Maybe because we’ve waited so long for spring this year, or maybe its just that these wonders are more precious with each passing year, but surely the delicate beauty of the huckleberry buds opening has never been quite so breathtakingly beautiful to me.
Usually the ducks and shorebirds take refuge and find quiet spots where its safe to seek their nourishment. But not these two I saw yesterday. While the NE Wind blew over 40knots, and the waves crashed ashore in the sandstone shallows, a lone female Goldeneye cruised through the tossing waves and dove and fished and bobbed bravely continuing her search for a good meal. And on the rocks above, a single Killdeer stood stoutly in the face of the oncoming sea.
Watching these small birds I was struck by how spirited— even audacious— they were in the face of such powerful forces of wind and sea.
In the wintry chill of New Year’s Day afternoon we walked the trail to the beach from the Heritage Forest, down to Sticks Allison road and along the beach access. Its a favourite walk of ours particularly because of the way the little stream runs alongside the path. Where the trail opens to the sandstone shore, the fresh runoff of the stream fans out onto the sandstone and joins the Salish Sea.
The photo above was taken when it was nearly dark, with just the dim available light. It was far too cold to set up tripod and adjust camera settings— fingers and toes were quite thoroughly numb!! The result is, to me, a happy accident.
It wasn’t what I was looking for. I was after a photo of a Northern Flicker. But— as I carefully crept along beneath the trees to get close enough for a photo, a flash of a different orange caught my eye.
Nestled in the hollow core of a very old fir stump was a beautiful fan of orange and yellow mushroom. Turns out it is known as a ‘Conifer Chicken of the Woods’ (Laetiporus conifericola). I’ve seen it before growing on trunks of decaying fir trees, sometimes quite spectacularly, but the appeal of this sighting was accented by its cozy home low down, inside the empty round of the stump.
If I’d not been pursuing the Flicker, I may well have missed this beauty! I didn’t get the Flicker. He was long gone by the time I’d finished photographing the ‘Chicken of the Woods’.
(Note: The inside of the stump was in shadow in the morning, so I returned later in the day when the sun was higher to get the photo above.)
At first when I noticed one of my roses nodding its head, I was disappointed to miss seeing the glory of it’s opening blossom, but after a closer look, it occurred to me that perhaps it was a good gift that the rose was offering: the display of the detail and texture of its oft ignored side.
The gentle curve, the delicate shading of the petals, the texture of the sepals with their furred edge… I wouldn’t have noticed had I been distracted by a more ordinary perspective. This other side of the rose was intriguing, and stunning in its simple beauty.
Have you been similarly surprised by the beauty of looking at something from a different angle?
During my school days, our Headmistress would often urge us to notice what’s around us saying, ‘Even the thorn bush by the wayside is ablaze with the glory of God.’ I’ve come to appreciate over the years that she was absolutely right.
Today I was reminded of this as I saw, not a ‘thorn bush’ but an ordinary drainage ditch, ‘blazing’ with beauty: colour, texture and pattern.
I have intentionally adjusted the photo above with texture and colour as I contemplated the beauty on display. The red colours in the weeds to the right were actually there, and brighter. I’ve muted them so as not to ‘take over’ the image as a whole. It’s the raindrop circles that particularly entranced me— the way they refracted and reflected the light.
Colour and beauty are strewn everywhere— even in the depths of winter and in the unlikely and seemingly inhospitable spots— Its all right there for us to ‘behold’ .
During the past week of crisp weather, the frost coated most everything rendering the world in a muted colour palette. But as the sunlight warmed the places it shone, colours emerged more intensely than ever.
The photo above shows what I mean: the melting frost revealed the most gorgeous, brilliant colours of the small succulent plants that cling tight to the steep sandstone banks.
I’m surrounded by the creative hand, revealing unexpected beauty in even the flotsam the washes in with the tide— this particular piece of such grace-given beauty is hanging above a friend’s workbench where it serves as a reminder and inspiration.
Here’s the NEWS!
A further note of gratitude today: I finally figured out, or at least mades some progress in posting web galleries. I’ve put a menu up top of my Curious Spectacles Blog, and also want to include the link to my Galleries page here.
I’ll be posting more galleries now that I’ve got the process figured out (mostly… still learning!)
With the very encouraging response to my offering of photo prints, cards, and more at the Galiano Saturday Market this summer, I’ve started offering my photo prints and cards for sale. You can let me know if there’s anything on the Gallery Pages or anywhere else that you’re interested in obtaining a photo print or some photo cards. Just drop me a note / email, or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!
Warm good wishes from the Curious Spectacles Studio!
This pattern of wrinkled humps of seaweed on the rising tide is relatively unusual. It takes several different weather and tide conditions conspiring together to create it.
It goes something like this: First, a southeast wind must blow at low enough tide to accumulate a build up of copious amounts of sea lettuce on the beach. Then, the further receding tide must distribute that sea lettuce over a large patch of the shallow sloping sand, a few inches thick. Then, day must be hot enough to dry the surface of the sea lettuce while the tide has ebbed. The third requirement is that the wind drop, allowing a calm windless period while the tide rises. The result is that the thick layer of sea lettuce is moved slowly from beneath, while the baked-dry surface of the sea lettuce layer is more resistant to movement, and makes for these extraordinary folds.
To me it looks something like colourful elephant skin. Or perhaps a satellite photo of mountain ridges. Or the flowing of some strange green river flowing from the distant rocks… What do you think??
glimpses of the extraordinary amidst an ordinary day