Category Archives: Photography

A Dodgy Summer

It has been a rather dodgy spring and summer also has had an interesting start. Well, not really. Kind of alternating. A couple of days of cold rain followed by a couple of days of sweltering humidity. Really unattractive.

But …

There have been wild roses.

And interesting clouds.

And panting northern hot dogs.

And lots of green growing.

And more wild roses.

But my, it’s been rainy and humid and cold.

Not the best spring/summer, but lots to appreciate.

How about yours where you live?

Where’s Home?

When you think of home, what do you think about?

Is it a town? A city? A building?

Is it being in the same place with your significant other?

Or is it a state of mind?

The melting ice of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories.

Do you have to leave it in order to recognise it? To know that it’s home and it’s where you belong?

I left “home” many years ago. So many places have now been “home” that I don’t really think of it any more as a place.

You can’t go home again. That is the title of a novel by Thomas Wolfe. In it, the idea of home is explored, but there are no definitive answers.

Once you leave home, does home become a construct? Is it an illusion? A sentiment? If what you experienced as home still exists, is it the same? Or was it ever what you thought it was?

I think of home as a place in my head. I don’t always recognise it, but I know it when I feel it. The land where I now spend my working life is a type of home, but I also know that it isn’t home.

Some people can’t wait to get back home. They will only leave it temporarily, if they do at all.

I couldn’t wait to leave home. I wanted nothing to do with it and got as far away from it as I could, both physically and emotionally. I had to find my own concept of home, and did so by exploring the homes of many others. I travelled a lot, both throughout Canada and the world.

And what I found was that the idea of home held a great number of commonalities across ethnicities, countries, religions and regions. It was often about a familiar group of people doing familiar things in an environment that, for the most part, held few surprises, even if there was a war going on. In fact, the notion of emphasising their familiarities was even more pronounced if there WAS a war going on.

So, maybe home is about expectations. We expect certain people to be doing certain things in certain ways in a certain environment. When all about us moves and changes, this idea of home provides a great deal of – well – certainty.

I once took a course that taught that expectations are inherently disappointing. That if you expect something, and then don’t get it as so often happens, you are causing a lot of trouble for yourself.

Maybe that’s why you can’t go home again. Expectations are never what they are in your head.

Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts about home?

 

Meet the Bruin Triplets

We recently encountered the Bruin triplets. As a precaution, we photographed them through our windshield – the photo quality suffered because the window was dirty and there’s also a lot of visible glare. The bears are coming into a lot of contact with humans however, and we think it’s best not to open windows or to stop and get out. The more minimal we can be, the better, because in the end, it’s the bears that pay the price for human thoughtlessness.

The bears? Well, they’re just being bears.

One of the bears was particularly explorative while the other two stayed close to mummy. They all appeared to be very healthy and well fed.

These bears were born during the winter and will stay with their mum for about the next 12-14 months until they become juveniles, at which time they will start their independent lives. Their mum will go on to find another mate and to give birth again.

But as with all young ones, right now they are completely adorable. 🙂

Naramata Peacocks

The Okanakan Valley is more known for wine and fruit than it is for peacocks but surprisingly, they have nevertheless become a part of the ecosystem.

About 20 years ago someone abandoned some pet peafowl to the forest near the village of Naramata. No one thought that in the long run they would survive, and there were attempts to capture them.

But here they are, years later, fitting in well and doing their peacock thing. They’re Canadian now.

It’s a bit odd seeing them strutting around, but odd can be a very interesting thing. 🙂

Wood Buffalo National Park

Wood Buffalo National Park is one of the largest preserves in the world.

M and I recently drove through a small part of it.

We saw bison (buffalo) of course but also bears.

And a sink hole.

It was the middle of May but there was still a little ice and snow at the bottom of it.

We didn’t see any whooping cranes – this park has one of the largest whooping crane nesting sites in the world – but had a very interesting short visit to an environmentally sensitive and important area.

Have you been to a park lately?

Mother’s Day Bears

On the weekend, M and I drove through Wood Buffalo National Park on our way to Fort Smith. We saw quite a few bison (frequently mislabelled as buffalo; the park has also retained the old inaccurate name) but lots of bears as well.

They have been out and around for about two to three weeks now and are fully awake.

I was surprised at how tame they are. This bear stayed in the road, unphased, as we carefully maneuvered around him. He looked hopefully at us as we passed.

There were others as well. This one stood up, also unbothered, as we slowed down to take his picture. There was no attempt to flee.

Another beautiful bear was curious enough to start walking towards us. We took the picture and pulled away.

I was dismayed to learn later that the reason why the bears seem so comfortable with people is that they are often being fed. And in a national park no less! Heartbreaking. As the saying goes, “a fed bear is a dead bear.” This park is huge (bigger than Switzerland) and there is limited access by vehicle, so park rangers will try to move bears that become too friendly into the back country. Unfortunately, some of them return and are then euthanized. All because human beings can’t stop being idiots.

 

A Drive through the Rockies

We recently left British Columbia to return to the Northwest Territories. We took a more northern route through the Rockies and past Jasper National Park.

Before entering Jasper, we came up to Mount Robson. It’s the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies.

Although there was still some snow on the ground the temperature was two or three degrees C above zero.

We were in high mountain country, but Mount Robson was still quite a frozen surprise sitting in the early spring sun.

The driving conditions were great and although our drive was long, it was incredibly scenic. To the east of Mount Robson, we entered Jasper National Park.

After this range of mountains, we started the drive’s next leg through the northern prairies.

Have you had any interesting road trips lately?

An Okanagan Hike

We recently enjoyed some hiking in the Okanagan.

The weather was glorious (especially after our chilly northern snowscape) and we enjoyed it immensely.

There was a little snow at the higher elevations, but mostly there was just some lovely melting.

There will soon be lots of grapes and a new wine season …

… time to enjoy some some summer sippers. 🙂

And an update: we have now returned to the Northwest Territories and have brought some favourite bottles with us. Wonderful to have the warmth of that valley with us as we continue to face up and down temperatures and more snow.

How is your spring coming along?

Yup – It’s Spring

I’ve been taking a break from the northern -20° climes …

Site of the juvenile snowboarding venue – 2018 Arctic Winter Games, Fort Smith, NWT

… and experiencing much warmer weather in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. 17°C to be exact.

This is the NK’Mip First Nation winery and resort just outside of Osoyoos. M and I didn’t stay there (or swim in the pool), but we did stop for a really fantastic lunch. Osoyoos is about 45 minutes’ drive – through stunning wine country – from our home.

The grape vines are still dozing, but they will soon be fully awake.

After buying some favourite wines, we moseyed back. This photo is of a reflection over Osoyoos Lake.

Here it is again, right side up.

Having a break from the continuing cold weather in the north has been wonderful. *Sigh*  🙂