Some find it in a church, some in meditation. Some find it in listening to music, some in making same. Some find it in a relationship, some in solitude.

What “it”? Sank-chew-airy. (This phonetic pronunciation note is my unofficial attempt at an easier format than the official one — /saNGk(t)SHəˌwerē/ — and I stand by my results.)

sanctuary (noun):

      • a place of refuge or safety
      • a nature reserve

That’s the Oxford Language take on the word’s meaning and it seems OK to me. Some dictionaries add “sacred/holy/consecrated” places to these two basic meanings.

Without trying to make the whole world a “safe space,” I think we all need at least one place of safety; one place of refuge from our troubles and from the world’s troubles. In addition to the sources already noted, some find sanctuary-in-the-first-sense in a sanctuary-in-the-second-sense: a nature reserve.

I am among those some. On my recent trip West I visited two nature reserves: one near Edmonton and one in Calgary, where I saw magpies, a northern flicker, a goldeneye duck with her babies, a downy woodpecker (niftly dodging my lens), mallards, common mergansers (male and female), and a female wood duck with seven babies.

There is an argument to be made that once you’ve seen one duckling, you’ve seen ’em all. I wouldn’t argue the point. What strikes me about baby ducks is not that they’re different, but just that they’re babies. What strikes me about sanctuary-in-any-sense is that it’s easier to show than to tell.

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8 Responses to Sanctuary

  1. Lovely little video (Done correctly: leave ’em wanting more)

    Nice to see wood ducks in clear water!!! (Those were very young ducklings.)

    Yes we all need a sanctuary

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – Many thanks. If I’d had some photos or video of the merganser ducklings that someone told me about (but that I did not see, dagnab it) it would have been a longer video! I’ve seen adult wood ducks on the West Coast and the males especially are beautiful, but I was very glad to see these wee ones.

  2. Your choice of music certainly enhances the sense of sanctuary. The motion of the mamma wood duck’s head, almost comical, that the little ones either do not yet need or have not figured out how to imitate is fascinating. Your perspective of their full-on approach is one very difficult to achieve, I think. Yet it is the only way to appreciate the symmetries of shape and feathering. My sense of sanctuary includes the freedom from demands to pay attention to non-essentials, which makes them essential in another sense as the source of refreshment and renewal. Time and again, your photos and videos awaken me to such sources in my own environment that I tend to neglect. Perhaps I should take my cell phone camera with me when I step outside the door as a reminder to look more closely at what delights.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Good eye! I don’t know what that forward bob is all about or when it develops. Clearly, more time in observation is warranted. 🙂 And I would never discourage anyone from carrying a camera/phone with them – I see the world differently with one in my hand. We’re lucky to live in a time where these possibilities exist.

  3. Ken from Kenora says:

    I loved the swimming V formation. Well done Isabel.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Ken – Many thanks. Sometimes they hardly seem to have their bottoms in the water. They’re paddling so fast they’re almost running on the water.

  4. Jim Taylor says:

    Just look at those little feet/paddles go! And I’m so grateful that your videos don’t require escaping from a ad to see them.
    One thing you didn’t mention is that sometimes sanctuary can be a person, someone in whom you have absolute trust.

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Thanks! I’d take credit but, oddly, advertisers are not beating down my door, so I have not had to overcome any temptation to monetize my videos. 🙂

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