Wednesday, January 30, 2008


All that is noble is in itself of a quiet nature, and appears to sleep until it is aroused and summoned forth by contrast.
~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The wind is howling outside my window this morning. The above-freezing temperatures of the past couple of days are dropping rapidly and local television stations are alerting us to the dangers of an impending flash freeze as the mercury plummets over the course of the next hour or two. I'm grateful to be indoors today. The cats are contentedly licking their coats after enjoying their usual breakfast while my son is sleeping soundly in his bed. I'm also glad that he remembered to bring the trash can and recycle bins in after yesterday's collection, so that none of the plastic containers clattering around on the street are mine. The stillness and warmth of my home contrasts with the teetering trees as they try to steady themselves to unyielding gusts outside. The contrast is startling, and I find myself looking for and finding it in the otherwise random photos below. Please remember to click on the images for a larger view.

The fiery orange of winter's dusk ignites the sky behind the tree's black silhouettes.

Plant pods offer up a bit of colour and contrast against the grey winter day.

Amber tones help to warm and soften these otherwise stark and prickly burrs. Click the image for a better view.

More barbs - softened in an out of focus blur. The wire fence is illuminated by the camera's flash against the darkness of nearby trees.

Despite having just raised his head out from under the water, the mallard's downy feathers always appear dry.

Frank found this unlikely treasure while walking in a wooded area featured in most of the photos seen here.

Opposites attract - the rough, stark inanimate cherub and the smooth, warm, sentient devil. ;)

In full colour versus black and white.

"Peace, love, unity, respect." Ironically, this message was disrespectfully spray-painted on the walkway of a local park.

“There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.”

~ Herman Melville - Moby Dick


Tink said...

He found that cherub head in the woods? Crazy! I never find cool stuff like that. One time I found a mutilated barbie. But that was more creepy than anything...

Frank Baron said...

Hilary, you made my head hurt with those quotes. You KNOW I shouldn't try to think before noon!

But it's an interesting topic and looking at the fine pics soothed my pain. :)

And Tink, I confess to being a bit weirded out when I found the partial cherub face.

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary: wonderful photos, as always. Love the way the one seed-pod resembles a little bird about to peck the pod beside it!
Oh, and that barbed wire fence? The first thought to cross the Bag Lady's mind was "Where's my hammer? That fence is in serious need of some tightening!" (one of the hazards of having cows - the Bag Lady can't drive down the road without checking all the fences she sees - makes the Cowboy snicker and say "I trained you well!!")
Oh, and how long do you think it's going to be before someone cracks that they've never seen Frank looking better...? (obviously, not that long!) :)

Reb said...

Beautiful pictures Hilary. Love the Mallard.

Cherub faces found in woods, would have me a bit weirded out too.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...that cherub head is an awesome find.

Hilary said...

• Hi Tink. He finds all sort of weird things all the time.. he a regular weird magnet.. which is very difficult for me to admit... ;) Thanks for stopping by.

• Sorry to make you think, Frank. That in itself is quite a contrast from the norm. ;) You need to write a story about that cherub face. Think about it.

• Creative viewing, Baggie. I never saw that until you mentioned it but now I sure do see the bird. And you're welcome to come do some fence repairs but I suspect that Frank won't be finding any cows out there anytime soon... but with him, you never know.. ;)

• Thank you Reb. :)

• Hi Beave. It certainly is a head-scratcher. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Jo said...

That was a beautiful post, solemn and still but with an undercurrent--it reminds me of how I always feel when I'm reading T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets.

I love the mallard's green, the pricklies, and who can resist Frank in his angel costume :)

Hilary said...

Thanks so much, Jo. I appreciate your kind words.

If you think Frank's angel costume is irresistable, you should have seen him when he was The Great Swami Pastrami! ;)

Jo said...

I saw the Frank-gypsy LOL! He's a good sport (or maybe that's how he likes to dress?). Oh, your circle of friend-neighbors sounds so warm & wonderful! I'm lucky to have a great relationship with mine too, but I envy the street parties; we'd get run over. Your parties look like a real great time; someone needs to snap a pic of you!

g-man said...

Excellent photos. Thoughtful post.

photowannabe said...

Love this series of pictures. Sounds like you are in for a nasty type day. Stay warm and cozy. The best way to spend the day.

Hilary said...

• Jo, yes we have a great neighbourhood.. like family. :) As for Frank, the pj bottoms aren't too much of a stretch, nor the bottle in the pocket ;) but the rest was mostly for show. And someone did snap one of me - Frank in fact, and it's this one in the top right corner. That'll do me for a while.

• Thanks very much G-man. :)

• Thank you Photowannabe. Today is sunny and mild .. only slightly below freezing, but tomorrow we're in for a storm.

Leah J. Utas said...

Love the silhouette.
Excellent, poetic post.

Hilary said...

Thank you, Leah. :)

Frank Baron said...

My ears were burning. Glad to see it was just a flurry of complimentary comments.

You have such nice friends Hilary. :)

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

I am new here , Hilary and am enjoying your posts the mallard's green sparkles in the patch of light it's been captured.

Hilary said...

• Frank, I sure do. :)

• Welcome, Moi! I'm glad you've wandered over. Make yourself at home. :)

Kappa no He said...

Oh my, I commented but my computer must have been acting wonky that day.

As always the pictures are beautiful.

The cherub's face is fascinating. Where could it have come from? And is there, like, a faceless cherub body somewhere nearby? Waiting maybe for the next walk to be found?

Hilary said...

Good questions Kappa. I can almost hear the soap opera organ music as you ask them. Stay tuned for another episode of The Young and the Faceless.

Nabeel said...

the duck picture is pretty cool and perfect timing. It looks like the duck is smiling. And the spray paint message on the ground, at first I thought it was a shadow

Hilary said...

Thanks for visiting, Nabeel. You're right, that duck does seem to have a grin on his face. He probably really liked the bread we'd been feeding him. ;)

Crabby McSlacker said...

Love the pictures, as usual. The cherub/Frank combo is particularly striking--what a great find!

(I meant the cherub, but Frank's a great find too.)

elasticwaistbandlady said...

We have a roving band of graffiti artists around here that like to boldly spray the word 'YEAST' on everything. I don't know what it means. My oldest speculated that its a rogue band of bakers cheesed off that Americans are going low-carb and cutting their profits.

It's as good a theory as any, I suppose.

awannabe said...

Cool artifact find. I was thinking it was going to be some archaeological discovery worth millions... shucks.

As for the weather, we had a 50 degree temperature drop within 24 hours, last Monday-Tuesday

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Crabby. I suppose both are worth keeping. ;)

• Hi EWBL. Yeast, eh? Sounds like they just wanted to get a bit of a rise out of people. ;) Thanks for stopping by.

• Hi Awannabe. I think you'd be good at coming up with eBay ads! :)