Saturday, July 29, 2017

A summer's stroll, a princess, and a strange-looking dragonfly

Friday's hike with my friend Pat took us to Hemer Provincial Park, just south of Nanaimo.  Although the day was very warm, the trail along Holden Lake was shaded and easy, with a light breeze coming from the lake.  There's 11 km of trail here in two large loops with adjoining cross trails, but we didn't cover them all as two of the three dogs (Lexi and Maggie) aren't much into hiking.  Nonetheless, we spent a good couple of hours on the trail that runs alongside the lake, returning the same way.  It was more of a summer's stroll than a hike, but just as enjoyable to be out among nature.

Holden Lake, alongside Hemer Provincial Park

The smaller of Pat's poms, Lexi, has become so resistant to walking that Pat recently purchased a dog stroller so she could still accompany us on easy trails.  This was her first hike with the stroller, and Lexi turned out to be a real princess - she sat up proudly and smiled royally the whole time.

The Princess in her Royal Carriage

Cosmo was just fine with this - he almost seemed to display brotherly affection for his smaller twin's need to ride in style.

Maggie, who also doesn't seem to care for walking much, especially not any distance, thought she might try lying down to see if that would get her a ride too.  (We actually tried putting her in the stroller - without Lexi -  on the way back, but she did not approved and decided she would walk instead!)

If ah lie down, will Mama get me some wheels too?

Along the trail were fluffy purple and gold flowers whose name I've forgotten, and perched atop on of them was a dragonfly.

Here's a closer look - I'm not sure if the slight breeze caused him to cover his head with his wings, or if something else was going on.  I can't find anything online to explain this unusual positioning.

The lake is surrounded by private lands (the park was a gift to the province from previous landowners), and I'm not sure if there is any public access for boats or if the ones we saw were all owned by residents along the shoreline.  Electric motors only, as far as I could tell - this fellow was enjoying trolling for some fish:

Benches along the trail gave us a place to sit for lunch, and clearings gave us lovely views of the water and the foliage in its shallows.

All in all, a lovely place to go on a summer's day - it was quiet, dogs must be on leash (and there were signs up warning that frequent complaints had led to stepped up enforcement and fines), and that made for a stressfree walk with two excitable poms and a timid Maggie.

Cosmo, seeking attention

Pat and the poms

The ever dignified and serious Maggie

(For my blog readers who are not on facebook - once again, I apologize for my absence.  It has been a crazy month - vet visits for both Maggie (followup on her allergies and thyroid and adjustments to her diet) and Allie (who is in kidney failure); laser treatments twice a week on my shoulder plus specialist visits etc; photoshoots and editing hundreds of pictures and then not having the time or energy to post them on the blog;  swimming; hiking; gardening; picking fruit from neighbours' trees and berries from my garden; visits to the piglets at the SPCA to help with their socialization etc; and trying to stay cool in hot dry weather. I shall try to do better at blogging in August!)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Oh Canada!

This is my seventh annual photo-essay in celebration of Canada Day, featuring some of the photos I've taken during the past twelve months. This year is Canada's 150th birthday, though this land we call Canada has been the homeland of indigenous peoples for at least 15,000 years. There is still much work to be done to unite peoples of so many cultures: those whose ancestors were here thousands of years ago, those who came in the last five hundred years, and those who are now arriving from countries torn apart by war or natural disaster. The photos that follow were mostly taken near my home on Vancouver Island, and by focusing on nature the post is sadly devoid of the multiculturalism that is both Canada's challenge and her strength.  Nature, however, unites us all - for we all are richly blessed to live in this beautiful land. Happy Canada Day - let us celebrate our similarities and our differences with joy, respect, and love.   

Oh Canada, my Canada, 
though I was not born here 
I need only step outside my door to know that I am home. 

My heart swells with patriotism, with love for you, my Canada,
when I wander your rocky shores and beaches,

explore your forests, lakes and rivers, 

gaze upon your soaring mountains, 

or travel your winding roads.

From cities new and old, to small towns, to countryside, 

You are my home, 

Oh Canada. 

From sunrises that fill me with delight,

To sunsets wrapping my world in pink, 

You, my Canada, breathe life into my tired body with your never ending surprises.

The tiny hummingbird who stays the winter, shivering as he awaits his nectar, 

The herons that feed as the tide goes out, 

and the red winged blackbird, your harbinger of spring. 

Like you, Oh Canada, your creatures are both strong and free:

The otters in the harbours, feasting on fish upon the rocks,

The deer that raid our gardens to keep themselves alive in winter,

The frogs that stand their ground on forest trail before hopping to the water's edge to rest upon the lily pads,

or hide among the bullrushes.

Your flowers survive the winter's cold to bloom again each spring,

Your trees celebrate summer's end with displays of brilliant colour, 

And lichen drapes the trees in strands of angels' hair

While ducks groom themselves on mirrors of glassy water.

And though your citizens may sometimes squabble, 

we are, in fact, a nation of survivors.

We have learned that we must care for the smallest and weakest among us,

We understand that we need to provide health care when it is needed,

Food for those that are hungry,

And a guiding light in rocky waters.

We know that companionship can ease loneliness,

And play is good for the soul.

But we are not afraid to explore new territory,

To cross our bridges when we come to them, 

To make new friends, no matter how different they may seem, 

Or to enjoy time spent alone
We form a nation of many peoples, of many plants and animals, of many landscapes and seascapes.  We are joined together not only by roads and waterways,

but by nature.  None of us can survive without the others;  our biodiversity of life, in all its forms and all its cultures,  is what sustains our nation.  

And if we work together, 
And love one another

Then we will still celebrate you, Oh Canada, your beauty, your vitality, your peoples and cultures, your wildlife, your waters, your sunrises and sunsets, for many years to come.  
Under one sun, one sky, one beautiful moon,  

Oh Canada, 

We stand on guard,

We stand on guard,

We stand on guard for thee. 

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada.

I'm so proud to call you my home. 

(Note:  Copyright to all photos is held by the author of this blog;  do not copy images without permission.  Sharing the link, however,  via Facebook or other social media is permitted.)