Category Archives: spring

Little rays of hope

Spring seems to be delaying her full arrival here in the Maritimes; but there are little rays of hope.

In the fields full of dandelions…

Dandelion Fields Forever

Or little individual blossoms…

Even in the seed heads past their prime, there is hope. Hope for the summer to come. Hope that the bees find the flowers and drink heartily. Hope for warmth and sunshine and hope for more flowers as well.

 

Dandelion Seed Head spreading the joy.

There is also hope in the lilac blooms finally appearing on the shrubs.

And in the tiny white flowers on the trees…

In other words, it is the season of hope, the season for dreaming and planning for the future. It is the season when we can finally venture outdoors without quite so many layers of warm clothes and, when the sun does shine, it is the season when we feel its warmth on our skin.

Spring does bring us little rays of hope with each lengthening day.

 

 

 

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Odes have been written to Spring

Flood waters of the St. John River near Maugerville, NB May 18, 2017

For centuries poets around the world have written odes to the beauty of spring. Spring, the re-birth of the world after a long, cold and dreary winter. Spring, the beginning of warmth and strong sunshine. Spring, the season of hope.

Beautiful blossoms

Trees of all sorts have been pushing forth their amazing blossoms, some setting fruit for the coming season.

But Mother Nature has been less than cooperative this year. The temperature outside is bitterly cold for late May. We have the heat turned on, the windows closed and I’ve dug out the heavy blankets for the bed – again.

Ever optimistic, the canopy rests on the deck, the bistro table and chairs are ready for morning coffee. The hummingbird feeder has been hung for quite a while – with only one lone, occasional visitor.

Spring? This is a cruel joke this year. Cold, heavy rains and strong winds would discourage the most optimistic of souls.

Spring? Where are you? Come back, please? And may summer follow you to warm our bodies and our souls!

 

Also posted in appreciation, BLOG, New Brunswick, photography, seasons

Magical time in Ireland

Spring arrives earlier in Ireland than it does here on Canada’s east coast. The flowers were beginning to bloom and the trees had fresh leaves – no doubt providing hiding places for all of the “little people” that the country is famous for.

Trinity College Library, Dublin

No trip to Ireland would be complete, for a writer, without a visit to the famous Trinity College Library. Standing in that massive hall gazing up and beyond over the thousands of books displayed was not unlike a religious experience. Did these authors share the doubts that we neophyte writers feel? Probably. But to see so many books of such historic significance was awe inspiring. I could have just sat there all day soaking it in.

Grafton Street

Just around the corner from Trinity College modern life exists in the vibrant centre of the city. Local residents and tourists alike roam the streets shopping, listening to street entertainers, hustling from place to place and, of course, dropping in to one (or more) of the ubiquitous pubs! Life in Dublin isn’t all about history!

Sligo

After five days in Dublin, attending workshops, site seeing, getting coaching from #GerardCollins and writing we headed out for a tour of the west country. The first stop was in Sligo for a quick walk about and a pub lunch. Narrow streets, ancient buildings and charming people made for an interesting, if short, time.

Sligo

 

17th century Parkes Castle on the banks of Lough Gill

An intriguing site to roam around and explore. Once we’d done that we headed out for a tour of the Lake aboard the #RoseofInisfree – known as the subject of several poems by Yeats.

The thatched-roof blacksmith’s shop within the castle walls.

 

Parkes Castle as seen from the lake.

Thank goodness for photos that allow us to remember at least some of what we saw on our whirlwind tour of western Ireland!

Also posted in BLOG, seasons, Tourism, Travel, writing Tagged , |

April on the Emerald Isle

What a month! I spent the last 10 days of April in Ireland, the Emerald Isle! And there they really have spring. In the ten days between April 20th and 30th the trees went from buds and tiny leaves to full blown foliage.

I went to Ireland with a group of writers for a retreat called #GoandWriteIreland led by #GerardCollins. Aside from the opportunity to see some of #Ireland and experience the culture, it was a chance to improve my writing under the guidance of an experienced author and teacher and to spend time with like-minded people.

Immersion into the culture began with our arrival at the airport in Dublin. The country is bilingual Irish/English with the original Irish (Gaelic) taught as part of the public education system to retain and revive the language. At the airport, and as we found out later, throughout the country, signs are posted in both languages.

Bilingual sign at Dublin airport

We spent our first five days at the #ClotarfCastleHotel – an impressive structure created from the ruins of the original castle.

One feature that I particularly liked was the castle’s “art trail”. According to their brochure, “Art is not an afterthought…it’s an immersive journey that will help you unlock the story of one of Ireland’s most unique castle hotels…carefully curated collection brimming with curiousities and waiting to be encountered.” The hotel commissioned local artists, including photographers, to create works that reflect the culture and history of the region.

Castle ruins and remains of churches, abbeys and other structures are everywhere in Ireland. Just behind our hotel there was a graveyard with inhabitants that had been buried as long as 300 years ago and as recently as a very few years ago – a strange counterpoint between the old and new.

I wandered there several times seeking peace of mind and wondering about the stories captured in the walls and tombstones. Some commemorated the burial of whole families, while others were ostentatious in their singularity.

The roof on the chapel is long gone, and you are barred from entry to certain sections – no doubt for your own safety. But still, it must have been impressive when it was whole.

And from the churchyard the castle was visible – overlooking all around it all the way to the harbour and the Irish Sea.

 

 

Also posted in BLOG, photography, seasons, writing Tagged , |

Spring IS in the air

Crab Apple Blossom

Take a walk down any country road or tree-lined city street and there’s no doubt that spring IS in the air. Inhale deeply and revel in the sweet smell of spring blossoms. In the Town of Sussex (NB), crab apple trees line many streets and, for a few brief days, provide a kaleidoscope of colour and a riot of scents to assail your senses.

Bees do it!

Bees are ecstatic to find so many sources of nectar. Their little wings beating rapidly you can almost hear their joyous slurping as the zoom among the blossoms.

Row upon row

Even Maple Street is lined with Crab Apple Trees interspersed with the traditional maples – providing spring colour now and the other trees decorating the landscape in fall.

At home I can enjoy another spring favourite – lilacs. Unlike the crab apple blossoms, these flowers last more than a few days, delighting one and all with both their vibrant pale purple hues and sweet scent.

Ah yes, it’s spring!

Also posted in BLOG, photography, seasons

Happiness is a warm and sunny day

For me, happiness is a warm and sunny day. I grabbed my camera and roamed around the yard looking for signs of spring – new growth in the garden, sprigs of green grass. And I found them.

Rosehips copyThe shrivelled remains of last year’s roses were still clinging to thorny branches even as this year’s buds were beginning to form.

Black Eyed Susan copyA cluster of Black Eyed Susan centers remain for the birds to nibble on until the new growth appears.

Sedum copyAnd new Sedum buds are pushing up from the thawing ground through the remnants of last year’s display – left through the winter to feed whatever bugs or birds may have needed a snack.

Days like today bring hope and happiness. Now, to head out and enjoy the rest of it!

 

 

 

Also posted in BLOG, photography, seasons Tagged |

Time flies

Wisteria: beauty and beast in one!

Wisteria: beauty and beast in one!

April came to an end and with that a trip to the west coast to visit the grand family in Vancouver. Leaving the dreary cold of winter’s detritus behind I boarded a west-bound plane for ten days of family time with my son, daughter-in-law and grandkids, while enjoying the lush greenery and gardens only found in Canada’s western-most province.

As usual it was culture shock. While the ground at home in NB was either muddy brown or still buried under feet of no-longer-white snow, lawns there were a vibrant green, lilacs were in bloom and tree canopies were filled with leaves everywhere in Vancouver. The temperature hovered in the mid-teens (Celsius) and, for most of the time, the sun shone every afternoon.

It was while wandering in my son’s back yard that I discovered the beautiful wisteria. Vines draped artfully along the top of his fence, purple pods beckoned and I envisioned creating a private bower at home. Then I had a look at www.gardenista.com/posts/plant-of-the-week-wisteria.

There I learned the terrible truth about this otherwise beautiful plant. The writer says (among other things) “The dark side of this vine has to do with its amazing visor and the ability for its tendrils to travel swiftly underground, popping up far away from the main plant, and devilishly wrapping around trees, rose buses or virtually anything else that is in their path and standing still.” Hmm. Perhaps I’d best re-think that bright idea. Not being much of a gardener, I’m sure the wretched thing would get away from me and attempt world domination.

So, in the meantime, since our lilacs have barely begun to show buds, I’ll have to simply enjoy the photos I brought home until our own plants burst forth with flowers and fragrance.

Vancouver 2015 _MG_0020 - Version 2-1024px

As mid-May approaches there is hope for sunnier and warmer days.

Also posted in appreciation, BLOG, family, gardening, grandchildren, learning Tagged , , |

Spring has finally sprung, I think

bud in spring_web _L2H1296

I have yet to photograph fresh buds this year, but this one from last spring will have to sustain us for now.

This week, for the first time this year, the sun has shone brightly for several consecutive days, the temperatures have been above zero, the mountains of snow are dwindling and there is a feeling of hope and cheer that spring has finally arrived. The sun is rising earlier each day and setting later, and there is strength and warmth in its beams. In the early morning the trees glow pink in the rising sun, hinting at much better things to come.

For photographers it means getting up a bit earlier to capture those early morning moments in the warmth of the sunlight. But for those who prefer sunset, and don’t go to bed early, the evenings hold the promise of golden light on whatever subject you choose.

The warmer weather is arriving so grab your gear and get out there – to walk, to enjoy nature and to make photographs to sustain you through the long and dismal winter months. Smile, feel the sun on your face, and breathe deeply to refresh your soul. Spring is a time of renewal, and after the unending and dreadful winter many of us on the east coast have endured this year, we need it.

_L2H2090geeselanding_web

Also posted in BLOG, New Brunswick, photography, seasons, snow

What a difference a year makes!

Last year on this date I captured photos of migrating geese in a corn field in Roachville, NB.

Migrating Canada Geese, Roachville, NB, 2014

Migrating Canada Geese, Roachville, NB, 2014

Today, one year to the day later, Hubby and I went for a drive and I captured some shots of migrating geese in the same fields.

_L2H5946 _L2H5977 _L2H5984 _L2H5990

As geese and other migrating birds return north after (sensibly) spending their winter in a less hostile environment, finding food sources is a little more difficult this year. Most territory is still buried in snow making it difficult to get at any seeds, grubs, worms or other suitable food. Still, hundreds of geese were arriving, honking loudly for all to hear!

Also posted in BLOG, New Brunswick, photography, seasons, snow Tagged , , |

It’s spring – somewhere

It's spring.  The calendar says so.
It’s spring.
The calendar says so.

The calendar and all of the media pundits cheerfully announced that spring officially arrived two days ago. Sadly, I think they forgot to tell Mother Nature to kick Old Man Winter out – way out. Snowbanks in our neck of the woods range from 8-10 feet high and many well exceed 25 feet. The world is white.

My husband spent two hours in the wee hours of the morning clearing the walkway and driveway of the latest snowfall from last night. Since he has to work a night shift tonight, he’s napping right now. Imagine his excitement when he wakes up to discover that, although the snowfall has abated a bit, the winds have increased dramatically and the temperature is plummeting. The howling wind has blissfully filled in all the places that he cleared earlier today with drifts of snow. I suspect he will be less than happy when he opens his eyes.

In my next life, should the fates determine that I have to live in an area that suffers severe winters, I want to be reincarnated as a bear. They get to gorge on food to fatten up for the season, hibernate through the worst of the winter, birth their young while semi-conscious mostly unaware of the process, and roar loudly when they’ve had enough of the #never-ending-winter! Sounds good to me.

In the meantime, I’ll crank up the propane fireplace, grab the cat, a good book, a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea and make the best of it. See y’all when spring actually arrives.

Also posted in BLOG, Canada, cold, New Brunswick, seasons, winter Tagged , , |