My daily walks up the road are always a pleasure. Well, mostly always. Sometimes, if its just plummeting rain, my pleasure is dampened (so to speak). But today it was a real pleasure, as the leaves dappled the road, and the sun was still slanting through the trees, even if weakened by the light overcast.
In places, like the spot in the photo, there was a little light on the road, which struck me as this morning as a fine metaphor of how life works— a little light here and there. Not alway blazing brilliant light, but light all the same. And then the road curves in to the shadier spots.
The patches of light are exquisite— I love and appreciate them— their clear colour and beauty, but even in the shadier spots there are marvelous things to see: moss and mushrooms, lichens, winter wrens chattering and woodpeckers flitting. These treasures were certainly present today and interestingly, they were for the most part, in the darker, less glorious places.
The rain has started in earnest now. Its not a gentle sprinkling as we had overnight but a proper and welcome rain, pounding on the roof.
There was a brief pause between the overnight showers and this more definite, steady downfall, and it was in that pause I went out with the dogs, on our usual morning round. In the southeast there was one tiny window in the clouds, the lower edge gilded by the sun rising behind. That window is now tight shut, but it provided a lovely glimpse of the light that’s ever present, even while obscured.
This afternoon a small grouping of mergansers was patrolling the shallows. I’ve been watching for their return, and am so happy to see them fishing close to shore, faces immersed, and diving the instant they catch sight of a morsel.
Just after I retrieved my camera , something startled them, and off they went in a fabulous flurry of wings and water— a spectacular splash of colour and light. I didn’t have time to re-set my camera, so caught what I could. Watching wildlife we are given whatever glimpses there are. And this was definitely one. A great delight.
Yesterday afternoon’s dog walk we ended up back at the beach. The water was completely still— so unusual. And a very thin mist, not quite fog, hung over the Strait. It looked so much like sea and sky melted into each other as though there was no horizon at all. Or just barely so. I can actually see it, and also a ferry approaching the Pass. Its almost obscured, but not quite.
What I love about this scene is the range of blues, from pale, soft, through a rich royal blue, and into the deep indigo in the foreground.
And I love the suggestion of there not being a horizon at all… which is true. Once you get there, its still just as far away…
The fresh young cedar draws its nourishment from the grand old stump. Forest life and its poignant beauty this afternoon was just what I needed, apparently. I’d been pensive, aware of the passing of time, and the losses that means, the people and generations gone. The thinning of the fog invited me out with my camera, and I’m so grateful for the hour outside both in the beach and in the woods.
The fog itself wasn’t the focus of most of today’s photos (though I did get some of those too). Instead I meandered, with my camera, in the woods, and the slant of light pointed me to some of the beauties that I’d have missed if my gaze hadn’t been directed to them by the shafts of sun, like a spotlight that’s ever changing, every day, every minute, and season to season, moving on.
This image seemed particularly apt, given my earlier pensiveness, and the shifting light and mists and all. And in the midst of it, hope. And new life emerging in unexpected places.
As the sun lowers, the path entering the little ‘quiet corner’ of our garden is particularly inviting — the sunlight glowing through the leaves, and the variety of colours dappling the path itself, and one lone vibrant fuschia — It all suggests something of the beauty of the space on the other side of the small archway…
Spending a few days in ‘town’ offers a chance to walk the paths along Mosquito Creek. The delight of these walks comes not only from the beauty alongside the tumbling creek-water, but the poignancy of recognizing these are likely last days before the green leaves the trees (so to speak). The sunlight shining through the still vibrant green is more precious perhaps because these days are so limited. But its not only the colour and light. For me its also their shadow patterns on the path — constantly shifting, and intriguing.
The photo above is one of my favourite points on the trail where it diverges around a grand moss-clothed maple. To the left it goes down to the creek itself. To the right, up to the road. The main trail is straight ahead, past the maple, following alongside the creek.
Last week we ventured out to Salamanca Point. The access path opened to a stunning view— the open strait, from NW to SE— but it was the tafoni that was particularly awesome. Galiano’s sandstone shores are a great place to study tafoni — the intriguing shapes sculpted in the sandstone— but I think this particular spot is one of the best on the island.
The slant of the afternoon sun called attention to the variety of shapes with patterns of shadow and light, gentle curves and straight lines, the regular pitting and the random swoops and hollows.
Watch for further photos of tafoni in later posts. Its one of my favourite ‘subjects’.
I’ve been asked about the image on my Curious Spectacles Welcome Page, so I thought it best to post a special post to respond to the question.
The photo is a close up of a piece of arbutus bark that caught my eye. It was quite a large curl of the delicate and brittle skin that’s characteristic of those precious trees, and I was struck not just by the size and colour, but by its own ‘eye’ design as though it were looking back at me.
I figured it was an auspicious image*, just the right thing for this blog.
*I’ve enlarged and edited the photo to simplify the pattern, using Topaz Simplify with Aperture (my main photo app).
Every morning is different. And beautiful. My early morning venture out with ‘the girls’ (our two Golden Retrievers) is not only for their benefit. Clearly. It is for me too, as I breathe the morning air, and revel in the daily beauty. Today again, the stillness of the water, the reflections of the clouds, the congregation of gulls on the rocks, the warm glow of the rising sun— all of it.
Soon perhaps, it’ll be winter storms, biting cold wind, and raucous waves. But for now, this is what we have. And its glorious.
These daily excursions outside and the morning by morning-ness of the wonders I see remind me of a line of an old and fine hymn that remains with me: ‘…morning by morning new mercies I see…’ Maybe that’s the tune for the day today…?
glimpses of the extraordinary amidst an ordinary day