Thursday, January 26, 2017

This Crisp Winter Air

It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.
~John Burroughs

December and January have been roller coaster months as far as temperatures go. We've had bitter cold nights, unseasonably warm days and a fair bit of rain, freezing rain and snow. Below are some frosty window scenes interspersed with general images of winter in Peterborough.

Pour yourself a coffee, bundle up for the cold and enjoy the photos.

The frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind.
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
A dull day serves as a monochrome backdrop for winter's fine artwork.

little lake warm colours
Thank goodness for the first snow, it was a reminder--no matter how old you became and how much you'd seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered. ~ Candace Bushnell
A crisp winter morning along the shores of Little Lake

How beautiful thy frosty morn,
When brilliant gems each feathery thorn!
~ Bernard Barton
This is how my window appeared one morning as the sun was just beginning to rise.

exclamation point
A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
~ Carl Reiner
Every now and then, Donald Trump actually forgets to end one of his tweets with an exclamation point. Here's one which escaped his incessant Twitter fingers. This errant, frozen punctuation mark was found floating past the Peterborough shoreline. "Sad!"

night frost4
The frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind.
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
This frosty window with the moon behind it reminded me of lemmings about to throw themselves off a cliff. Thankfully. there's a feathery-soft landing awaiting them.

winter waterfront
Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen. ~ Willa Cather
The view across the river and lake will take your eye to the east side of the city where Quaker Oats is busy churning out overly-sweet-smelling oatmeal.

icy window 2
What miracle of weird transforming
Is this wild work of frost and light,
This glimpse of glory infinite?
~ John Greenleaf Whittier
There was a lot of ice on our streets on this day. We'd had hours of freezing rain overnight and we awoke to this on our window panes. My son, Alex was staying with me and had plans to drive home that day. This page which appeared in my Facebook feed convinced him to wait until the day warmed enough for a significant melt. The first video shows a kid zooming past my apartment building. I could see both Alex's car and my own in the parking lots. Do click.

concrete couch through laneway
Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery. ~ Bill Watterson
This is a peek between two buildings belonging to the Art Gallery of Peterborough. That sofa sits out there facing the lake all year long - it's made of concrete.

moon frost2
One breathy vowel
mists the glass warming window
panes crystallized with snow
~ Robin Glasse
Another moonshot with a confusion of images etched into the frost. What do you see?

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
The kids' playground is mostly abandoned throughout winter. Swing seats are padded with fresh puffs of snow.

One winter morning I awoke to see magnificent lines of frost stretching across my window panes. They seemed to rise with the sunshine and the bitter cold outside. They looked like little miracles that had been formed in the dark of the night. I watched them in sheer amazement and marveled that such beautiful forms could be born during such a winter-cold night. ~ Joyce Rupp
I find it difficult to stop taking photos of my frosty windows. If winter is lemons, this is my lemonade.

bare trees
Winter teetered on the verge of succumbing to the returning sun, but today the breeze still preferred the touch of snowflakes. ~ Rue
Bare branches against the partly-cloudy sky. Some days it only takes a matter of moments until you have entirely different weather.

moon frost3
These Winter nights against my window-pane
Nature with busy pencil draws designs
Of ferns and blossoms and fine spray of pines,
Oak-leaf and acorn and fantastic vines,
Which she will make when summer comes again--
Quaint arabesques in argent, flat and cold,
Like curious Chinese etchings.
~ Thomas Bailey Aldrich
It looked to me like birds landing atop the cedars but it's only the frost so delightfully backlit by the moon.

wintry little lake2
It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.
~ John Burroughs
Snowy shoreline on a late winter afternoon. The gulls and ducks seem unaffected by the cold.

night frost3
Frost grows on the window glass, forming whorl patterns of lovely translucent geometry.
Breathe on the glass, and you give frost more ammunition.
Now it can build castles and cities and whole ice continents with your breath's vapor.
In a few blinks you can almost see the winter fairies moving in . . .
But first, you hear the crackle of their wings.
~ Vera Nazarian
One more moonlit frosted window. Let your imagination take flight.

I'll have more winter images for you before too much longer. No doubt there will be more frosted windows among them. More coffee?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Each Night A Luster

Kindle the taper like the steadfast star ablaze on evening's forehead o'er the earth, and add each night a luster till afar an eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth. ~ Emma Lazarus

So we're a little past the holiday season and as usual, I'm behind in posting my photos. I hope you'll bear with me as I share images from the the eight nights of Hanukkah. A few photos from a recent day trip to Mississauga will be sprinkled in with them.

Hanukkah first night 2016
On Hanukkah, the first dark night, light yourself a candle bright. I'll you, if you will me invite, to dance within that gentle light.
~ Nicholas Gordon
First Night: The menorah is all set to share the scene with a small Christmas tree in the background and a bottle of wine closer at hand.

Bare branches of each tree
on this chilly January morn
look so cold so forlorn.
Gray skies dip ever so low
left from yesterday's dusting of snow.
Yet in the heart of each tree
waiting for each who wait to see
new life as warm sun and breeze will blow,
like magic, unlock springs sap to flow,
buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow.
~ Nelda Hartmann
Beautiful Lake Wabukayne. My son, Alex and I took a tour around my old neighbourhood. This was the small lake in Mississauga where I spent countless hours photographing creatures of all kinds - just steps from my old door. We were in town for a family Hanukkah party and had a bit of time to kill. What better way than to take a walk around the paths of our past?

Hanukkah second night 2016
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~Chinese Proverb
Second Night: Night number two landed on Christmas. Alex was with me and you can see that plates were piled high with turkey, potatoes and other goodies. Wine and gravy each wait their turn to be poured, and a wine goblet makes a nice home for my spiced orange flavoured cranberry sauce.

Wabukayne bird hours
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. ~ Andrew Wyeth
Here's a new addition to my old surroundings. Many of the trees around the lake have acquired bird houses. That should help encourage nesting for the winged lovelies.

Hanukkah third night2 2016
Put on your yarmulke, Here comes Hanukkah! So much funukah, To celebrate Hanukkah! ~ Adam Sandler
Third Night: Hanukkah humour to tickle the funny bone. Both cards came from neighbours.

Wabukayne my trees
The trees down the boulevard stand naked in thought,
Their abundant summery wordage silenced, caught
In the grim undertow; naked the trees confront
Implacable winter's long, cross-questioning brunt.
~ D. H. Lawrence
My beautiful trees, still standing sentry for those who walk the paths of Wabukayne. I have photographed this spot so many times - in every season.

Hanukkah fourth night 2016
The darkness of the whole world cannot swallow the glowing of a candle. ~ Robert Altinger
Fourth Night: Reminders of dragonflies in summer - and an owl that doesn't give a hoot which season we're in.

snowy bench
The Winter frowned
Its icy eyebrows
~ Florentin Smarandache
There are far better seasons to stop and sit.

Hanukkah fifth night2 2016
A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other.
You are such a light. ~ Moshe Davis
Fifth Night: This fan belonged to my maternal Grandmother. It adorns a window ledge along with other keepsakes - a tiny set of brass goblets and decanter from my mother, tea candle holders and an old oil can from yard sales.

Wabukayne 2
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.
~ Christina Rossetti
I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to revisit my beautiful oasis, from time to time.

Hanukkah sixth night 2016-4
Now, near the Winter Solstice, it is good to light candles. All the nice meanings of bringing light to the world can be beautiful. But perhaps we are concentrating on lighting the world because we don't know how to light up our own lives. ~ Ralph Levy
Sixth Night: A different window ledge and a small collection of turquoise and blue.

I please myself with the graces of the winter scenery, and believe that we are as much touched by it as by the genial influences of summer.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Spindle berries were only beginning to fade around the edges. They keep their colour so beautifully through the earlier part of winter.

Hanukkah seventh night 2016 3
Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call. ~ Richard Lewis
Seventh Night: Once again the tree makes its appearance in the background and a couple of birds enjoy the glow of the almost-full menorah.

milkweed pod
It is deep January. The sky is hard.
The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.
It is in this solitude, a syllable,
Out of these gawky flitterings,
Intones its single emptiness,
The savagest hollow of winter-sound.
~ Wallace Stevens
A solitary milkweed pod soaking up some of the winter afternoon sunlight.

Hanukkah eighth night 2016
Colourful candles burning bright, each lit on eight very special nights. ~ Unknown
Eighth Night: This is the first year that I can remember being home for all eight nights of Hanukkah. On this final evening, I am glad to be able to share the kindling of the candles with all of you. Thank you for joining me for this season of light - here on the blog and in Facebook.

More winter photos coming up before you can say "Jack Frost."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I Am Grateful

I live in a loving, abundant, harmonious, universe and I am grateful.
~ Louise Hay

One day, between Christmas and New Year's Day, I decided to go out into the the freshly-fallen snow for a bit of a wander. The temperature was pleasant enough and I figured I would end up at one of my two usual destinations. I headed south for the river but while walking along the sidewalk, I happened to notice something which had somehow eluded me before. 

A lane. A simple lane which paralleled the streets on either side of it. A walking space between the fences of neighbourhood back yards. The fresh snow made it stand out to me and I decided to accept its unspoken invitation to walk it instead of my originally intended destination. An intense wave of nostalgia washed over me, bringing me back to my childhood in Montreal where so many of these back street lanes existed. We often walked much of our way home from school through one lane or another. I felt very grateful for this wistful memory, and now I know that I will have to explore Peterborough much more carefully from now on.

cutie daughter father snowman
As I exited the lane, I decided to zig instead of zag. This brought me another gift on this lovely winter's day. A father and child were busy putting finishing touches on their snowy masterpiece.

cutie with snowman2
The little girl was quick to advise me that she had done almost all of this creation herself. Dad stood back and allowed me to engage his sweet daughter in chitchat, and I learned all about the importance of having the right eyes, nose and apparel when planning to make a snowman.

sidewalk ends
I continued along the same street and came upon its apparent end - or so the sign said.

toward lock 19
The sidewalk may have ended but the walking path did not. I have been walking in this area for nearly a year and a half but I never opted to walk in this direction along this particular street before. This brought me to gift number three.

lock 19 Scotts Mills3
This lovely walking path along the river's edge was leading up to one of Peterborough's many locks - #19 in Scott's Mills.

lock 19 Scotts Mills2
The locks are only in use during the warmer months but it still made for an interesting outing and an unexpected treat just a few minutes from my place.

picnic on hold
Of course, picnics were also on hold for the winter. These tables were set up a little like dominoes.

near lock 19
On the way back, I stopped to admire a fallen tree dusted by the recent snow.

droplets and snow
The day was warming up a bit and snow was beginning to melt despite new flakes gently adding to the landscape.

cuties snowman2
Hopefully the snowman lasted a few more days.

I returned to the locks again a few days later, and I'll have some of those photos for you, among others, before too long.

Thank you, Universe for bestowing these three gift upon me on that day.

I am indeed grateful.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

In an Ordinary Place

To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. ~ Elliot Erwitt

Once again, I have an odd collection of items kind of left over on my drive. Some of them are food related (yeah, food leftovers!) and others are just oddities that caught my attention for one reason or another.

Let's start with food - in case you're hungry and are trying to decide what to eat.

This is one of those one minute video recipes you find in Facebook from time to time. When I happen upon one, I usually watch it, think that it sounds good and then promptly forget about it. In this case, I decided to save the page and cook it up. I might have altered the recipe to suit what I had - I definitely left out the cilantro because I'm one of that small percentage of the population who has an aversion to it - that stuff tastes like burnt plastic to me. I kept the avocado out of the cooking process so it would be less mushy. I just added it on top in the end, ground some pepper over it and sprinkled it with fresh lime. Delicious!

fresh eggsMore food in the form of fresh eggs from Carol Anne and Michael's chickens which reside in their back yard. I keep all my suitable fresh food scraps for them and in return, I'll get occasional egg offerings.

fresh eggs4
And they're pretty yummy!

egg muffins
This was a recipe I once got from my favourite namesake over at Crazy as a Loom. Essentially, they're scrambled eggs baked in muffin cups. I have no idea what I've done with that recipe but there are plenty of options available online. They took a little more time and care than standard scrambled eggs do, but they worked out well and were fun to have for company.

What is it
Let's have a bit of fun. No scrolling any further now - what do you think this is?

What it is
Did you guess? This concludes our breakfast theme for today. Grab that cup of hot coffee and enjoy the rest of the post.

This was a fun little shop in the small town of Maynooth, just north of where I had been living for a couple of years.

I was on a small lakefront beach, south of Bancroft when this Hercules jet made one of its semi-regular, fairly low, thundering flyovers in the summer of 2015.

Unintentional Placement
This is a cell phone capture. I was waiting in my doctor's office a couple of years ago when I noticed these two unrelated information flyers clipped to the wall. I was certain that someone with a sense of humour had placed them together like that intentionally but when I pointed it out to the nurse practitioner, she assured me that she had hung them herself and had never noticed how one seemed to reach into the other. Gotta love the unintentional but amusing placement.

Because of the kind of business he's in, my younger son, Alex meets a lot of performers and he very rarely gets starstruck. He has taken meeting some very big musical names in stride. This past July 1, he excitedly texted me from a Canada Day show he was doing with "I just got Fred Penner's AUTOGRAPH!!" For non-Canadians, the only American children's entertainer to whom I could possible compare Fred Penner is another Fred - Mr. Rogers. They have similar philosophies and concern for kids' self-esteem. Plus, he's a singer and songwriter, actor and author. His CBC morning television show through the 1990s, Fred Penner's Place was must-see TV for my boys. And their dad and I made sure that his music was often played in the car during road trips - even after the kids had nodded off to sleep. Anyway, it was no surprise to me that the wonderful Fred Penner had made such a deep and long-lasting impression on my unflappable, heavy metal-loving son. And my other boy was also pleased and impressed that Alex got to meet him. I can't blame them one bit.
Fred Penner signature
 Anyway, this is where Alex happened to collect his autograph - on the back of his cell phone's Otter Box which he now leaves at home so he won't compromise the signature. Never mind that his phone is now vulnerable - the autograph is safe!

Skitty glasses
A few years ago, I uploaded a couple of photos of my cats to order my own cosmetic bag design. I use it all the time. This is my dear, departed Skitty on the front and there's an image of Zephyr on the other side. On this day, I had briefly taken off my glasses for some reason and laid them to rest on the zippered bag. It was only when I looked down to reclaim them that I noticed that it appeared as if Skitty boy was wearing them. He was always a very amusing cat and even though he's gone, he still manages to make me laugh. I deeply miss that sweet boy.

Little Lake Sunset
I'll close with a photo I took with my phone one day a year ago, when walking around Little Lake with Carol Anne. It was one of those rare times that I didn't have my camera but my phone still came through for me.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that 2017 is a great year for one and all!