Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Knock at the Door

I had been thinking about my older son, Jeffrey on Friday. More than usual. In some strange way I felt like he was coming home but I knew that his next stay wouldn't be until his holidays begin on December 11th.

He was on my mind while I made lunch, thinking about how much he could pack away in one sitting. I thought about him while straightening up, and placing some of his mail on his desk in his room. I thought about him as I refilled the bird feeder, and checked the suet basket, a gift from him last year. I had many different, fleeting thoughts about him throughout the course of the day. I chalked it up to missing him and wishing he was here. Two more weeks, and he'd be home until after New Years. That thought was comforting and smile-evoking.

On Friday evening, we were trying to figure out what we were going to do for dinner. Frank was here, as he usually is Friday through Sunday, and we were waiting for my younger boy's Dad to come pick him up for the weekend. We had a couple of rock Cornish hens defrosting in the fridge and we weren't sure if they'd be thawed enough for that night's meal, so we were considering our options. As events evolved, it turned out that Alex would be staying with us for a few hours so we had to reconnoiter. Our choices were limited, considering portion quantity, state of readiness (frozen or not) and cooking time. We decided to check online to see what we might order-in. That's when we heard the knock on the door.

I thought it could be Don, on time for Alex after all. Or someone trying to sell me something. Or a neighbour, looking to borrow a cup of something. Or friends from across the street with a somewhat later than usual typical Friday visit. I trudged downstairs to greet whomever it might be. Brightening up my doorway and my heart simultaneously, was my son Jeffrey, with a surprise visit home for the weekend. His Dad knew he was on his way. His brother did too. Only Frank and I were in the dark, but my day brightened considerably upon his arrival.

Dinner ended up being a bit of a free for all. Frank opted to stay home with a sub, and watch basketball while Jeffrey, Alex and I caught up at a nearby restaurant. After dinner, the boys drove to their Dad's together to spend the night. On Saturday, Frank and I dug deep into the chest freezer and found a few racks of beef ribs - one of Jeffrey's favourite meals, so of course it didn't take any arm-twisting to convince the boys to come by for dinner the next night.

The weekend has now come and gone. After stopping by for a satisfying lunch, Jeffrey headed home for his three hour drive back to Kingston. He hoped to keep ahead of the snow storm that they threatened will start late today and continue into tomorrow, and he was successful at that. I've already received his email letting me know that he arrived safely.

Right now, it's pouring rain, and as the wind howls I am wrapped in the warmth of this weekend. I'm grateful for Frank, for knowing what it means to me to have this cherished time with Jeffrey. And to Don for slyly hiding our son's planned visit from me so that I could be joyfully surprised. And I'm grateful for whatever time I get to spend with my boys - my men. Thanks for the wonderful weekend, guys!

Below are a few photos - some are recent and some go back a few weeks. I'll post some more in a few days.

This is the first freeze-over of my local pond. Though we've had above-freezing temperatures for over a week now, parts of it are still icy today. (please click to enlarge)

This is a repeat posting of an apple on the frozen surface of the pond. When Photowannabe saw it, she wondered how it might have looked in black and white, so I took it into Photoshop and de-saturated its colours. This one's for you, Photowannabe. (please click to enlarge)

***Spider shot warning! Next photo only.***

Walking through the snow one day, we happened to notice this spider making its way along to.. somewhere. It was a long way from its home. I hope it made it to shelter. (please click to enlarge)

Nothing remains of this snowfall from a couple of weeks ago. We've had warmer temperatures and plenty of rain since then. For now, we can continue with the illusion that winter has not really begun. (please click to enlarge)

Let's back up a few weeks and breath in the fresh autumn air for a minute. This bench and its shadow caught my eye, as so many things do in the late afternoon sunshine. Have a seat before we move on. (please click to enlarge)

Enough sitting. Let's get ourselves in gear, and move on. (please click to enlarge)

Before autumn's end, this maple tree had resisted turning red. Looking up at its branches, you can see the sun filtering through its leaves. (please click to enlarge)

A vibrant tangle of dead and dying, amber-coloured leaves. (please click to enlarge)

One day in early November, the temperatures were unseasonably warm. I walked up to a nearby lake and spent a couple of hours strolling, sitting and enjoying my surroundings. This seagull landed on a railing close to where I was relaxing on the dock, and kept a close, watchful eye. (please click to enlarge)

After a while, he let out this silent yawn. He must have grown bored with me. (please click to enlarge)

On the dock, a lone oak leaf lies discarded, its skin shining like gold in the warm sunshine. (please click to enlarge)

The sunset burns like fire through the branches of the cedars. (please click to enlarge)

This was taken at dusk as we were walking away from the cedar grove. I had the shutter speed set fairly slow, and was rather unsteady in handling the camera, so everything turned out blurry. Frank is holding a stick and the ghostly smudge on the right is Benny as he jumps non-stop in his attempts to acquire that stick. Classic Benny. (please click to enlarge)

More photos in a few days.


Kat said...

What a most wonderful surprise! I suspect you had a mother's intuition all along. I'm so glad you were able to enjoy some quality time with your men. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had that special time with both of your sons together. Kudos to Frank for understanding how precious that time was for you!
Your youngest and my youngest share a name. :)

It was a shock to go backwards from snow into autumn. I had almost forgotten what a green leaf looks like on a deciduous tree! It's funny (funny-peculiar) how the human mind works.

Cedar said...

What a great weekend and wonderful surprise. Loved the pics, except the spider one...I smacked my screen.

Zip n Tizzy said...

This made me smile, as I also have two boys, and I can only imagine what a lovely surprise this was for you. Sounds like all the men in your life are just lovely, and that they all know just what would make you happy.

Anonymous said...

I love it. yesterday my daughter turned three and I know Ill blink and she'll be twentyTHREE.

hitch writer said...

Really lovely pictures..!!!!

Zuzana said...

There is noting like the connection between a mother and her children. It is ever so evident in our family, we do not almost mention it anymore, but it is there constantly; calling each other at the same time, sending emails simultaneously. Even when we lived in the same city (which is ages ago now), we would constantly meet in stores and on the streets.
I am so happy you have such wonderful men in your life that make sure you are happy.
Your pictures are lovely; this time more than before I am noticing the light. It is reflective of the sun being low in the horizon.

Kerri Farley said...

What a fabulous surprise!!

Your pics are awesome as usual. That bench with the shadow is captivating!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

you live in such a pretty place, I should knock on your door next time I visit TO!!!!!!!!!!
that last shot, with Frank and BENNY? gets his essence, doesn't it?

the Bag Lady said...

Aww - how cool that they kept it a secret to surprise you! You have some great men in your life, Hilary. Of course, that doesn't surprise me - you deserve them!
Great photos, too - love the blurry one of Frank and Benny. Benny the blur.

Michelle H. said...

I can imagine you smiling for the entire weekend at such a fantastic surprise.

The spider in the snow - what an amazing sight to capture. You must love those rare moments of nature when you spot something like that.

Leah J. Utas said...

What a wonderful surprise, and you found your intuition works.
Love the pics. Y'know I felt sorry for poor spidey there. I sure hope it got to a safe spot.

Mental P Mama said...

I am so happy for your surprise weekend! And that last shot of Benny makes my day;)

Crabby McSlacker said...

What a great surprise!

Love the photos, and the Benny-blur cracked me up!

Indrani said...

So your intuition worked, I am happy for you. The spider shot is so unique... in a white background. I really hope it found a shelter. The seagull yawning... how do you manage to capture such shots!

Suldog said...

Blessings often come when we least expect them. What a great surprise! And good on your various men for keeping it a secret. Lovely.

Dr.John said...

Glad you had such a nice surprise. The pictures and commentary were enjoyable.

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

that's such a sweet surprise, Hilary......i am so glad that you had such a great weekend......and those images with late afternoon golden sunlight are precious

Shrinky said...

"..and I am wrapped in the warmth of this weekend."

Such a beautiful summing up. Yes (hugs), our kids always hold our hearts in the palms of their hands, and if we are very, very lucky, they will guard them well. Such a lovely conspiracy, plotted with pure love. (Smile.)

Your photo's, as ever, are breath-taking.

photowannabe said...

I love your early Christmas present. Jeffery's home coming must have filled you with so much joy. Love all your shots and thanks for posting the apple in black and white. it creates such a different feel.

Frank Baron said...

I can only echo what your fine, intelligent, perceptive respondents have said:

Hilary, you are a very lucky woman indeed! I think it's time you rewarded those fine men in your life. Home-baked peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies should do the trick. About 3, no - best make it 4 dozen.

You'll have to ask the other guys what they want.


Woman in a Window said...

Grown men, those boys. And I think on your comment on that post I wrote about aging and I can't believe you're the age you claim. Nope. Not for one moment. Your photo looks so very young, soo too does your outlook on life.

Louise said...

What a heart-warming surprise for you! I love how you were "wrapped in the warmth of the weekend."

Love the photos. I'm especially drawn to the light in the autumn one, and the last one with Benny barely visible makes me laugh!

AJEYA RAO said...

New here! Interesting blog.

Hilary said...

• Thanks Kat. Me too! I appreciate your stopping by. :)

• I know what you mean, KC. It's like temperature changes. I can get used to an unseasonably warm day in about 3 seconds. But put me back to the cold, and I need a few weeks to reorient myself to that. We actually still have a few leaves clinging to life, as you'll see in my next post. And yes, Frank's understanding is always much appreciated. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Cedar. That explains the mess on my monitor this morning. ;)

• Yes, Z&P. I'm lucky to be surrounded with some pretty wonderful males. It was indeed a great surprise. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• That's so true, MizFit. It happens in a heartbeat. Happy birthday to the Tornado. :)

• Welcome, Hitch and thank you. :)

• Thanks kindly, Protege. That's a great connection you have with your family. What a comfort when you're living so far apart. I'm glad you like the photos, and yes, that's my favourite time of day. Colours become so saturated with colour then. Thanks always for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Kerri. I'm glad you liked the photos. Thanks for coming by. :)

• Thanks, Gary. That would be cool! You let me know the next time you're up this way and I'll let you know which door to knock on. Yes, that's the essence of Benny.. so is dead fish, on occasion. ;)

• Thanks kindly, Baggie. Sweet of you to say so. :) Yes, I have great men in my life - lucky me. Benny the ghostly blur. That's what we see on a regular basis. Thanks for coming by. :)

• Thanks, MLH. Actually, Frank spotted the spider making its way along at a fair clip. It reminded me of the odd little bugs we saw on the snow in spring earlier this year. You just never know what you're going to see out in those magical woods. :)

• Thanks, Leah. I felt kind of sorry for it too, but not enough to pick it up or anything. I draw the line after mice. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks muchly, MPM. I'm glad you enjoyed the photo of Benny. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Crabby. Yup, he cracks us up on a regular basis - several times an hour - at least. ;)

• Thanks very much, Indrani. The spider was a fluke, I think. Unless there are arachnids that hang around in winter, I'd say he was a displaced insect. As for the seagull, I just kept snapping shots for about 10 minutes straight. Some of them had to turn out. ;)

• Thanks kindly, Sully. My sentiments exactly. Welcome back into the Blogosphere. We've missed you. :)

• Thank you, Dr. John. Much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Moi. I'm glad you like them. Thanks for visiting. :)

• Thanks so much, Shrinky. Yes I've been very lucky with my heart's placement in their hands. Nicely put. Thanks very much for your always-kind words. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Photowannabe. And I was happy to do that for you. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Frank, there was a huge tray of cookies, brownies and cakes over on the sidebar. Too bad you showed up late, but I'm sure that everyone who arrived ahead of you can agree that they were delicious. ;)

• Thanks for the kind compliment, WIAW. Much appreciated. Just for that, I saved some of those cookies for you. Pssst, don't tell Frank! Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Louise. Benny would keep you laughing for sure. I'm glad you like the photos. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Welcome, Ajeya and thanks for stopping by. :)

Cheffie-Mom said...

What a wonderful surprise! I'm so glad you had such a great weekend. And the pictures are a treat as usual!

CC said...

We got our first "freeze" here this morning. Freeze meaning it got cold enough to frost the rooftops and cars and grass before warming up to 55 degrees this afternoon.

It's nice to see my kids finally able to wear the expensive winter coats hanging in their closets that only get to see the light of day 2-3 weeks a year.

CC said...

Snow Spider!

So not even the cold kill arachnids off?

CC said...

You know I've been meaning to leave a link to my long-time blog friend in England. He's really into photogrpahy and I think you'd like his blog.


Apparently I forgot how to make links. Sorry about that.

Cath said...

What a fantastic surprise! You do have a lot of love and cherishing around you. And I am so glad for you that you and Frank found each other. You seem to have a really good balance to things.

The photos are great as always. Love the bench under the tree and the apple on the pond but I think I preferred it in colour. Then again, I just love all the colours you capture...

Tink said...

What a great surprise! I'm glad someone knew though. Otherwise, you might not have been home. I've had that happen before. I was stuck in the car waiting for three hours. Lol.

JC said...

YEAH for a great surprise perfectly excuted. Wonderful pics. Thanks for sharing.

Reb said...

How great that your men could surprise you like that. Lovely photos, the one with Benny all blurry is fabulous.

Country Girl said...

How wonderful to hear how you were wrapped in the warmth of your weekend. Loved it!

blunoz said...

What a wonderful treat! I'm so glad you got to spend time with your boys this weekend. Thank you also for your insights on my blog. You convey a wisdom of having successfully raised two fine boys, and I hope my boys turn out as well as yours.

Dianne said...

Fantastic surprise :)

I bet when Benny looks in the mirror he see that same 'Classic Benny' blur lol

Shammickite said...

That was a terrific surprise, to open the door and find your son there, grinning his head off probably! Glad you had a great weekend. I'm home from Florida but haven't managed to post anything on the blog yet, perhaps in a couple of days I'll feel more inspired.
Lovely pictures, as always, Hilary.

Dave said...

Wow, what a lot of comments! Hillary, I can understand your excitement at the return of your son. Wonderful. I enjoyed your photos and descriptions too. - Dave

Stace said...

Oh dear god, if you EVER post a pic of a spider here again without giving sufficient warning... then I will have another heart attack.

However, that said, I'm very glad you had a lovely weekend and got to see your son :)

Anonymous said...

Nothing I love more than seeing my adult kids standing in my doorway, and by surprise? All the better! So glad for you. These visits do a mother's heart good!

Kappa no He said...

A mother knows. That was so lovely. The pictures as always awesome. Loved the 'spider warning'.

Hilary said...

* Thanks very much Cheffie. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks EWBL. Our snow has long gone again but it'll be back - probably before I blink. I had never seen a spider out in the snow before, but they're living somewhere - preferably not in my house. Thanks for the linkage. I took a quick look (I'm not at home right now) and noticed you mentioned my blog there as well. Thanks for that. I'll give it a better look shortly. :)

* Thanks very kindly, Cath. You're right - I do have some great people in my life. I liked the colour photo better too, but I usually do prefer colour over b&w. Thanks very much for stopping by. :)

* Tink, those reverse surprises kind of take the fun out of it, eh? ;) Our Friday evening schedules are pretty predictable. But true, you never know. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks very much, JC. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

* Thanks, Reb. Blurry Benny still cracks me up. It's SO him. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very much, CG. Much appreciated. :)

* Thank you, Bluenoz. From everything I've read on your blog about you and your guys, you're well on your way to being the Dad of great men. Just hang onto their little baby hands as long as you can. :)

* You're right, Dianne. He used to bark his fool little head off at his reflection. Now he just moves too quickly to even see it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Welcome home, Shammie. I think Jeffrey and I had matching grins. I'll look forward to seeing your posts when you're back in practice. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks very much for the kind words, Cimba. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Your visits are always much appreciated. :)

* Thanks, Stace. May you have many pleasant similar surprises in your future.. the visits, not the spiders. And I DID give a spider warning this time, and it was with you (and a couple of others) in mind. :P Sorry, Stace - I never intended to scare a pregnant lady. :)

* They sure do, MT. From what I read over at your blog, you know that joy very well. Thanks always for the visit. :)

* Thanks very much, Kappa. A mother doesn't always know (thank goodness for that) but this time I think I might have. Oh and can you please show Stace where to find that spider warning? ;)

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

That is awesome. Times like those are what it's all about.

And I still love that Benny.

Russell said...

Well, looks like I will check in at #44! Hope you see this comment!

I am SO happy your son came home for the weekend!! That is really, really good news!

He is definitely a good son - since I know often young men of that age have many other options as to how to spend their time. But to make the 3 hour trip home to see mom and dad, well, that is really good!

I love the photo of the gear! By far my favorite!!

Take care.

Tricia said...

Hilary, the photos are gorgeous, and I love how you turned the clock back a few weeks.

I remember many years ago when I was living in Europe and I flew home to the states to surprise my parents. The look on their face when I walked in the door was something I'll cherish forever. I'm so glad your son got to surprise you, and that you got to be surprised even with your mom's intuition.

steviewren said...

Isn't funny, how you were thinking about your son when he was planning on surprising you. I'm glad you had your surprise visit with the "boys."

My favorite photo of this group is the one of the lone leaf on the wooden dock. It would make a lovely watercolor.

Daryl said...

I knew it .. as soon as you said you were thinking about him .. that happens to me all the time .. its all about connections.

Excellent post .. lovely visit... and Frank is a keeper but you knew that.


Hilary said...

• Thanks, MamaGeek. Benny gets a scratch behind the ears every time you mention his name.. so he really loves you too! :)

• Thanks kindly, Russell. Not to worry.. I see and reply to almost every comment I get. I wouldn't miss yours for anything. I'm not at all surprised that the gear was your favourite - I wonder why that is.. ;) Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing my joy. :)

• Thanks so much, Tricia. I'll bet your parents were thrilled with your surprise visit. Clearly, I know what that's like. And it's obviously given you a lifelong happy memory as well. Thanks very much for the visit and the kind words. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Steviewren. With your artist's eye, that means a lot to me. You're welcome to give it a shot if you like. I'd love to see what you do with it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Daryl. I'm not too surprised that you knew. You're an intuitive sort for sure. I know that partly because you're absolutely right about Frank. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

Mike Qian said...

I like it! thanks!