Category Archives: Through the Calendar

Observations engendered by different seasons, celebrations, and times of the year.

What 2017 Will Bring

I don’t like early January.  It’s not that the parties are over.  It’s that the entire coming year stretches ahead of me in my imagination, an obligation waiting to be met.  An obligation weighing me down.

Maybe it’s linked to too many years working on projects where someone else set the schedule.  I can’t work harder and get through the year faster: I really do have to take it one day at a time.

So for this first year of retirement (semi or full), I’m going to try a new way of looking at the year, by considering what it will bring.

365 Mornings

Sunrise backlighting driftwood on the beach at Bull Island.

Some Pretty Chilly Mornings

Black fowl, fluffed up against the cold

Opportunities for Reflection(s)

Reflection of black-necked stilt wading in still pond.

Chances to Stick My Neck Out

Snail on aggregate sidewalk

Chances to Draw Back

Turtle with necked pulled into shell

Times for Naps

Yellow-crowned night heron, eyes closed to a slit

Times to Stay Oh-so-Fully Alert

Yellow-crowned night heron sitting upright and alert.

Time with Old Friends

Gila woodpecker on saguaro cactus

Chances to Meet New Friends

Roseate spoobill on treetop, wings extended.

Uncomfortable Moments

Prairie dog looking at camera as if startled

Happily Oblivious Moments

Sloth hanging from tree branch

Doubts about Ever Making My Mark

Interstate exit sign for Gibson Boulevard

Times when I Forget about Myself Altogether

Whelk and shell scatter on sandy beach.

Chances to Stand on My Own

Prsirie dog upright, chewing on blade of grass

Chances to Sing with Another

Two grackles in leafless tree; marsh in background

Moments when Things Aren’t Clear at All

Snowy intertstate road in snow storm

Moments of Perfect Clarity

No Hunting sign that adds: Don't Ask

Moments when a Photographic Plan Comes Together

Viewpoint for Colorado River with sunlit shrub in foreground

Moments with Unplanned Bits of Blue Plastic

Sunset-lit prairie grass


Looked at like that, the year doesn’t seem so onerous, somehow.

Although I admit I could do without those pesky bits of blue plastic.


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Deja Vu Again

Leaning in to the mirror above the sink, Mom applies her lipstick carefully.  There’s hardly room for both of us in the half-bathroom of this duplex we’re renting until our new house is ready.  She’s all dressed up, though, so I’ve followed her in here to find out what’s up.

“Your father and I are going out for Christmas Eve.”

Huh?  We celebrated Christmas a week ago, just before we left our Edmonton house to move to Calgary.  It can’t be Christmas Eve again.  Can it?   Continue reading

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To Too Many Things, There is a Season

Ten days before its official onslaught, winter arrived (Wham!) on the Canadian Prairies.  I know, because I too, had just arrived on the Canadian Prairies.  Oh, hurray.

As so often in life, you now have a choice.  Do you want to share in my rant? Or do you want to Do Something About It? Continue reading

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Filed under New Perspectives, Through the Calendar

Day of the Dead

Before reading Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, I’d always thought of the Day of the Dead as a tacky festival with jangly skeletons and sugar skulls.  Yuck.

Now I see it as an opportunity to remember the dead – my dead – and to continue to appreciate them:  Hugh, Isabel, Nels, Belle, Russel, Jessie, Tom, Bob, Betty, Ruth, Sheldon, and Anne, among them.

In looking for photos for this compilation, I was surprised to see how few I had, at least in digital format. Another thing to remember.  Photography may be a great hobby, even an art form, but it also has its place in recording the faces I love.



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National Treasure #1: Kent Avery

Here we are, having just completed our 149th year as a country as of yesterday, 30 June.  Today we embark on our sesquicentennial year, which we will celebrate on 01 July 2017, although there’s certainly an argument for celebrating a day earlier.  But birthday celebrations have an inertia, if not a logic, of their own, and this is how we do it.

So.  What can we say about 149?  It’s a prime number, as attested to by this site, named “Math is Fun.”

The lady doth protest too much, methinks. I mean, have you ever seen sites with these names:

  • Riding Rollercoasters is Fun
  • Eating Chocolate is Fun
  • Playing Outside is Fun

No.  You haven’t.

And 151 will also be a prime number (isn’t this fun?).  So, by my count, Canada will have three prime years in a row, allowing for different meanings of “prime.”

My Sesquicentennial Project

Today I’m launching my sesquicentennial project: at least one special post about Canada every week until 01 July 2017.   (My “stretch target,” as executives like to say, is 150 in total, but we’ll see how that goes.)

What kind of special posts?  As suits this site, a mix, a melange, a muddle mayhap.  Stay tuned.  But all my selections will be driven by one theme: Canada’s national treasures.

This is a concept I first became aware of with respect to Japan, which has several lists of national treasures in different categories.  Googling “What are national treasures?” turns up a first page with nary a Canadian reference (!), a long list of British and American references, and this definition:

na-tion-al trea-sure (noun): an artifact, institution, or public figure regarded as being emblematic of a nation’s cultural heritage or identity

Well, OK.  But as suits my identity, I’m going to interpret “national treasure” a little more broadly to include Canadian people, places or things that I think are worth celebrating.  Hey, it’s my project.  So here, in no implied order of precedence (A treasure is a treasure, says me: there are no degrees), is the first post.

National Treasure #1

Today, a guy whose name I didn’t know until today: Kent Avery.  I saw him balancing rocks in Stanley Park in 2006.

Kent Avery balancing rocks in Stanley Park

Rock balancer


And I saw the results of his work.

Beach rocks balanced in Stanley Park.

Rocks balanced.


And I took a lousy video that documented this completely improbable activity.  But there’s a much better video on YouTube.

So Happy Canada Day to Kent Avery – a Canadian national treasure – and to everyone who labours to create things of beauty and wonder, however transient.


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Filed under Through Canada, Through the Calendar