost always, something magical appears. Here are a few shots I took during magic hour this summer.
The birds have long been back in town. And while I haven’t been blogging these past few months, my sweet partner and I have been out and about ambling through our city parks, taking long walks whenever we can, armed with our cameras, breathing in the fragrant summer air, and thoroughly enjoying nature and the abundance of bird life in Calgary. And what could be more uplifting than seeing new chicks and ducklings thriving right here in our city parks?
“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.”
~ Gary Zukav
A Winter Wonderland
As if on cue, the snow gently floated down in soft feathery flakes on Christmas Eve and I fell asleep, all warm and cozy in my bed, hoping that the snow would keep falling all night long. I knew that a fresh snowfall would bode well for the Christmas Day nature walk we planned on taking and I was not disappointed. The next morning could not have dawned more beautifully—the world was covered in a soft, thick, blanket of pristine white snow, there wasn’t a hint of wind, the sky had completely cleared and was bluer than ever and, in spite of the cold temperatures, a golden butterscotchy light gave the whole world a warm, inviting glow. Not a single wisp of cloud dared to show its face in the brilliance of that blue sky. My partner and I knew we were in for an incredibly beautiful walk.
“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!
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
~ Rachel Carson
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary Finally Reopens
Our long wait is over: after a two year and one month wait, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary has finally reopened. Calgary’s June 2013 “Hundred Year Flood” severely affected our city’s beloved bird sanctuary and it was immediately closed to the public. Great care was taken in the restoration work so as not to disturb nesting or migrating birds, so work proceeded slowly. While a lot of restoration work clearly remains to be completed, the main pathways and pedestrian bridges have now been repaired and the sanctuary reopened its doors to a jubilant public on July 30th, 2015.