“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”
~ J. B. Priestley
Hooray! Finally! Finally, the snow has come! It’s been a long wait this year. I love white Decembers, especially with the glow of all the holiday lights. My partner and I have been waiting for the snow to arrive, just so we could head out to the mountains and tromp around in it. There’s nothing we love more than a snowy day in the mountains of Kananaskis Country, Alberta.
I awoke today to a thick, soupy morning fog. We don’t often get fog here in Calgary and there is something wonderfully mysterious and beautiful about it. I happily finished my morning ablutions and comfortably settled into my home office with a mug of hot tea to begin my day. Deeply engrossed in my work, it took a while for my brain to register that there was a knock at the door.
“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.
Every summer I enjoy keeping a container garden on our high-rise balcony and I love it all summer long, but I find beauty in my little balcony garden in every season, including winter.
Rather than clearing out all my potted plants in late autumn, I purposely leave all of my plants to naturally dry and I allow winter to engulf them. Winters are cold here in Calgary, so nothing potted survives it except my two potted trees. I love the way the dried grasses and flowers frost up and the way they create beautiful shapes and organic sculptures as piles of snow cap the leaves and branches. I think the bare bones of my little trees look so beautiful too.
Scientists are flummoxed as sightings of the extremely rare and long thought to be extinct Sabre-toothed Squirrel have been reported on Prince’s Island in Calgary, Alberta. One observer was even able to capture a never before seen photograph of the extraordinary breed. Scientists don’t quite know what to make of the news, saying it must be some sort of unprecedented genetic throw-back dating back to the Pleistocene epoch. Continue reading →
Another Arctic cold front has settled in here—there’s a ton of fresh snow and it’s colder out there than a tin toilet top. But, truth be told, I’m rather enjoying it! It’s so pretty outside and inside it’s so wonderfully warm and snug and cozy—perfect weather for snuggling up in front of a fire with a good book and nibbling on a little something. I must say, however, that I do have a minor crisis on my hands: for some of us, fine chocolate is the fuel of choice in extremely cold weather and my chocolate supply is evaporating rather quickly—diminishing to dangerously low levels, ebbing just below my psychological comfort zone. And that will certainly never do, especially not in the face of this chilly winter cold front.
Last December, I had the romantic notion that my partner and I should try skating again, even though it had been well over ten years since we’d donned ice skates. I went out, got myself a new pair of comfortable skates and we headed off to Prince’s Island Park for a night skate on the lagoon. Although I was never a great skater, I always enjoyed gliding around the ice, especially outdoors under the stars, so I was very excited, but more than a bit uncertain as to how I would fare.
“Carols of gladness ring from every tree.”
~ Frances Anne Kemble
Here We Come A-Wassailing…
Who knew the Danbo Brothers could sing? Tonight, they joined forces with a couple of choir mice who come around here every year to carol and they spent a glorious evening singing their little hearts out around the neighborhood. All those small voices blended together perfectly and, I have to say, they sounded very sweet, even if a bit squeaky.
The Danbo Brothers surprised me early this morning when they walked in sporting beautiful, brand new, hand-knitted hats and scarves! I just knew those guys would be able to procure some proper winter woolies!
Scene from a magical winter walk in our neighbourhood.
“Warm fire—books–comfort—safety from storm—
our cats on the rug. Moonlight,” said Barney,
“would you be any happier now if you had a million dollars?”
~ Barney Snaith, talking about winter,
from L. M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle
Taking a Cold, Hard Look at Winter
My partner and I genuinely love winter. But we usually keep that sentiment to ourselves because it seems that most others around us do not share our enthusiasm for winter. Truth be told, this appreciation for winter is a relatively new thing. Five years ago, I discovered that I had become, like most others around me, a chronic grumbler about winter and, in all honesty, about the weather in general. It seemed that the more years that passed, the narrower became the range of weather I didn’t complain about.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
Playing with Motion Blur
This motion blur study is the direct result of boredom and low light. I took all the shots from our moving vehicle as we cruised across the Canadian prairies on an eight hour long road trip. It was a cold, cloudy December day, the sun was low in the sky and the light was fading, but the landscape was beautiful nonetheless. The subtle beauty of the passing prairie landscape, with its muted winter colour palette, the snow-speckled fields and the starkness of the naked trees, all slowly dissolving into the pastel light of dusk, had me reaching for my camera over and over again.