Monday, April 28, 2008

Stepping Into Spring

Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting at the computer, waiting for my younger son, Alex to arrive home from a friend's house. I heard the front door open and I expected the familiar footsteps of my boy. Instead of the thunk, thunk of teenage feet climbing the stairs, my ears were met with relative silence. Figuring he had stopped to use the washroom downstairs, I continued to focus on my task of down-sizing recently captured photographs. A moment later I thought I heard the floor creak behind me and I expected to hear the sound of a chair rolling across the floor as Alex took his usual seat at the computer behind mine. Silence prevailed. Without turning around I greeted him, but heard nothing in response. This of course prompted me to turn around and face not my younger son, but my older boy, Jeffrey who had driven home from university to surprise me with a three day visit. His grin met my look of joyful surprise, and his arms opened wide, ready to receive my lunge and hug.

Originally, his plan was to come home on Thursday and stay for the weekend, but he had work to do in order to prepare for his upcoming training this summer. With his exams finished two days earlier than planned, he decided that he would spend Tuesday through Friday at home. I cooked dinner for him that night and he returned the favour by preparing lunch for me the next day - a wonderful Mediterranean-style pita wrap with barbecued pork, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and lots of Tzatziki sauce. We drove to a nearby conservation area in the afternoon and enjoyed each others company and chatter as we explored the paths along the Credit River. Back home, we caught a glimpse of a heron (possibly the same one I'd seen the day before a bit farther from home) as it landed on the shore of our local pond. The air was warm, and the late-day sunlight filtered through the trees. My son was home and all was right in my world.

The weather has been lovely so far this month and I've had ample opportunity to go out walking. Everywhere I looked, I saw the reassurances that spring had finally sprung. Here are just a few random images from the past couple of weeks.

Frank isn't the only one who finds frisbees and other treasures when he's out walking. I came across this happy-faced frisbee while strolling along a nearby creek. Despite its broken face, its infectious smile seems to have attracted one of the many snails that were busy making trails that day.

Not too far away, another snail was hurrying along at breakneck speed, among the blades of grass. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can see its eye at the tip of the left tentacle.

In town, a store owner brightens up their outdoor display with some of the flowers they sell. Remember to click to enlarge these lovely blossoms.

One of the spring blooms in my own garden. I used to have a number of crocus flowers come up each spring along with these daffodils, some tulips and irises. This year I only had one white crocus. My next-door neighbour has never planted any crocus bulbs, and yet for the past couple of years her garden has proudly boasted some of the same flowers that mine used to display. Coincidence, Caroline? I think not! ;)

This is one of my favourite places to walk. It's just off of the paved pathway of my local park. The trees are growing at odd angles to reach the sunlight.

Looking up, airplanes left chromosome-like contrails in the sky.

A brand new leaf as it is about to emerge from this bud. Click to see more detail.

A duck perches upon a rock as the golden sunlight sets on the pond behind him.

Jeffrey and I crossed this suspension bridge which spans a narrow crossing of the Credit River. Like any normal guy, he took great pleasure in rocking the bridge while we crossed.

Our small pond reflects the sunset with shimmering warmth.

A robin perched upon a branch greets the rising moon with its song. You can see the subtle colour of the robin's breast if you click to enlarge.


Leah J. Utas said...

Great pics, Hilary. And that snail shot is amazing.

Suldog said...

Beautiful, beautiful photographs. Once again, I failed to get out and take any shots on the weekend. I've got to do so, soon.

the Bag Lady said...

What a wonderful surprise to have your son come home early.
And terrific pictures, as always. That suspension bridge looks very interesting. The Bag Lady doesn't like bridges, but that one looks cool.

Frank Baron said...

Very nice pics, as always. :)

Too bad you weren't walking with Ben and me just now. It's raining and you could have gotten some beauty shots of worms. They're all over the place!

Like your snail, they're slimy harbingers of spring. Godbless'em. :)

Daryl said...

What a lovely area you live in .. such pretty places to wander and chonicle in w/your camera AND how truly wonderful to have Jeffrey home!!!!!!!!


Tink said...

What a great surprise! I really love the pictures too. The snail and Frisbee ones are my favorite, but I'm completely intrigued by the plane chromosomes. How in the world?

Crabby McSlacker said...

What a great round up of images! The chromomsome con trails are indeed intriguing, and so many pretty spring shots! That bridge looks so inviting it totally makes me want to cross it. (But I guess I'll have to wait and cross that bridge when I come to it).

Reb said...

Love the shot of the snail! I am so glad that Jeffery was able to come home and surprise you. Sounds & looks like you had a great time. That bridge is really neat and those contrails are quite fascinating.

Carolyn said...

Your shots are very good! I love that snail :) It's nice your son surprised you. Hope you had a wonderful time together!

P.S. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog. It means a lot :)

lime said...

thanks for stopping by and telling me david sent you. what a lovely surprise from your older son. what lovely shots from your weekend.

oh and i read your first post too. i like the burrowing mole game. ;)

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Leah. Do you have any recipes for escargot? ;)

• Thank you, Suldog. I'll be looking forward to seeing them when you do. :)

• Thanks, Baggie. It was great to have him home. It doesn't appear that he'll be back this way until July now, so the visit was much enjoyed... bridge and all. :)

• Thanks, Frank! I'll be looking forward to that on my next visit most of all.. taking photos of worms.. yeah.. un-huh.. nod. :)

• Thanks so much, Daryl. I do enjoy my surroundings, particularly when I have my camera in hand. And Jeffrey's visit sure was bonus! :)

• Thanks, Tink. I'm half-expecting someone to come along and tell me that they look nothing like chromosomes, but as long as you agree, I'm happy. ;)

• Groan, Crabby! And thanks for your always-kind words. ;)

• Thanks, Reb. I'm glad you like the pics. I'm looking forward to your Tuesday offering tomorrow. :)

• Thank you, Carolyn. We had a great time. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks for your kind words, Lime. I like the mole game too. It's been sort of in hibernation for the winter and I think it's probably time that he woke up. In fact, Frank.. I've just hidden him. It's your move next! ;) Thanks for that reminder, Lime. :)

Tamie said...

Wow, those potted pansies are so pretty. I love the contrasting colors.

The frisby is pretty neat too.

I tried to take a couple of pictures of birds over this weekend, but both times they flew away before my camera would snap the picture... any pointers?

Kappa no He said...

What a wonderful surprise, and I must try that lunch he made. Yum!

I cannot believe hydrangeas are in bloom there. You guys just recently had snow on the ground. Mine are just now starting to leaf up.

Cath said...

Hi Hilary! What a lovely surprise for you. I felt your warmth and joy.

Sorry I haven't been over. Been in the garden and life just generally taking precedence over virtual reality! Now here's the spooky thing...
Snails seem to be a bit of a theme - I posted photos of a snail in my post and Tom at Wiggers World also posted some awesome close ups of a snail.

Now really spooky - I also posted photos of my garden and the pansies are the same as the ones you posted! I also did some close ups of buds. We are psychic you and me! lol

Great post. Wonderful pictures. Love the bird ones - I cannot get close enough or be quick enough.

Jo said...

What a wonderful surprise from Jeffrey, I could just feel your heart singing in your post! The way you were listening for Alex made me smile...I have a similar version of monkey-radar based on the boys' habits.

I loved the first shot...and the snail, amazing detail plus the sworls are so pretty. The chromosomes are really cool, I wonder what the story is behind them.

Anonymous said...

Your photography is stunning.

Your story was spellbinding. I was expecting a house invasion.

Kerri Farley said...

Wonderful post Hilary! A lovely surprise from your son....and FANTASTIC shots!

Daisy said...

Beautiful photos, as always!

Russell said...

My favorite part of your post was hearing that your son came home from university!! What a nice surprise!

I love your photographs and, yes, you do live in a beautiful area - but the real beauty is hearing about your time with your son. He sounds like quite a good chef, too!!

As you look at your children you can often see yourself at a younger age and, of course, a child is a compliation of feelings and memories...

Hilary said...

• Thanks for your kind words, TKWI. The only pointer I could offer while shooting photos of birds is to keep still.. and patient. For most of the semi-decent bird photos that I've taken, I stood for long periods of time with my camera focused, ready to snap the right shot. Of course, I also have a zillion wrong shots for every right one. ;)

• Yes, Kappa, our spring happened quite suddenly, after a very stubborn winter. If you try that lunch, be sure to add onions or chives if you like that sort of thing. My son doesn't, but I added some to my own.. yum! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Hi Cath. Don't apologize.. outdoors is a far better place to be than by your keyboard. There certainly seems to be a snail theme between the three blogs (and I'll bet many others), and yours and Wigger's World's captures are wonderful. I hope people will click to see them. Thanks so much for your kind words and I'll take "psychic" over "psychotic" any day. ;)

• Thanks, Jo. It was singing off-key, wasn't it? ;) I think there's a universal mom-radar for sure when it comes to our kidlets and their many noises. I'm not sure about the contrails either. They don't really make sense - to me anyway. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Ack, AL! A home invasion would have brought a few extra hits to the stats, but I much prefer my simple ending. Thanks for your very kind words. :)

• Thanks so much, Kerri. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks very much, Daisy Jo. :)

• Thank you so much for your kind words, Russell. My son's visit was my favourite part too. And you're right.. I do see a bit of myself in my kids' characters, though they'd quite likely meet that idea with disbelief. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

BOSSY said...

Bossy mesmerized by mention of Tzatziki sauce. Must Have Now.

Unknown said...

What a lovely surprise for you and some great pictures for us to enjoy


Anonymous said...

The new leaf and the snail are my favorites ... just gorgeous shots!

And congrats on your son being home ... that must've been so special for you!

Shammickite said...

It's not only the robin who is perched on a branch, it looks like the moon has found a comfy place to sit too!
Nice spring pictures! I love spring too. It's so winderful seeing everyting come back to life.
I spent yeaterday with my new grandson, but unfortunately my camera batteries died so no pics!

Pat - Arkansas said...

I've just found your blog from the link on your comment on Iowa Grasslands (Russell.) Your photographs are lovely. I foresee some time spent in perusing the rest of your posts. Now.. back to Post 1.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful! And so nice that your son surprised you with his presence! I kind of like the frisbee picture, there's something about the unwillingness to give up the smile no matter what.

Hilary said...

• Bossy, include Canada next trip. Tzatziki awaits. Ten words. There!

(Thanks for stopping by) ;)

• Thank you BritGal Sarah. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Thanks, Moosmoo. It was a thrill for sure. :) The leaf bud is one of my favourites too. Thanks for your kind words.

• I'm glad you noticed that about the moon pic, ex-S. It was a little off, so I never commented about it myself, and I wondered if anybody saw it the same way I did. No surprise that it was you. Too bad about the batteries. I know what that's like. How about investing in a backup set? Thanks, always for your kind words. :)

• Welcome, Pat! I'm glad you're enjoying the posts and hope you'll be back soon and often. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• I felt the same way about the frisbee, Gawilli. Thanks so much for the visit. :)

katydidnot said...

i heart the smiley one.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your pictures shown here. And what a nice surprise visit!! Those are always fun! Its still really cool here in Indiana, especially in the mornings. Have a great day...

RiverPoet said...

What a lovely surprise from your son! You must have been delighted!

Love the snail shot. Impressive photos!

Peace - d

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

Thats so sweet of your son, Hilary!:)
beautful images.... so finally you guys are slowly but surely stepping into Spring :)

Shammickite said...

I actually had a back-up set, but they were dead too! I think they have all been recharged just a few times too many!!

CC said...

We watched a gorgeous gray heron from the Dollar General store parking lot last last week. There's a little marshy pond behind the place and the heron was gobbling up these tiny little silvery fish.

Such fantastic nature ambiance for a dollar store!

david mcmahon said...

Which is my favourite shot? Can't pick one.

What a wonderful surprise your big boy gave you!

Hilary said...

* Thanks for stopping by Katy. :)

* Thanks, Bachelor. It's been pretty cool here the past few days too. Temperatures have been dipping below freezing overnight. That week or so of warm weather spoiled me. :)

* Thanks so much, Momma. It was indeed wonderful to have him home. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Moi. Finally, slowly but definitely heading there. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Time for two new sets then, Ex-S. Your photos are just too wonderful for missed opportunities. :)

* Wow EWBL, no kidding! I think our "Dollarama" backs onto a bus lane. I'll take that pond any day. Thanks for the visit. I expect you wore bird sox for that excursion. ;)

* Thanks, David. Always nice when you drop by. :)

Kat said...

That is such a lovely surprise. What a wonderful relationship you have with your boy. Just lovely.
Gorgeous pictures as usual. I love the snail. And the bridge. And the airplane trail. And...
Oh, forget it. I love your pics!

John-Michael said...

It is an unfair tactic to tell of your son's surprise (setting the emotions in tender receptiveness mode) then Present your artful handiwork How could anyone possibly be objestiva in that corcumstance? [smile]

The detail and "right there" clarity of the snail shot is extraordinary (put me in mind of a National Geographic image.) i have always loved the tenacity of trees along a shore line. Such determination and power is always inspiring to my senses.

Thank You, Hilary.

photowannabe said...

Wonderful to be able to walk with you and see things through your eyes. The snail shot is terrific.
That was the best kind of surprise you got. Special times with our kids are so precious.

david mcmahon said...

Thanks for the latest comment on my blog. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit!

Have a wonderful Friday, Hilary ....

Hilary said...

• Thanks so much, Kathryn. Your very kind words are much appreciated. :)

• Thank you too, John Michael. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• I agree totally about the kidlets, Photowannabe. Thanks for all of your kind words. :)

• Thank you, David.. you too.. although it's already Saturday where you are! :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos! And what a wonderful surprise for your son to give you!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What a loveley surprise to have your son home--there's a certain feeling when everyone is back together.

Only you would make me want to look more closely at a snail!

Russell said...

Stopped back again for a moment. Yes, yes, the rising moon does look nice...

I still like the reflection off the pond in the second to last photo...

Take care.

Stace said...

You always post such beautiful pictures. Every time I read your blog I am re-inspired to take up photography (again)... but I never seem to get around to it :( But thanks for the beauty and the inspiration anyway!

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Susan. I'm glad you dropped by. :)

• Thanks, Jenn. But did you ever expect the snail to be looking back at you? ;)

• Thanks for coming back, Russell. I sure do appreciate your kind words. :)

• Awww, thanks so much, Stace. I have no doubt that when you and Aidan have kids, you'll scarcely put your camera down. I can't wait to see those pics! :)

Cath said...

Just bobbing in to say "Hi" and thanks for all your support. Hope you're ok yourself.

Carolyn said...

Wow. So many amazing photos, I don't know where to start. I can't believe the snails eye. I've never seen such a thing. And The chromosomes in the sky? Amazing. I especially loved the last one... it looks like the tree branch is cradling the moon.

So glad your son gave you such a lovely surprise. Thanks for sharing all your beauty!

Hilary said...

• Thanks for stopping by, Cath. I'm doing just fine thanks. :)

• Carolyn, thanks so much for your very kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. The snail's eyes were new to me too. Then again, I'm beginning to see and learn a lot more these days because of this camera. I'm still not sure what to make of those contrails though. Thanks again for the visit. :)