Unexpected Treasure

Summer arrives on its own schedule, painting the landscape a luscious green. The heat of the day keeps us tucked in a cool house, but not without restlessness. Ric offers a late afternoon drive and parks near a trail so I can wander in.

Tall oaks, beech trees, and maples create a canopy of shade. I stop to let my eyes readjust to the sudden change in light. A small creature whirs past, and I recognize the black stripes of a chipmunk.

Darn, I think. Missed it.

But the chipmunk, like me, is only seeking a cooler patch. Perched on a fallen log just beside the path, the small animal stops to enjoy a snack.

These tiny creatures never fail to delight me. An unexpected treasure making my day.

Early Morning Recharge

The dogs stir at the first hint of daylight. I rise with them, grumbling about lack of sleep, until the sun emerges full and bright – something we haven’t seen in awhile.

“I used to be a morning person,” I say out loud. I’m am feeling the unrest of being shut in.

Ric emerges just after 7:00 am and I’m tell him I’m thinking about taking the camera out.

I drive to the centre of town, where the main street bridge crosses the river. Immediately, I spot an unfamiliar shape at the water’s edge.

Back at home, I research and find this is a Yellow Legs, although not sure whether is a Lesser or Greater. Apparently, they migrate through here.

Further down the river a pair of Mallards hover over their newborns. The shadow of an eagle passing overhead sends the family scurrying for cover.

The air is still wintry cold, but my heart is warmed by the beauty of the day. At the end of the outing, I will have encountered many different species of birds, heralding the start of warmer days. With over 400 photos to process, I am bursting with renewed energy.

Thank goodness, I didn’t just go back to bed.

Autumn Blessings

Pre-camera years, I bemoaned the arrival of Autumn as Winter’s harbinger. The lens, however, has the magical ability to transform one’s perceptions. Suddenly, I have new appreciation for golden forests, and white flowers lingering against a backdrop of fallen leaves:

Even the robin, typically associated with the onset of Spring, exudes new charm amid the oranges of this inspiring season.

(For Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: open topic.)


A photo of my favourite flowers revealed that I wasn’t the only one enjoying these beauties. Can you spot the butterfly wings?

Came upon this old car, complete with costumed actors, film crew, and security. Murdoch Mysteries playing out in our little town.

A protective arm from a big sister, who only moments ago had been her greatest rival.

Life is full of many unexpected and wonderful things. It also promises to present us with challenges.

Aren’t we glad it isn’t always just what we thought!


This week’s challenge was: “Just when I thought…”. I am also linking this up to Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: unexpected, as it seems to fit.

Thank you to all of you who joined in, and whose input continues to delight me.

Word-Whelmed Woman
Stuff and what if…
one letter UP

As I link up this week’s contribution, I am struck by one name that has been missing for some time, and sadly, will not be joining us again. Hélène Valliant of Willow Poetry has passed away. Her absence weighs heavy on the hearts of many who came to know her. I know I counted her amongst my online friends.

Tomorrow’s challenge is more of a sharing than a creative endeavour. I’ll see you then.

New Baseball Fans

Baseball is big in our town. Home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, we have several diamonds, attracting ball fans from far and wide. This year, we have a family of new fans with a view of their own.

When we first spotted the nest, there appeared to be one young osprey peeking over the top. On a subsequent visit, we noted two. This photo clearly shows three, but I’m not sure we’ve seen the whole crew yet.

More entertaining to me than baseball, I confess.

(Linking up to Granny Shot It’s new challenge: Bird of the day.)

Morning Dose of Greens

The early morning sun rouses me from sleep. It’s just after six. I contemplate turning over and then remember that rain is called for later. I get up.

Still practising intermittent fasting, I won’t eat anything till 9:00, so I decide to slip on my clothes and drive through the neighbourhood, ending up by the falls. The day is warm and the air still. Three mallards glide along the river. Everything is green.

The area above the falls is known as The Flats. Here vendors are setting up for an outdoor market. A neighbourhood Lawn Bowling facility is prepping for the season’s open. The playground sits quiet.

I park and look for the baby ducks I had noted earlier in the week, but they and mom are nowhere to be seen. A blue jay flies overhead and lands nearby, but I can’t get a clear shot. The leaves have filled in lately offering the birds excellent camouflage. I decide to follow the ducks.

A lone mallard is foraging on the ledge before the water drops away. I get a few pics of him from up top and then drive around to the bottom.

A Great Blue Heron hunts in the rapids – his usual spot these days.

Red-winged blackbirds flit about on tree branches over the water, emitting their distinct call.

Grackles, ignoring the spray, perch on rocks, no doubt hoping to catch something tasty. As colourful as they are, these birds always look cranky to me.

I stay till it’s close to breakfast time. What a way to start my day!

(Linking up to my weekly challenge which is green.)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #48: Compassion

Compassion becomes real when we recognize
our shared humanity.”

– Pema Chödrön.

As a young woman, I braced myself against the world by adhering to black and whites – a judgmental stance that was not conducive to relationship building. More self-protective than self-righteous, this attitude only served as a wall, confining me to loneliness.

Then in a strange moment of altered reality, I slipped into the experience of ‘other’ and the door to compassion opened. Heart-shattering, it marked not only the start of growing appreciation for the lived experience of others, but also a softening in my perception of self.

This week, as we navigate through routine, let’s be mindful of how compassion plays a role in our lives. Respond through images, or words, or whatever creative process speaks to you.

Look forward to your posts!

To participate just create a post on your own blog, link back to this one, or leave a comment below.

Nature’s Balm

Questions flood in as evening sets, the initial shock of hearing the ‘c’ word now wearing off. I sleep little, spending way too much time with Dr. Google, without any satisfaction.

Ric is scheduled to go into town a bit later, so I take the car early and head to a new trail in our town of many. Stonetown gained its nickname from the limestone quarry here. The mined holes have been filled with water and serve as recreational landmarks. The trail here is paved and extends along the riverside.

A pair of courting cardinals dip past as I exit the car, too fast for my camera, but just the sort of serenade I need to lift my spirits. Unsure whether or not my legs will carry me very far, I am happy to see many benches a long the way.

Birdsong fills the air, no doubt in celebration of blue skies – something that has been missing for a while. Woods and running water trigger a memory from childhood, and I feel suddenly comforted. This is what I needed.

I wander in one direction and stop in awe as a party of blue jays flocks over head. Can’t ever remember seeing so many together at once.

“Please stop,” I call to the birds, “so that I might get a picture.”

Silly, I know, and it is clear that they have a collective direction, but one does eventually oblige.

A shadow passes by, and I glance up expecting to see one of the turkey vultures that have been circling. A distinctive white head and tail skirt alerts me to a much more regal presence: a bald eagle!

Sadly, I’m too shaky today for any of my eagle images to turn out, but I am confident I’ll find him again. He continues to circle as I carry on, tiring quickly. I decide to have one more sit and then leave, but as I lower myself onto the bench I see a kingfisher perched on a branch not too far away.

Of course he is gone by the time I ready my camera. Kingfishers here tend to be elusive. My eye catches a pair of birdhouses and on a pole nearby the flutter of iridescent wings – swallows.

The swallows will be my last capture for this outing.

Time to go home and get some rest.

My heart is full of gratitude.