A Bird’s Eye View – Landscape

Early, early, early one morning last May, while on holiday in San Migel de Allende, Mexico, we treated ourselves to a hot air balloon ride.  And me, with a fear of heights! But I didn’t think of that – not once all morning.  It was such a fun (and…ummm….uplifting?) experience.

  
Morning mists over the mountains.

  
The sun rise made for some long shadows.

  
We were not alone.

  
The lovely, historic, UNESCO World Heritage city of San Miguel de Allende nestled into the mountains.  The cathedral, the Parroguia de San Miguel Arcangel takes centre stage.  Can you find it?

“To the complaint, ‘There are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.”  ― Ansel Adams

WPC – Landscape

Back Into the Light

I had a bright idea as this year dawned.  And that was to record the changing light on my view of Rose Bay from winter to summer and back again.  So I vowed to take a photograph every day of the year at exactly 5pm from exactly the same spot.

I learned that it’s really tricky to remember to do that everyday at the same time, particularly as the days get longer.  It’s impossible when you are away for the better part of one month (as we were in May). And as summer warmed up, the project was forgotten completely.

However, for the record, here is the transition of light from winter to summer here in my corner of this northern county:

January 1 & 25

February 13& 28

March 23 & April 18

April 27 & June 18

This little study illustrates that winter may have come late to us in 2015 (no snow until in February), but it sure stayed late……… (Sigh).

WPC – transition

A Walk in Gatineau Park

With all the heart breaking news reports and difficult conversations taking place at this moment, it kinda feels like a good time for a walk in the woods.  About a month ago, we were in Ottawa, with a day all to ourselves. We opted to leave the city behind and explore Gatineau Park. Come along, and I’ll show you a little of what we saw ………

image

image

This conservation park covers 361 square peaceful kilometres of land, but is just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.  It is popular with locals and visitors alike, apparently attracting 2.7 million visits a year.  But on this day we were lucky…. It was a chilly, damp Monday and the place was relatively quiet, but as you can see, still very beautiful.

image

image

After a couple of hours of exploring, we made our way to the Mackenzie King Estate, a country property of the former prime minister, bequeathed to all of Canada. It’s now part of the Park.

image

image

It seemed like the right thing to do, so we finished off with a warming visit to the Tea Room.

image

 

 

A Look at San Miguel de Allende

Earlier this month we escaped the last of the snow (yes indeed, there were still bits of snow around here, in the shadows, on May 1!!) and headed to Mexico on a long anticipated holiday.  Come along…. I’ll show you some of the sights of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico:

IMG_3613

This view of Hernandez Macias is a typical streetscape.  But to be fair, SMA is so picturesque, there is a photo at every step.

IMG_3423

A look over the roof-tops toward the city centre.

IMG_3476

IMG_3449

Settled by the Spanish in the early 16th century, the name San Miguel refers to the founder, Father Juan de San Miguel.  I’ve heard that the parish church, La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel,  is one of the most photographed churches in Mexico. One thing is for sure, you can see the spires from almost anywhere in town.

IMG_3589

Another pretty street.  All the streets in SMA are cobblestone, which can’t be easy on the cars…. or anyone in heels.

IMG_3434

A hacienda turned boutique hotel.

IMG_3585

A pedestrian space adjacent to the Plaza Allende, or el Jardin.

IMG_3386

Another cobblestoned street.  This one in the neighbourhood of San Antonio, which is where we stayed.  And here is a look at the bell towers of the church of San Antonio in the evening:

IMG_3375

San Miguel de Allende played a significant part in the struggle for Mexican Independence.  By the beginning of the 20th century, the town was waning and in danger of becoming a ghost town.  It was sort of “re-discovered” by foreign artists, who moved in and can be credited for it’s renaissance as an arts-based community and probably for it’s preservation. San Miguel was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.  Apparently, about 30 percent of the population is now ex-pat Canadian and Americans. They say, the clear, bright light attracts artists as well as the Baroque/Neoclassical colonial architecture.  But frankly, I think the perfect climate also has something to do with it.  And the food……

Mending Wall…..

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun,

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. – Robert Frost, 1914

photo

In the village I grew up in, there were many old stone walls left from earlier times.  Most of those are now found in wooded areas.  Obviously, built by the earliest settlers of the place, the walls tell of a rough landscape, where land was cleared of trees and rocks – the rocks piled to create the wall. They speak of the dreams, hopes and plans of those sturdy souls (who were mostly Irish – a people who knew a thing or two about stone walls). What stories could those walls tell, I wonder? In spite of the back-breaking work of years ago., nature has quietly, gently reclaimed what was hers.

When we built our present house, a decade ago, here – in the middle of an old pasture – I was delighted to discover an old stone wall on the land.  That was the inspiration for our retaining wall.  We built this last fall, between the house & garden and the driveway.  Every stone is from this piece of land.  Every stone placed by one of us – creating a connection.

At present, this stone wall is underneath a (slowly melting) snowbank.  I  pray the “frozen ground swell” hasn’t caused it damage….. only Spring will tell for sure.

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Wall