Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscious of Our Treasures

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
~ Thornton Wilder

I find treasures - large or small, almost every single time I go out walking with my camera. Below are a few of those which have caught my eye over the past few weeks.

trash removal
The trees have already experienced their full blooms and have settled into the leafy shades of green for the summer. This is one of my favourite areas of the park caught at the hight of blossom season. I will admit to having Photoshopped this image to remove the unsightly trash and recycle cans from the left hand side in front of the fence. There was also the beginning of a floating island taking shape but the florescent orange balls bobbing in the pond also looked wrong for this scene. If you'd like to see how it looked before I removed these things, keep on scrolling.




original
Which of the two photos do you prefer - the one with the original distractions or the one where I cheated?




goose pair
Geese are always a treat to see whether they're paring off for nesting season..




stretch
...or just stretching to greet the day.




hooded merganser male juv
On one of Frank's visits here, he noticed this fuzzy-headed little cutie swimming around all by himself. I believe he's a juvenile hooded merganser.




white blossom
Up close and personal with a delicate, white blossom.




sandpiper
Way down at the bottom of the dam, this little sandpiper whistles his little song while rummaging around for insects.




miniscule
My neighbour, friend and walking buddy, Caroline spotted these very tiny wildflowers (or weeds) in the grass at the park. Each bloom wasn't really any larger than an appleseed. You can tell how little they are compared to those blades of grass which surround them. If anyone knows what they're called, please tell me?




first robin
Before the leaves came out, this lovely robin was enjoying the dried berries from last year's harvest. You can see that some of the leaves were just beginning to bud. This was taken toward the end of April.

I have lived in this home for 29 years. Coyotes have been in the area for at least 15 of those years. I walk the parks regularly, as you know. In all these years, when everyone else has seen coyotes numerous times, I have yet to encounter one. I've always been rather bummed about that.

I was walking along the path one afternoon. A couple of people told me that they'd seen one hanging around for the last few days and he'd been spotted as recently as in the past fifteen minutes. I walked around the pond once.

Nothing.

I walked around a second time and glanced to my right, just on the other side of the fence when I thought I saw slight movement on a rather large rock. I stopped to see what might be on the rock. That's when the rock stood up and looked at me with the most beautiful piercing eyes. I took a step toward the fence and raised my camera. This made the coyote a bit nervous and he moved deeper into the brush. I followed him with my camera as he headed down toward the pond. But he stopped briefly and looked back at me before continuing. He allowed me to take a photo.

coyote
This was my greatest treasure, that day. What a wonderful gift from a gorgeous creature. It's not a great image, having shot it through a chain link fence and various twigs and branches, but I was just thrilled to see this handsome creature, let alone get a photograph of him. Thank you, beautiful beast.

Word has gone around that shortly after that day, this wonderful animal was seen struggling with a serious injury. There was speculation that he'd been hit by a car or possibly shot (I don't want to believe the latter about our neighbourhood). I'd seen Police and Animal Services in and around the park on many occasions but they'd all been very closed-mouthed about the purpose of their business. A couple of days later, my neighbour, Caroline heard a distinct gunshot at around five in the morning. I wrote to my community Counsellor Pat Saito and asked her straight out if the coyote had been destroyed. She replied that Toronto Wildlife Services had been trying to catch and treat the coyote but that she knew nothing further. She said that her staff will find out and let me know. A few days later, one of her staff members followed up with a "we're still awaiting a response" kind of email. To date, I have still not heard further nor has the coyote been spotted by anyone I've talked to.

I'm hoping for the best for that beautiful treasure.

More photos in a few days.

60 comments:

Jackie said...

These photos are a treasure to me...beautifully captured and captioned.
I do hope that the coyote survived whatever happened to him/her.
That is a wonderful photograph you took...and those eyes. Those knowing eyes.
I do hope that it is faring well. Thank you for sharing your gift with me, Hilary.
Hugs,
Jackie

Ramakant Pradhan said...

Beautiful pictures! For the first shot, I like the one without the distractions :)

Ramakant Pradhan said...

Beautiful pictures! For the first shot, I like the one without the distractions :)

Frank Baron said...

Fine collection and I'm very glad you had the opportunity to see and photograph the coyote. I too hope he's well.

ADRIAN said...

It's all the better for a bit of cloning. Pictures should reflect the positive side of life.
Congratulations on the Coyote.

ladyfi said...

Wow wow wow! Amazing treasures - especially that coyote. Looks as if he was communicating with you for a second. (Hope it's all right and not too injured.)

The cherry blossoms are gorgeous too - in both shots!

Andy said...

You find treasures is absolutely right. You also have a talent for telling stories with photos.

PS: There's nothing wrong with cleaning up photos. In this case you created a much better river scene.

Kerri said...

Beautiful series Hilary! There truly are treasures everywhere!
I think your little wildflower is a type of "speedwell" but not sure which type.

Tabor said...

You do know how to savor spring. LIke the photo-shopped one better, because the man made stuff was not necessary for the scene. So sad about that coyote. They are slowly gaining in population and with that will come problems.

sage said...

You have an eye for detail and are emphatically connected--nice post.

Gayle said...

Each photo is a story. Just wonderful! Sorry to hear there may be bad news regarding the coyote.

The tiny flower looks a lot like a "spring beauty".

Thanks for your gifts to us.

Hilary said...

Beautiful, yes, Dangerous, YES.
A FB friend of mine just posted a picture of her dog, who jumped the fence to chase a coyote. Her neck is all sewn up......many deep gashes both on the back of her neck, and the front. They just missed her jugular. She is a hurting puppy. Coy dogs (as we call them here) can be deadly to pets. Glad you got the picture, but have to say it's too close to children and pets for comfort for me.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful images. I much prefer the Photoshopped image,it is more peaceful and pleasing to look at.This is a case where you only enhanced the picture.

messymimi said...

The first photo is the one you want to keep for memory's sake, that is for sure.

Poor Coyotes. They aren't endangered, and they can be pesky when they are feeding off of pet cats and small dogs, but they do not deserve to be treated badly.

DJan said...

You were right to doctor that picture, although they are both quite lovely, with the purple blossoms winning out. That is a fantastic shot of the coyote. I do hope it's all right. You are such a fabulous photographer, that is a GREAT picture.

Brian Miller said...

that is a bit of a scary pic of the coyote...he does not look like he was necessarily happy...but glad you got it...29 years, now that is persistence...

Fabian Colossi said...

I also hope the coyote is ok! Apart from that, congrats on getting the focus right on it despite all the obstacles!

Don't (didn't) you have a birthday around?

TexWisGirl said...

if it was injured, i'm hoping it is no longer suffering. they take a lot of dogs and cats in the city area here. very bold and not afraid of humans. and here in the country, i see too many, too. they will battle my big dogs, too. i try not to ever leave one dog out by itself as they are so susceptible if 2 or more coyotes are around. i am glad you got to see it, however, since you've never seen one before! they are beautiful when they are healthy!

but the rest of your photos are beautiful!

CiCi said...

You have some outstanding woods near your home. I can't imagine living where such beauty is there to be seen on a walk not far from home. I too hope the coyote is healing and has more time to roam and enjoy his life.

chariskalee said...

I love how you took the great shot and then had the talent to make it a little more serene. Nicely done. Beautiful color. I also love the coyote shot. Definitely very cool Hilary! Thank you for sharing!

Red said...

Coyotes are fascinating but also dangerous. I know you were behind a chain link fence but still be very cautious. We have the same condition with coyotes in the park. I've been close to them but I'm always concerned about my back. they work together so it's the guy behind me that bothers me.
You've shown some awesome spring conditions.

Linda said...

Those trees in the first shot are so gorgeous. And the tiny little flowers look so pretty and delicate. Kudos to Carolyn for spotting them and to you for shooting them. May your coyote friend be well. How nice that he gave you that chance for a photo.

Rita said...

All these photos are treasures, but the coyote is especially a wonder. I hope you find out what happened to it.

Kerry said...

I wish I knew how to remove garbage cans from my photos, but I don't!

Coyotes are formidable creatures; if there is one, there will be others. I hope he's ok, and that they can release him into a safer area. We have many coyotes where we live, and they are only rarely hit by cars. But I imagine that you have more cars and fewer guns where you are.

I love this post because it encourages me to take my camera everywhere. You never know when you will see something amazing. And ordinary things can be just that.

ellen abbott said...

A wonderful set of photos. I love the altered version of the cherry trees and I don't think removing the eyesores is cheating. I love the white flower, the veining in the delicate petals and the tiny flower with the purple throat. And the coyote! How awesome. I hope it wasn't destroyed. People are so stupid.

Suldog said...

Couple of things...

1 - You made the scene look so much more inviting. I saw the first photo and immediately thought, "I want to be sitting there." Then I saw the unretouched photo. While still an obviously nice spot, the barrels and orange balls definitely subtract something from the allure.

2 - You say the shot of the coyote is not a great image. I disagree. With one eye hidden, it has a bit of "Phantom of the Opera" to it, which seems apropos for this creature who was a phantom, to you, until that time. I think it is a magnificent image.

Bone said...

The first photo just stopped me. It was truly stunning. Though it did almost seem too perfect, I still prefer it to the one with the trash cans. I'm not sure what a floating island is, I'm gonna have to google that one :)

But the shot of the coyote was my favorite of the post. It was perfect.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Your little pond sure holds many treasures! A coyote, wow! That's something you don't see often, let alone steal a shot. Good for you.

Phyllis E said...

Magnificent work, Cuzzie. I love the pair of geese.

And you are to be commended for 'taking out the trash.'

Cuzzie P

yaya said...

I prefer the cleaned up version of your pond pic..and the robin shot was amazing..but the coyote just blew me away. They are shy and timid..(but also destructive) around here the farmers will shoot them on sight...I feel like you do and think they are beautiful and hopefully this one will be OK.

Jo-Anne said...

Hi Hilary. Love your first photo! I was just sitting on that bench not long ago. Apparently there are 2 goslings up here at the "other" lake - going to look for them tomorrow. Will let you know! :)

Cloudia said...

your blessing!

I still ave chills up my arms!

We studied your photo for a long time. Winter coat, fierce eye. WILD!

That was healing to see!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3
> < } } ( ° >

Barbara Shallue said...

I know we have coyotes around here, too, but I've never seen one. They attack small dogs and cats, but I'm still in awe of them as wild creatures. Your photo is wonderful, and I hope he's okay. And I definitely like the photoshopped photo of the park the best. I don't think it's cheating. You did a great job!

Dave said...

I specially liked your top 'processed' photo of the trees with the purple flowers Hilary. Better without the cans and red floats. Hope your coyote is OK. Sad that it was injured - Dave

Maggie May said...

Love the seat under the blossom looking out on the water. I'd love to sit there.
Well that coyote takes the biscuit! You did well to catch that one!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Daryl said...

me, i always prefer edited views ... and i am hoping that Mr Coyote evaded his captors and is somewhere safely recovering ..

Gail Dixon (La.Belle) said...

The first photo is awesome! I would have cloned out the trash bins as well, so my vote is for the cheated version. :) So sad about the coyote. I came across one behind our house in Texas years ago. Builders were clearing the way for a new subdivision, so I'm sure he was frightened and feeling misplaced. It's very sad that wildlife has fewer and fewer habitats left.

Lynne with an e said...

Thank you for sharing these treasures with us! My morning has been made all that richer from seeing these ordinary extra-ordinary sights. And you didn't "cheat" on that Photoshopped scene, you "enhanced" it. And well done, you!
Nice to see the Canada Geese are keeping fit with goose yoga. Little punk Merganser hair-do is charming.
Cool that you finally got your shot at the coyote; too bad and sad about the other type of shots being taken. Our village hired a "varmint hunter" last year to deal with the over-abundance/nuisance of coyotes in the area.

Betty Manousos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty Manousos said...

thank you for sharing yet another interesting post with such wonderful shots, dear hilary. i really like the pair of geese.

and i do hope that that beautiful beast is no longer suffering.

the photo of this animal is really remarkable!

xx

photowannabe said...

You have captured a stunning treasure. I hope the coyote lived to see another day.
Seeing nature in its natural habitat is a thrill.
Keep snapping.

Fragrant Liar said...

Oh, man! Those tree and pond pics are little slices of heaven! And I did really enjoy the coyote. They are special creatures indeed.

the Bag Lady said...

Love the first scene (much better than the one with the garbage cans)
I am jealous that you got such a wonderful picture of the coyote - I see them frequently, but never manage to get good pictures.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Three cheers for Photoshop! You took a nice picture and made it amazing.

And the coyote-- What an awesome picture-- You have a good eye to have spotted him AND gotten a pic. If I'd seen him I'd still be running.

So sad to think he was injured and/or possibly killed. That would be horrible. I hope he's okay.

xo jj

Lisa Gordon said...

Wonderful images, Hilary!
I sure hope the coyote is okay.

Dianne said...

I'm going to tell myself the coyote is OK

I love the goose stretching, I've never seen that

Indrani said...

You got the beautiful beast so clear!
Great series!

Anvilcloud said...

I'll take what you call the "cheat." I don't call it that at all, especially if the objects could theoretically be moved by hand. I know it would take a swimmer to remove the orange thingies but you know what I mean.

Anita said...

I have to go with the majority, Hilary, and vote for first photo. The purple blossoms on the twin trees are beautiful! As soon as I saw the photo, I thought, "Wow!" and I trust my first impressions. I wonder if I'd have felt the same with the trash bins and balls. Hmmmm...

You've written a very engaging post. I've enjoyed reading the comments of your readers - their opinions on the coyoto in particular.

All good photos with a eye-catching one being the white blosoms.

Sandy Carlson said...

The geese sure do work it for your camera. They know you love them. Thanks for this post full of beautiful places.

:.tossan© said...

Big beautiful photos! I love the text and feel like you when I walk with my camera. hug

Mage said...

Yes, well done taking out those trash cans. LOL I might even crop it tighter on the left.

I too hope that coyote is fine. I hate hearing shots. Here near the bay, a friend has a mama fox and her kits living on her patio. She's been getting some nice photographs too.

Kat said...

That first picture absolutely takes my breath away. Wow. Just gorgeous. And yes, gotta love Photoshop. Although I had no idea you could actually take stuff like a garbage can out. How cool is that?

Friko said...

Why can humans never live in peace with all creatures.
I hate that, it really makes me angry and sad.

Lovely photos, as always, Hilary.

Linda said...

Beautiful photos! I've never seen a coyote in the wild. How exciting! Hope he is okay.

Merisi said...

Thank you for sharing another gorgeous series of photographs from your paradise! One can feel that you are intimately aware of your surroundings. Love the picture of the goose stretching the wings, such elegance! Of the two pictures in the before and after versions, the cleaned-up one captures the serenity of the place best, the original is a reminder of man's presence that does not always reflect the good intentions.

Don said...

"At the end of the day, Mother Nature has only one question for us: 'What life did you nurture today?'"
Robert Brault

Sandy Carlson said...

These are fabulous. Nature clearly loves you back.

I find the photo with the litter and recycling barrels endearing. Not acknowledging garbage cans is like not acknowledging toilets--or our feet, even. What is beautiful relies on what is not or what is less so...but I'd hang the one without the barrels in my home!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Wildlife knows it is safe with you. Sadly, not everyone feels that way (and since we have a coyote here in the park near us, our cat stays in at night).

Love the fuzzy-headed cutie, the tiny wildflower, and the purple and green peacefulness in the first 2 photographs. The picture that you captured of the robin is definitely suitable for framing!

When will you be publishing your coffee table book of beauty?

lime said...

i love that little fuzzy headed water bird. he's just cute. i am so thoroughly impressed that you caught a coyote. wow, just wow. we have them around here but it's exceedingly rare to catch a fleeting glimpse of them much less a photo.