Tag Archives: clouds

Birds of Spring


The love for spring and birds and all things beautiful prompted me to write this – the robin started it all and the progression to put the words to page ended up including thoughts about my mom. Both of us are spring babies and the appreciation she had for nature inspired me to follow paths where the wild things live. I am not brave. I fear death. Yet in my own way, I am an explorer and an adventurous soul. I am not sad. I am merely reflecting on beautiful thoughts that still bring tears.


RobinWe sat on the back deck under the umbrella and chatted. We cradled ceramic mugs adorned with images of birds. The hot tea warmed us and cool spring breezes washed over us like whispered conversation. We had grown comfortable with the sporadic comments and the pleasurable silence that punctuated our early Saturday morning visit. The sun was still to our right but would soon be to our backs as we sat in shade of the house. Bundled in large knit sweaters, we settled back in the canvas chairs, sipping green tea and warming our hands. Overhead, crisscrossing jet trails cut the wild blue yonder into slices of pie.

“Why do they have to mess up the beautiful sky?” she would ask. We always looked up watching for birds and small planes and whatever else the countryside might offer. I knew she loved the view from the deck at the back of her house. The jet trails were something we always noticed and talked about. It was something we often speculated about – was it weather related air current type stuff, or was it a conspiracy to create cloud when there was none, or was it just because it was what jets do at a high altitude. Whatever the reason, it would come to be my way of knowing she was always with me – perhaps, even her way of showing support wherever I might be and whatever I might be doing. The jet contrails and the birds of spring, both beautiful and meaningful in their own way, are a necessary part of how I was able to move forward without her.

Because of her love for nature and her little house in the country, I began to take more notice of those things around me that drew me to her. Yellow eyed daisies growing in white waves always remind me of her, because they grew wild in her yard and as the years went by there were more and more of them. I see every full moon and remember her calls to me, “Did you see the moon?” I watch for the geese and their return to the northern climes after a long migration. Then in the fall when they coo and swoop in large masses collecting their formations way up high amongst the clouds, I regret their leaving just as I regret hers.

Winter was beginning to be unbearable and the worry about her living alone is one thing that weighed as heavy as the snow on her little roof. She did not relish moving into the Park to be closer to the civilized world; it was not in her destiny to move into any kind of senior’s residence, either. The fates took care of that concern, although I would have shoveled her driveway forever and took care of her when the time came. It didn’t come, though. Her journey was not with that kind of finish.

This year I noticed the robins more and their activity around me. It seems there a few around who accompany me on my day. One makes its home in the eaves above my apartment window and you can hear it singing in the still early morning. One stopped for a picture on a post outside my cabin window while I was in Jasper and another hopped up to the truck for a picture while I sat in the parking lot at Miette Hot Springs. Yet another hopped closer and closer while I loaded the truck with books this past weekend.

Everyone deals with loss in different ways. Recognizing the little things we used to talk about and remembering the things she loved is how I am able to move forward. Writing these words helps, too – as I am able now to express them from my heart without pain tearing into them before I even have a chance to put them to the page. The test would be to read them out loud – although I am sure I could attempt it, one never knows how one’s emotions are going to interfere at any given time. The wound is deep and will never going to go away, but it is healed over, protected from outside exposure.


“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes




Filed under On Life, On Thinking, On Writing


Nothing like a little bit of pressure to get you motivated. Why is it that pushing up against a deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, sparks a need to produce? I should be going to bed now and trying to get some sleep (last night did not fare well in that category)… It’s not that I lack desire, passion, or inspiration. Creativity is abound – I am reek with it (lol… is that what that smells like…) I thought for a little break from the challenge I would look up something that might not have been posted just for comic relief. I found the following in “My Writing” file on the lap top and promptly began to read since it was exactly one year to date that I wrote it. I know that I am possessed by the same routine ink demons who dry up every once in a while only to resurface in a coagulation of words on the page. Eventually, I pull it all together. I just have to wait it out sometimes, all the while making little sense to anyone but myself. Unless, of course, you are a writer – then you might find this amusing, interesting, or slightly disturbed.

Dream – Awakening on January 29th 2014

There was a room where we (not sure all who was there) but a group of people coming in as if to meet. There was a door with a light switch to the right of it, an ornate looking carving with the mechanism for turning the light on and off in the centre of it. I remember commenting about how cool it was, liking it for the different look, but adjusting it allowed a whole panel of switches and choices to open up beside it. It took away from the ornate look and added a functional panel. I remember there being an adjustment for the lighting in the room, which was off to the left past a small alcove where this panel now was – I don’t know why I was in this room, but it just occurred to me as I write that this was the ending of the dream as I was leaving somewhere with bags of stuff and my cat(?) who actually came to me without chase. Back to the panel. There was an adjustment for lights in the room with a “health or illness” setting so you could brighten or dim the lights as required depending upon the use of the room.

I remember others crowding around to view the panel and poking at the functions, changing things rapidly and without reason. Just for fun. There was an opening at the top of the wall, almost like the wall didn’t meet the ceiling. I felt warm air, like a breath exhaled. I commented on it. Then I say a big hand at the top of the wall, its big fingers with long, pointed nails curled over the top of the wall panel.

Screaming ensued as there was now an opening that led behind the wall compartment. The creature (a very large man) attacked a woman. Someone said it was their aunt, don’t know whose. I remember a friend’s girlfriend was attacked, but she came running out, alive (Robin?). The large man then came out carrying the “aunt” on a rack like carrier, saying, “now I have to walk with the dead,” or something to that effect. He came back and approached me – I was not fearful of him, he knelt before me and I caressed the sides of his face, concerned for the reasons he might have had to become a murderer, why he lived behind the wall, and how the use of the panel perturbed him to the point of discovery and destruction.

WELL, that was different! Being a visual person, this dream really stood out and the intensity of the emotions was real. I am not sure what it means, or if, in fact, it means anything. Often I look for patterns in things that might not otherwise reflect a necessary order. I am consumed by my desire to take on more and more, yet continue to become overwhelmed and blocked up, awaiting the creative purge. It must be this pattern in me that is inevitably inspirational. So happy for the yellow pills. They make everything just a little less alarming.

So you might have noticed I threw in Day 22 (Inspirational) and Day 23 (Patterns) without even a warning. I will follow-up with some awesome pictures from last weekend – I am intrigued by the rhythm of nature.

Air currents create patterns in clouds as they streak across a soft blue winter sky.

Air currents create patterns in clouds as they streak across a soft blue winter sky.


A fluffy cotton ball texture dots the AB blue sky.


The most amazing inspiration in nature – sunset filtered through a frosty January sky.


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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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January 1, 2015 – 30 day Photo/Blog Word/Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

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

Day 1 >> Self-Portrait

Ah, yes. Me, myself, and I. Day 1 - 30 day challenge Self-PortraitNot my favorite subject… in photographs.

No matter how creative I think I am or how acceptable my image seems to be to me in the mirror… there is always something that doesn’t translate onto the “film.” I have accepted that I will never be in motion pictures or in magazines or on the news anchor desk. Don’t get me wrong – I love me and all I represent and have grown to be over the years. I am happy with my accomplishments and look forward to so much more as we go on. The past year was one of freedom, in many ways, for me. It was a discovery of self and a connection with inner self. It was a realization of what was needed and what will never be the same. It was a search and destroy mission – searching for sense while destroying the senseless blocks that weigh me down. Although I anticipate 2015 to be a year of change, 2014 was one of rediscovery and adjustments, too. The chance to reconnect with love on so many levels came to fruition – and love is something I cherish deep in within my soul. I am a hopeless romantic, at times. I was able to complete my long time WIP – An Elizabethan Affair, thereby finally publishing my affection for William. I set limits while breaking boundaries. I realized some of my own goals while helping others to realize theirs. I moved forward without looking back.

January 1st is always a day to dive with caution into the goals one sets for oneself. Often resolutions are made with high expectations that end up being measured with somewhat waning results. I do not want to make promises to myself that I end up abandoning because of my work or company schedule. My goals involve the creative aspects of my life and have been unchanging for a number of years now. For writers, our methods of inspiring new work may change, but the output is always the same – words. Our passion lies deep – we cater to our desires. My desires also lie in complimentary areas of creativity, especially photography. I am a truck window photographer – a fly by skidding to a halt picture taker along the side of the road hoping for a handy turnout… just ask anyone who’s been along for the ride! Today’s challenge of self-portrait was considered here and there with a little bit of “yuck”… but when the opportune moment hit me… it fit the assignment and it fit me. It is my reflection in my own truck window while on the day’s sojourn.

Searching for sunshine on a grey day >> only pop of color = Sunshine (my truck) and the flag; only life form = sunshine (my man) Ray:


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2014 comes to a close…

The end of another year… it seems to be the place to look for new beginnings. The year ahead may hold major change, needed adjustments, or an unknown future. In this moment, we may just be looking forward to an evening with friends or one in quiet contemplation… no matter which way you decide to usher in the New Year, I encourage you to look back over the last 12 months with positive reflection. Take note of the good things that happened, these are the memories that will carry you through into 2015 and beyond. To all my writing friends and readers of my blog, I thank you for your never-ending support and appreciation. I look forward to the New Year with a renewed commitment to my writing and creativity. Happy New Year everyone and here’s to another awesome year in this amazing journey!

2014 personal recap for FB

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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:


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.”


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.   


Filed under On Life

100/2 Hues of Pewter

The other day my daughter asked me if I liked her sweater. I said yes.

“But it’s grey… I’m not sure if I do,” she declared decidedly as she went off to change into something more “Kelsey.”

I didn’t understand why the change because it really did look good. I rather liked it. But, as I said, I like grey. I’m not sure why I like grey but it has always appealed to me in some way or another – perhaps, it is because of its subtle qualities; it’s a hue less oppressive than black and certainly of more substance than plain old white. It is silver in jewellery and pewter in decor. It is flannel in suits and dapple in horses. It doesn’t stand out. It’s rather common, sometimes dull, and could even be defined as lifeless. I guess it really depends upon what it is that’s grey – I certainly am not impressed with the strands that appear in my hair, more frequently now as I get older. It certainly is not an endearing color for our beautiful Alberta sky. Given it is moving into November, however, grey seems to be the shade of the day for weather. Grey moods are downers and they hit me, more often than I’d like to admit, but again, isn’t it much better to have a grey mood than a black one? Come to think of it, I am lucky my greys don’t morph into blackness, but then again, I’m not hit with many lately I would classify as white ones, either – if there is such a thing in a mood. Grey is the new blue – grey moods are sullen and overpowering and overwhelming like low hanging rain clouds on a Sunday afternoon.

Here I am jumping on the band wagon to declare my take on the many shades of grey – I admit there is nothing bright about wearing worn out clichés, despite how many millions they have raked in. Grey can be sky, color, and/or mood – it can change in the blink of an eye or the parting of the clouds. It can even be hidden, masked by the façade as apparent delight in life.

Since we can’t change the weather we have to do what we can… so when things look down and you are given to the grey, there’s nothing like a ten buck box of sunshine to lighten up your fifty shades.

grey skies


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The early morning sun peered through a cumulus shade – just one bright eye upon the world, deciding whether to wake or remain in patient wait for its time upon the stage. The showers come with dawn’s new day, their cloudy gloom an attempt to discourage the bright one; but fear not, for we should be so bold as to always rise and shine, despite the forecast. If we choose, a sunny disposition is our destiny, whether obvious or hidden.

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