Their Last Days

A week shy of Thanksgiving, the fall colours in the Ottawa Valley are just starting, but what a start.

They’re smooth and lumpy.

They’re partial and complete.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Built Stuff, Photos of Flora, Photos of Landscapes | Tagged , | 14 Comments

The Nominees are . . .


To solve last week’s puzzle I trudged-by-car to the west end on Friday afternoon. In anticipation of our major east/west thruway being closed for a freeway-bridge replacement this weekend, every driver in the National Capital Area had apparently decided — in a terrible example of synchronicity at its worst — to preemptively divert to an often-busy-but-usually-passable east/west road down in my part of the City.

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Posted in Another Thing, Day-to-Day Encounters, Laughing Frequently, Photos of Built Stuff, Photos of Faces | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Fleece Face

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

It’s a standard disclaimer in the financial-management business, but I didn’t know until just now that it’s a Rule.

SEC Rule 156 requires mutual funds to tell investors
not to base their expectations of future results
on past performance before they invest. – Forbes

Of course, the Rule applies to many things beyond investments: cooking (especially if one is, ahem, inclined to the casual with respect to recipe adherence), birdwatching, and any artistic endeavour.

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Posted in Laughing Frequently, Photos of Faces | Tagged | 17 Comments

Flesh Flies

Ah, the common flesh fly.

I’d never noticed one before this morning, so whaddya mean “common”?

Worldwide, there are 800 valid species (arranged for convenience into a mere 150 subgenera).

OK, common it is. I’m not sure I want the answer to this next one, but whaddya mean “flesh”?

The larvae feed on rotting carrion or decaying meat.

Kids these days. What are you gonna do?

This always happens. I am minding my own business, photographing yellow jackets in the sunshine as one random example, and something I’ve never seen/noticed before jumps into the frame.

This often leads to amazement: 800 species!

This sometimes leads to ickiness: eating rotting carrion! Mind you, I guess if we’re not to be knee-deep in rotting carrion, something has to eat it. Better a fly’s larvae than me.

And it occasionally leads to opportunities for immature humour: The species are hard to distinguish (one from the 799 others) and the process usually requires examination of the male’s genitalia. Under an, ahem, microscope.

Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Laughing Frequently, Photos of Fauna | Tagged | 8 Comments

Come Again, Another Day

Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day.

I don’t think we had enough rainy days in Alberta for this nursery rhyme to be a staple of my yute, exactly, but it comes from somewhere a long way back. I might have had more use for an incantation to banish or at least admonish snow.

Snow, snow, what the hey?
Go away, it’s May today.

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All Different

They are young and they are middle-aged and they are old.

They walk unaided and with canes; they ride in baby strollers and in wheelchairs.

They are famous and they are not.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Gradually and then Suddenly

“How did you go bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

― Ernest Hemingway, “The Sun Also Rises”

The death this week of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor happened the same way: gradually, then suddenly.

I’m not a great royals watcher but it would have been hard to miss the ever-so-gradual diminution of her vitality over the last several years: the reduced public schedule and transfer of some duties to then-Prince Charles and other family members, the events missed altogether due to “mobility problems”, and the change in her own standards of participation at the events she did attend (taking the Trooping the Colours salute from the palace balcony instead of joining the parade in a carriage – or on horseback!). But then she would pop up on a surprise visit to open a hospice, seemingly the same as ever.

And yet, not quite the same. When I saw the photo of her with Liz Truss, Britain’s new Prime Minister, I noticed the big bruise on her hand — a bruise much like the one my father sported for the last several years of his life — but what really caught my attention was her weight, or lack of it. “She’s keenin’ in,” I thought — an expression learned from said father’s Scottish cousins and that refers to the involuntary weight loss that so often accompanies one’s last few months of life, even when all else seems well.

Two days later, she was dead. Gradually, and then suddenly.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly, Mortality | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Mind the Gap. Or Not.

So, it’s been what, a year? Since I last posted a photo of a yellow-jacket wasp on my Pinky Winky Hydrangea, I mean.

Oh. Two years. Clearly, it’s time for more, because they’re amazing.

Without any apparent difficulty they crawl over the irregular surface of the hydrangea florets more adeptly than I crawl around my completely flat exercise surface.

Without benefit of pitons or ropes or climbing shoes — or hands, even — they scale vertical surfaces.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Fauna | Tagged | 14 Comments


I feel my shoulders drop when I type that hashtag to accompany my retweet of any calm, peaceful, downright tranquil photo on Twitter, a medium known more for inducing rage than tranquility.

Puffins, sunsets, sunrises, paths through valleys, paths through hills, flat-calm ponds, deserted-beach overlooks, striking skies. You get the idea. In an undeniably crazy world, there are still oodles of ways to retrieve peace, at least at the personal level.

In that spirit, today I offer my neighbour’s coneflowers. I think that’s what they are. Hey, I didn’t plant them, I just enjoy them. And so can you.

Just. Breathe.

Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly, Photos of Flora | Tagged , | 11 Comments