Tag Archives: Alberta

It’s Not Just About the Destination

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“It’s not just about the destination” sums up my thoughts while traveling to escape the noise and fast pace of the city and my work-business life. It is not to escape who I am or what I love to do… my passion and commitment are firm, although, at times, I doubt the strength I have to continue on certain paths. Plagued by self-assessment, as anyone might be while trying to navigate the rough roads of every day, I often wonder if I should just run off on some other trail–change my direction–change my destination. Then, I remind myself… it’s not just about the destination because, in fact, we all end up the same place anyway. It is all about how you see your journey there and I am constantly reminding myself to stay in the moment without worry about what happens in the end. Therefore, I do realize that I see things somewhat differently depending upon my situation and location. This trip was about certain goals, but everything in between, before, and after is up to fate and fortune. What you make of a day is really what thought you put into it and the effort afforded to enjoy every moment. It will all be there when you return, so to worry about “what to do” or “what about” or “what if” is a waste of such a beautiful surrounding.

I am happy I am able to reflect on the time I take away–this time we were really tired at the end of the day and barely had supper and did a few mundane tasks before sleep claimed us. There is something about the mountain air and being out in the beauty of nature that fills you with enough that you are pleasantly exhausted. My knees couldn’t help but remind me that I did more than usual even though I try to do it on purpose, whenever I can, in order to claim every minute of the day in action. To bed early–one would think we’d stay up late writing… however, a tired body won out over a determined mind this week.

Day One arrival was nice and early and we could even check into our hotel room and then go exploring on Wednesday. We took a trip to the Beaver Boardwalk–my daughter recommended it last trip, but we didn’t make it there. Going this time was a treat. What a beautiful nature spot in Hinton! Yes, we have our ponds and walkways here at home, but sorry, Sherwood Park, the most obvious thing missing is setting… I sometimes (well, often) wonder why I still live here with so much soul/spirit connection to the mountains. This park was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours, wandering the boardwalk through the marshes and beaver habitat, traipsing some closer-in trails, and taking a look-out post in the tower to admire the view. I say closer-in because I am not one to wander onto the forest trails–hiking was a younger days sport for me due to my limitations, ones I have accepted, and am able to push to some extent enjoyment of the activities. Also, there’s the fact that we are in wildlife territory and bears and cougars just don’t excite me up close and personal. From the truck window, I am a brave soul – not on foot, however.

Trips away with my dear friend, Mandy, make me appreciate her even more because of the similarities we have –I don’t have to try to keep up and do things I feel out of my comfort zone with… we match in many ways–our appreciation for nature and its fragility to human invasion; yet, the strength and majesty and power of it awes us in the same breath. I could travel the same roads and see the same sights each day or weekend or whatever, and still be in wonder at the amazing embrace of nature–the bold colors of plants, the cuteness of a baby animal, the calming peace of water and wind, the warmth of sun–even if it only peaked through clouds throughout most of our mid-week trip.

We never lost sight of the reason for our trip, although it was in the back of our minds as we connected with the precious moments of each opportunity. The Beaver Boardwalk was more than just walking through a nature setting–it was about stopping and appreciating the finer details of plants, trees, the view, the colors, the sounds, smells, and feel of it all on your soul. Nature caresses one’s spirit with renewing qualities to create a mood of relaxation and connection. There was no sign of any wildlife–other than a couple of birds and fish in the ponds. I wondered about the lack of waterfowl on the ponds… Mr. and Mrs. Beaver must have been relaxing in the shade of their studious home–we saw signs of them being around, of course, but no chance sighting of the animals.

Impressions of the place are best in point form, because that is how they hit you when you are in the moment:

  • The song of the red-wing blackbird
  • The amazing arrangement of wooden walkways over water
  • The variety of flora with bursts of color that stand out so vivid against the greenery
  • The sound and tempo of the wind through the trees as it rises and falls
  • Sun peeking through the overhead canopy in an otherwise dull cloudy sky
  • The man who looked at me funny for taking an overhead picture… yes, look up, too!
  • Wire mesh protecting perimeter trees from industrious beaver clearing crews
  • Signs giving information about the place: make less noise to see more wildlife or be aware and cautious and informed of bears, cougars, wolves… :O
  • Picking up a couple of interesting stones from the rock pathway to commemorate
  • The lookout tower and amazing view of the nearby mountains through the trees
  • Patterns in nature–ripples on the water, long grass blowing in the wind, piles of drift-water-worn limbs

My thoughts may not match anyone else except for those who have the same appreciation for the beauty and magnificence of nature. But, even in that similarity, there are personal differences. The photos I take are not ones that another may take as I look for the shot that appeals to me; I don’t take people pictures; I don’t do selfies. I want the essence of the place where I am–what attracts me, what speaks to me. To each their own.

The take-away for this activity–always invest in the time to enjoy “every precious moment,” as a friend posted. The emotions that grab me in the mountains are awe-inspiring, captivating, yet overwhelming, at the same time. The thought that this glorious world we live in surrounds us for so short a time in comparison to its own life span is one for self-contemplation. No matter what you believe, it’s what adds to a beautiful life–it’s not just about the destination.

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Introspective Perspective

Random thoughts while driving…

The meeting was set for 1:00 pm on Saturday in the quaint coffee house, Pebble Ridge, in Rocky Mountain House. My new author is from Red Deer and it would be a short drive west for him to finally meet to discuss his book project.

I started out from home at 8:00 am, filled the tank, and got a cold drink to go. I couldn’t understand why I was so thirsty so early, but realized it might have been the consumption of wine the evening before… Rested and raring to go, it was easy to rise and pack and hit the road early. Although another route was more direct, I chose the longer way to enjoy the journey. It’s not always about the destination – although that can be important – how you get there, too, makes all the difference sometimes. For one – heading west always feels right and, for two, taking the Cowboy Trail is a good choice because it feels right, too. I’ve been this way before a few times lately (highway 16 west to highway 22 south), but I love the drive – the feel of it relaxes me and sets my mind free of city encumbrances. Driving alone, however, is open game for thinking – good and bad. If I don’t want to think, I play music to drown out the persistent voices, the constant thoughts, the never ending discussion between the realist and the dreamer. The radio station fades away and I play the soundtrack from Cavalia or Maroon 5.

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A robin poses for a close up shot.

A bumblebee buzzes around the windows looking for in or through or whatever. Sunshine sits in the Miette Hot Springs parking lot looking like a big yellow flower in a meadow of concrete – tasty temptation for the timid little bee. I roll my driver’s side window up and two seconds later it attempts to say a closer hello. A robin hops nearby on the pathway along the trees, and I mega zoom in on it – magnifying its feathers and bright eyed curiosity. I sit contemplating my move. I remain there for about an hour, reading, calming frazzled nerves that poke in and out of the relaxing peace. I cannot explain the diametrically opposed pieces of my mind. Happy. Sad. Inspired. Depressed. Peaceful. Anxious. The parking lot fills up – it’s time to move on.

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I could see the same view day after day and it would still humble me, overwhelm me with its magnificence.

When I drive the mountain roads I cannot believe the feelings that wash over me. I often wonder if those people who speed by in fast cars, neglecting the stop at look outs, ignoring points of interest, not even slowing down to enjoy the wildlife – I wonder, if they ever feel the emotion I do in the mountains. Perhaps, they did the trip before and it’s no big thing. Perhaps, they are too focused on the end point to notice the points of interest along the way. My emotions run the gamut – my mind stops, starts, and suspends itself in the magnificence of my surroundings. I am soothed by its beauty, overwhelmed and humbled by its magnitude. I cry at the thought of leaving this world and never seeing such beauty again. Then, I admonish myself for silliness and return to revel in the moment.

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Distant waterfall cascades down the mountain.

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An eagle flies o’er mountain high…

At a roadside turnout, high above the river below, I stop along the guardrail to take in the vast panorama. Mountains with snow covered peaks, shimmering shale rocks, greenery of all shades. A distant waterfall cascades down the mountainside. The telephoto lens brings the river from the valley floor and the highest shimmering rock face to me as if in reach. Out of the corner of my eye I see it – circling, circling, circling… Soaring on upper air currents, the large bird covers the sky in wide spread wings, so high it is even a speck in my lens. I am not sure of the species of raptor, but the bird is magnificent. The words to the sound about love lifting us up, come to mind and ring in my head, prompting tears to spring to my eyes, again.

The trip wasn’t totally about doing everything I love, but it encompassed some of the ‘musts’. I already mentioned the Highway 22 South route – well, 11 West is a dream and being in Rocky Mountain House with a free night ahead of me meant I couldn’t pass up the chance to see things I love and traverse the route with such beauty. My travels now include limits, however. Due to health issues, there are limits I never had to consider before, but there they are, forefront in planning and executing events. Accepting I have limitations both angers and frustrates me. In moments of appreciation, I think of all the things I’ve done and all the things I still can do. I digress and say thanks – at peace with the body’s changes. With those thoughts, I decided I would explore some different things/places amongst the wonderfully familiar, while taking time to clear my head and rest my back and knees.

For the most part, driving is easy until I log too many hours in the Sunshine saddle – then the back begins to remind me of its chronic pain. I need to stretch and walk a bit to loosen up the muscles and work the knees. Refreshing road weary eyes is always a good thing, too. My stops are frequent because of the awe I feel – lots of pictures return home with me – but, I temper my attempt at each stop depending upon my ability. Many times, I am the best darned truck window photographer! Since I stopped at Athabasca Falls last year on the reverse trip, I decided I would stop at Sunwapta Falls this time. However, I couldn’t proceed past the parking lot because, although only a .1 km hike to the vantage points overlooking the water, all of the pathway is a downhill grade and that is a no-no for the knees. Acceptance of limitation. I listened to the roar of the water rushing below, thankful for my sense of hearing and sight.

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A decision to stop for the day to rest weary bones offered me opportunity to stay in a place I never stayed before… another new experience.

The need to keep in motion produces undesirable effects. The conundrum being more movement = activity = weight loss, but more movement = pain = exasperation! The pills I am on to manage pain help with numbing it so I can sleep and I don’t get overtired, sometimes. Depending on the activity (and the weather) my pain is what it is – constant. At times, it is excruciating, forcing me to just take things easy. Doctor’s orders are movement, keep active, but my body’s response is anything but accommodating. I most likely will need double knee replacement surgery, but the weight loss is a must in order to proceed in that direction. The weekend needed to be modified with extended rest to recover bothersome knee pain. The prior long weekend retreat tired me out – 2nd floor rooms in a lodge meant stairs multiple times per day. I mentioned this concern to my doctor on a previous visit. I took it very slow. Writing, yes. Stair master, no.

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6th Bridge – the sounds of birds and rushing water soothed. When the small parking filled, I escaped with pictures to remember it by.

It was exciting to travel familiar roads, but also intriguing to discover new ones. I took some time to discover 6th Bridge where I sat for some time reading. I took some pictures of the water and the bridge, then vacated when it started to get busy. Bikers, hikers, and other sightseers. The road to Miette Hot Springs was awesome – winding, curving, bordered by cliffs, rises, and lots of trees. It took me deeper into the back country. Again, I parked and listened to the birds, did some reading, and took pictures. As before, I backtracked and headed to the highway and proceeded east on 16. East is not good. It means leaving behind something as profound as the images of the Rockies in my mirror that soon fade from sight. My mood soured despite respite in the glorious mountains. How can one feel so inflated, yet depressed? So inspired, yet so empty? So determined to do better with renewed vigor – all the while, feeling overwhelmed with all that lays ahead… Prospects and potential paralyze – how can that be?

The comfort I take in all of this is my ability to see the beauty, appreciate the wonder, realize the potential for danger or recognize opportunity, and even laugh at myself with good humor, as necessary. The feelings described above hit me every time I leave the mountains to return home, leaving me to wonder why I never moved there if such a connection rips my very soul by their separation from my view. I concede – I was fearless in my youth and have become jaded in my aging even though I would certainly consider the move – looking around the little cabin I rented I surmised – “I could live here.”

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Amazing colors… there’s probably shiny things and a squirrel in there, too 😉

So to end this blog about perspective and its inward retrospection while getting away – I leave you with a tip while driving throughout the Alberta countryside. Be aware that if Main Street is blocked off in Small Town, Alberta – and there are people pulling lawn chairs to the curb side – it could mean there is a celebration you are not privy to. I wondered why that little girl waved to me… All I could think was how lucky I was I had such a beautiful, bright truck! Sunshine was in her glory parading by the locals… oh, look, what a beautiful tree!

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Challenge – Day 11 and Day 12 – Creative License

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 11 and 12 – Something Blue and Sunset

Day 11 and 12 Blog image - Blue and Sunset

The sky was the hue of winter Alberta blue…
If we are fortunate enough during the winter in Alberta, we have many of these days where the sky is crisp, clear, and blue – when sunshine is always a welcome addition, and a highway drive is warranted on a weekend afternoon. By contrast, I shot some pictures on January 1st at Elk Island Park and you will notice the grey winter day where sky and horizon blend where air and ground meet. The kind of day that dawned bright on Sunday was opportunity to obtain clear shots of the Alberta blue skies to fulfill that day’s challenge. The vantage point shifted from the apartment catching one of 3 jet contrails tracking across the sky in a short time span, to the countryside as the sun made its way beyond the day, and back again, to capture similar shots the next evening. The amazing properties of working with light are the shadows cast and the deep blue of snow in the sheltered areas; it’s the background it provides to many objects silhouetted; it’s the variance of color that reflects on sky, trees, snow, and other objects. Something blue… The thing about winter afternoons in early January is that no matter how bright they are they begin to fade by 4:30 with dusk bringing its own lingering beauty to the countryside.

To close out any day, the sky is my view and it paints magnificent scenery for me to appreciate from my 4th floor apartment. This vantage gives me a clear shot of the sky and its many colors as I witness many a sunset. Combining the prompts made sense but would have certainly created a huge challenge had the sky been overcast and grey, or if it had been white with snow. Treasures along our sightseeing journey:

  • Jets with contrails streaking across a clear blue sky always remind me of my mother and I feel her watching with me, commenting on their intrusion.
  • Horses pawing the snow-covered field searching for frozen shoots.
  • A companionable silence while driving a snow-covered country road.
  • Millions of stars in a dark velvet sky.
  • Using GPS and a little bit of intuition to connect with the right secondary road.
  • Arriving home with a loved one after a memorable day.

The day is what you make it… so, remember to always appreciate the little things along the way.

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January 3, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge     

Day 3 >> Clouds

Oh, the irony…

Day 3 - 30 day challenge Clouds

It was a fluff of white against the sky, floating magically from west to east across my vision. I pulled the telephoto lens out to get a strategic shot from the balcony of my 4th floor apartment. The air was cool as the temperature dropped to winter norms overnight. The snow shone like glistening diamonds, little sparkles of bling in the bright mid-day sun. Now… if you have followed my photography over the years you know I am a big fan of clouds. And as I looked out over the distant sky, I laughed. Oh, the irony…

Clouds… they are so much more than just their scientific explanation. They can be amazing, overwhelming, poetic, artistic, frightful, or even downright scary. If one were to single out the little specimen above, it could be confused with fractus clouds developed readily in nature. Its apparent light form reflects light through the water droplets in its formation; it floats and moves with the air currents – its edges have been described as torn “cotton candy.” The irony of my assignment for today’s 30 day photography challenge was that there was not a cloud in the Alberta sky – at least, not from my locale and vantage point. The clear sky was mocking me – let’s see how you get out of this one without killing off your muse! The good thing about prompts is that no matter what happens there is always a way to interpret them – all it takes is a little bit of inspiration, some ingenuity, gnashing of teeth and guttural waling… and a lot of creativity.

January 3rd was colder, but the day shone bright and beautiful. There was no need to “seek the sun” as it displayed prominently throughout the day and it was followed up at sunset with an almost full moon. The series of shots today allow you to view my world as I determined the focus of my blog and camera. Sometimes things are not always what they seem. We can be mistaken in believing one thing even while we attempt to keep a clear mind and sharp eye. It is easy for our judgement to be clouded if we do not take the time to research and find the right answers to suit our assignment.

Carpe Diem ~ Life is what you make it ~ even while searching for clouds on an afternoon in Sherwood Park and finding only man-made industry generated doppelgangers.

 

 

 

 

   

 

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Day 1 – Searching for Wild Horses

Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial

Best laid plans...

Best laid plans…

With the generosity of our workplace allowing both Good Friday and Easter Monday as stat holidays, and my regular day off falling on Tuesday… this year’s Easter weekend is super long… ah… 5 days! What are my plans?

I am not sure when the idea hit me but it was in the midst of 2013 amongst the angst and anger and residual anguish – I decided that when all was said and done I would begin to do some things just for me – without feeling like it was selfish and without guilt of experiencing happiness. I read several quotes recently that proposed a life unlived wasn’t a life at all and doing something different would expand not only your external experiences, but equally contribute to your inner growth. I, therefore, would plan a trip to seek the Alberta wild horses. At that time, it was not determined when the trip would take place although claiming it to be mine solidified for me that it would, indeed, happen…

Earlier this year, I decided my trip would be in April. Prompted by the ominous winter (it’s always ominous, and for me, it gets more so as the years go by…) and encouraged by the fact that 2014 is the year of the horse on the Chinese calendar… well, it just made sense – there is almost a serendipitous magic to it. Why seek the horses, some may ask? Many confess to loving horses… most respect their beauty and devotion to purpose. Some own them. Some admire them at a distance, their large stance even provoking fear in some. Some advocate for the wild one’s protection while others are ignorant to their plight. I did not grow up around horses but I do remember the love for them perpetuated by those around me – my mom being one who loved them from a distance but feared them up close. I think I was born with this connection and would grow to experience my own quest for freedom through their spirit and tenacity. I did all the things that girls who love horses do – they were a favored subject for artwork, I purchased horse magazines when I was in Junior High… coveting the photos and dreaming of my own as a wanna-be equestrian, I went to all the horse shows and rodeos and my walls were pinned with their picturesque beauty. My off and on encounters, over the years continued and included: trail riding on the ridge above the town site of Jasper AB, working promotional sales at the big white Cavalia tent in Toronto in 2005, attending the Cavalia horse show in Edmonton with a dear friend in 2012, tattooing my wildhorse logo on my shoulder… and writing under “freeing the creative spirit” as willdhorse33 online. Is your tattoo a horse?

There is no reason why my desire to be near to them is any more than any other who feels as I do… it’s just that it is something very personal, deep inside, almost inexplicable – it’s an emotion that hits when you see them standing out there in the fields; your heart begins to race when you see them run, and it’s almost like you can feel the breeze as it passes through their mane.

In going out there one might ask what I am looking for – is there something I’m expecting to find? I would answer that I have found it in the decision to go, to seek, to search for that which connects so deeply to my own spirit. I am not fearless and adventurous – I won’t go traipsing into the bush with high hopes of capturing their images. I just need to be there, where they are… I am not the activist although I will always support efforts to protect and stand for the cause. I am an artist willing to draw them and a photographer wanting to immortalize my experience.

Day 1: This is springtime in Alberta and on April 18th – it snowed overnight and Good Friday was not good in the weather department. With several days ahead, and an understanding bed and breakfast host, the trip will just be delayed. I cursed the snow… but Ray reminded me, “It’s just a delay. It will be better tomorrow.” The voice of reason and it did give us time to spend together before I departed for my dream chasing journey. Friends were comforted by my sense of caution and willingness to remain at home. But my ride is antsy and wants to run. My trigger finger is itching to take a plethora of photos to pictoralize the passage. Whoa, there… tomorrow will be here before you know it.

Awaiting departure

Awaiting departure

So with Coleman, Canon, and creativity awaiting departure, this is how Day 1 moves into history. It lazily takes me into the journey with time to contemplate the days ahead, cherish time in the moment spent with a special person, and feel gratitude for the opportunity afforded me.

“On your journey to your dream, be ready to face oasis and deserts. In both cases, don’t stop.” ~ Paulo Coelho

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Chasing Wild Dreams

It is 10:57 pm on the evening of March 11th and it is +7 degrees. The window is open and a gentle March lamb breeze bleats through the screen, shuffling the shell chimes as it passes through – a shy melodic ripple that stirs my sense of freedom and imagination with its soft, beautiful sound. As I finish my posts for the night, I last perused the many pages of wild horse pictures. I scrolled, amazed and awestruck, through the slide show from a photographer recently at the William’s Creek capture point. The corral is to be taken down; this season’s cull now over. I read that only 15 horses were captured and that, to me and many through the province, is 15 too many. Why they are not protected is beyond me… see the pictures, look into their eyes, feel their essence, and then tell me you don’t sense their magnificence and harbor a rising need to protect and respect that spirit.

It’s now 11:32 pm and +6 degrees… cooling off over night but there are warm temperatures in store for Alberta – we wait the spring with bated breath, tired of the too long, too cold, too much winter. It is no more or no worse than any other but we were teased in January and need this to be done so we can move on. Other things are soon to be done, too – to move on and close this chapter; however, remembering forever the story upon its pages. It is a bittersweet week as things come to completion in some respects, and remain forever incomplete in others. It brings me to the closure of exposure yet the openness of vulnerability as my heartaches, my body aches, and my mind tries in vain to justify the extremes. I feel accomplishment yet know there is so much more ahead to be done.

While chapters close, like in writing my novels, I am thinking ahead to what is to come, what is yet to happen, and what purpose drives my character to those ends. I read many quotes and wisdoms posted each day in an effort to inspire change, encourage improvement, create thought, etc. Today, the following quote resonated with me:

“Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.” 

                                                                                           ~ Dalai Lama

I am in the planning stages of a personal trip that will see me go to the wild horses of our province. I am hoping only to take pictures and experience their freedom first hand. I want to look into their eyes, hear the wind as it whips through their mane, watch as they graze upon Alberta’s foothill grasses. I do not want to disturb them as that would go against all my beliefs, all my respect for their need to just… be… To be close enough to feel them with my very soul shall be complete.

It is 11:52 on March the 11th and it is still +6 degrees… as I turn in for the night and look forward to another day, I am thankful for the things in my life, the people who make it worth living, and the passion I hold in my heart for writing, horses, and freeing the creative spirit. 

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Contrail Conspiracy

The concentrated condensation trail of jet exhaust is visible against an Alberta blue sky. Its consistency waivers slightly in the upper air currents; soon it spreads and eventually dissipates, consumed by the surrounding atmospheric abyss. Two white tails streaked across my view of the sky from my window today within seconds of one another on a north-south journey to who knows where… They appeared to be too high to consider the landing at Edmonton International Airport so I am going to assume their destination is somewhere farther, perhaps, in warmer climes beyond our borders.

contrailWhen I see those white plumes marring our beautiful blue skies, I think of my mother. I will never see another without remembering her comments as to their purpose and possibly conspiracy. As an avid reader and always learning, she would go beyond just the simple explanation of vapor condensation from warm water into cool air, like our breath on a cold winter morning. I am not sure she knew of the now debunked conspiracy theory that linked these contrails to chemical distribution, but it’s possible. It was more of “why do they have to do that…” A beautiful clear sky in Alberta is not a rarity but all too soon clouds move in on the wind, changing the brilliant blue landscape to a myriad of mottled patterns.

Ask “why” and you can always research the scientific reasoning. An article in the Scientific American discusses this very question:

 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-jets-leave-a-white

Of particular interest to me, the following: “The nature and persistence of jet contrails can be used to predict the weather. A thin, short-lived contrail indicates low-humidity air at high altitude, a sign of fair weather, whereas a thick, long-lasting contrail reflects humid air at high altitudes and can be an early indicator of a storm.”

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This ability was always my understanding for the possible use of the contrails – weather predictors. They indicated by their reaction the direction and intensity of the air currents. I have yet to satisfy my curiosity through research as to why some jets do this and others don’t, even while appearing to travel at the same altitude. Why do they happen in the summer when the air is supposedly warmer, although I know it cools quickly the higher you go…

To my mom, it was simply a conspiracy to eradicate a beautiful blue sky and when I see one of those obvious white contrails, I smile – looking up makes me feel like she is watching me and knowing I see what she sees. This is a connection I shared with her while sitting on the deck at her house in the country enjoying a cold one – it will forever be a happy memory.   

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September’s Passing

In a whirlwind of fresh fallen leaves, the month of September slipped silent as we turned another calendar page. It was not quiet in its passing for it was as busy as any fall has ever been ~ and as most will probably always be. So many events start anew with schedules in September often the starting point for programs, projects, activities, and unfortunately, the increasingly evident reminder of colder things to come. We are embraced by fleecy warmth, donned reluctantly from the back corners of our closets, pulled close in the morning and, perhaps by day’s end, a burden over our arm or slung over our shoulder. This diversity in temperature, with its range of highs and lows, leaves us guessing, hoping, pushing, resisting, and sometime fighting against the ailments of seasonal change. The waning light heralds travel home will soon be in darkness. Frosty nights have us scraping early morning windshields. Protective shoes replace the much loved sandal with socks finally seeing the light of day after a summer of drawer arrest. The glory that is September is nature’s beauty, our respite after summer’s heat – a reprive before winter’s chilling hold. September, with its changing shimmering colors and moderate climes, is Alberta’s golden goddess…

I was so busy with everything during the month, I neglected to share my equinox piece, but here is the link from last year’s post: https://wildhorse33.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/autumn-equinox/

Fall Gold

(c) Photo by Linda J. Pedley (Glenwood Memorial Gardens #shpk)

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The Idea of Spring

WP_000524Oh, rejuvenation! Today is the first day of Spring and we rejoice to see a glimmer of seasonal change ahead – soon… sometime… maybe… These thoughts, this trepidation, comes from an Albertan whose love for this time of year is lost in “the idea of spring” with a mere calendar reminder, the written confirmation “first day of Spring” as if to assure me I am right. This, even as the weather network warns me in red of another Prairie Clipper approaching which will keep us in the wraps of winter for another bout of wind and snow. I think we just finished digging out from the other two storms that dumped on us last week. Reviewing the news, however, shows we are not alone as other areas brace for their own “idea of spring.” But it just feels that way to everyone here, well – most… okay, to me. Enough snow, already. The boot/shoe – light jacket/Arctic wear debate is leaving a pile of  exchanged clothing and footwear lying near the door, and its effects have a desperate demographic aching for the sunshine and clear roadways and sidewalks. The trees outside my window are already bowing to the windy arrival – the snow will follow later today…

Looking past the immediate situation is part of what I have been dealing with lately. It is part of what everyone deals with – life. How we modify our steps so we don’t miss the beautiful things up close while keeping our eye on the distant goal is part of that process. Beyond the snow and wintry blast on a wondrous first day of spring, is the knowledge that “this, too, shall pass.” It doesn’t make the immediate any more pleasurable. What it does is confirm there are brighter things on the horizon if we dare to dream, set goals, and strive to achieve that which we are meant to do. The bigger picture is all around us but the beauty of life lies right in front of us. We must remember not to overlook it by taking for granted it will always be there. It is easy to do – we assume closeness is a guarantee. Proximity has nothing to do with appreciation.

What lies between our hand and distant dream will shift and change. Despite what happens later today – it is the first day of Spring – even if it is just a fleeting idea at the moment… eventually, the snow will go away.

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Filed under On Life, On Thinking

Call to Conference – A Writers Conference, That is!

The premise of this post is based on the skeleton of a blog I did two years ago; however, I have changed most of the content, not only to reflect the current “state of affairs” but also to write prior to the conference, instead of after it’s all said and done. Perhaps, this will entice you to take part in our event if, by chance, you are in the vicinity. It will be a lovely affair and aptly titled: “For the Love of Writing.”

In our attempt to encourage free fall writing, our group rep Mandy posts weekly writing prompts. Once titled (and still available on the calendar of events), the Saturday Writing Prompt has now become the Weekly Writing Prompt, encouraging participants to use their creative inspiration at any time. The “Saturday” tag was misconstrued to mean that you could only write to that prompt on that particular day – not true! As with the now weekly prompt, we encourage our members and others to use the prompts whenever the muse strikes. The prompts are meant to engage our members and the public who visit our web site with topics and questions to challenge the imagination and spark new or renewed ideas. The interesting thing about these challenges is not in the prompts themselves (although, sometimes you wonder… where the heck did that come from?) but rather, the diversity of writing that follows. As a member of the WFSC, you are allowed access to the internal web site where  you can blog, post, and share your literary offerings.

The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County will hold their 2012 Writers Conference on Saturday, May 5th; the writing prompt posted back on in 2010 added the tease “you should be at the Conference”  but it was posted as it always is and many of us got back to it after the event was completed. The following question was the prompt for that week and I have tailored by response to what my 2012 answer would be… (to read past posts, follow the links on the right to April 2010):

“If you could invite anyone, author or not, to the conference who would it be? Why?”

When planning an event that involves several aspects of presentation and display, there are people you consider inviting who would add to the day either by their ability to draw or engage a crowd, or by the relationship they already have through past encounters. You also tend to, just by human nature, go off on an imaginary tour grabbing at farfetched ideas and dreams hoping that by some slim, whim of a chance a celebrity or awe-inspiring mentor might grace your roster.

Although my past comment indicated that I would love to have someone who inspires me as a writer attend a conference upon my invitation and I listed some who I would enjoy listening to… I feel we fulfill that mandate each and every time, with each and every presenter we invite – in all honesty, everyone should inspire you in some way – we can learn from everyone. At this point, our conferences are small in comparison based on attendance, but that doesn’t mean they are ineffective. Perhaps, they are more effective than larger events because you are able to connect on a more personal level with those around you – you can network, share, learn, and take away valuable industry and information.

The people who asked to present workshops at our Conference, are not just those who may have been available on that day, they are, more importantly, people who have a special place on our roster of writing friends. This year’s line-up is impressive and we not only welcome returning writing friend and presenter, Judy Schultz, but also add new workshop topics to be presented by Lynn Gagne-Webb, Anna Marie Sewell, Suzanne Burkett, and Gord Steinke.

Our trade and author displays showcase the diversity of support and talent within our literary network – artwork, books, inspirational writing, business, and organizations, bring their unique blend of products and services to the table. An artist, no matter their creative calling, adds their own spirit to the group who mingle with a single purpose in mind – to share their passion for creativity.

Participants who register to attend our event do so for various reasons. It may be to further their own knowledge and understanding of a topic and learn what they can from those who are experts in their field. A writer may be finding out about themselves and in discovering that, they discover others who share their passion. Mixing and mingling with like-minded people creates a bond. Strangers become friends. Groups encourage fellowship. Everyone becomes connected. Inspiration lies in the sharing.

Looking over the guest list – our committee, our members, our community, our leaders in council, organizations representative of industry, experts in the writing field, artists, authors, local businesses…. If I could invite anyone to the Conference, who would it be? I think we have everyone we need to make this Conference the success past years have proven it to be, so in advance, thank you for sharing the day and the passion for the written word.

(p.s. in the back of my mind, of course, I have a wish list – you know that far-fetched dream likened to a fantasy, often unspoken or held in secret (or not so secret) containment… – Viggo Mortensen? Poet, artist, photographer, actor, Renaissance man-extraordinaire! YOU have an open invitation. Maybe an influential Facebook or Twitter friend? Check out our posts on both! Oh, yes, and of course, William… but that’s really reaching ;)

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Filed under On Dreaming, On Life, On Publishing, On Writing