Saturday, February 14, 2009

An Upside of Down

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week, on the bus, I saw a woman whom I found disturbing. As I watched her, she angered me, though my ire eventually dissolved into a sad awareness that her mental stability was most likely precarious at best. Clearly, she'd had a very difficult life - at least her last twenty years or so. I judged her current age to be late fifties to early sixties. After she paid her bus fair, she took her seat up at the front, opposite from, but close to the driver. She was speaking with irritation in her voice, and I thought she was still conversing with the bus driver, but he was not paying any attention to her.

I was sitting a few seats back, across the aisle. In front of me, was a young man in his late teens or early twenties. He spoke to her, and I realized that they were together. He was offering suggestions on how they would arrive at their destination on time for an appointment. He was encouraging her to consider transferring to a different bus at some point, rather than remain on this one. She scowled at him. "We can't take another bus. I only have two more tickets and we need them to go home."

He stood and walked over to her and tried to explain something. She told him to get away from her. When he sat back down, she berated him. "It shows how stupid you are. I can't walk in this cold and you want me to spend more time out there? It's all your fault that we're late anyway. You always make me late. Just wait until I tell (insert any of about four different names she used as the object of that threat)." And then I felt the icy fingers of her words grasp my own heart when she hissed "I should have put you in a group home."

The young man had Down syndrome, though from what I could tell, he was high-functioning, and he impressed me with how well he handled his mother. She never once threw him off-balance. He turned to the side and smiled at her. He told her that she didn't understand what he was trying to say, and his face showed subtle signs of amused superiority. Finally, he stood up, gently insisted that she show him her transfer and then pointed out the time stamp which would allow them to continue riding any bus for the next couple of hours. He named the bus line that he thought they should take next, and calmly continued to speak over her protests until she understood. The driver, who was now listening to their conversation concurred that his plan was sound.

She sat quietly for a few seconds and then continued her steady complaints about the weather, his tardiness and his intelligence. Perhaps his diminished intellectual capacity buffered his self-esteem from the onslaught of venomous words. Perhaps her own decreased mental ability was what triggered her tirades and gave her words malice. In any event, the boy appeared unaffected by her behaviour. On the way to his seat, her son shook his head, smiled and said "You see? Sometimes I am just smarter than you!"

I wanted to hug that boy.

Below are a few photos taken over the past week from before and during our recent thaw. Please remember to click on them to enlarge.

My backyard feeder has been filled countless times this winter - sometimes as often as three times a day, depending on the weather.This isn't a very sharp image, but I did like that I happened to catch this little bird as it was about to land.

At Frank's place, an early morning walk revealed a fresh snowfall, as a peek between these two trees would indicate. (please click to enlarge)

The bright morning sun created sharp shadows like this one of a cedar branch. (please click to enlarge)

More shadows from the cedars as they lean into early morning chitchat with one another. (please click to enlarge)

The creek was crisp, clear, cold and beautiful. (please click to enlarge)

On the opposite bank, at a bend where the water ran swift, small icicles had formed on the overhanging shelf of snow. (please click to enlarge)

The next day, we stopped the car on our way to take a look at a pretty little spot - one of Frank's favourite fishing holes of yesteryear. (please click to enlarge)

Back home again, the weather warms, and shoreline trees reflect in the melting pond. (please click to enlarge)

A subtle fog rises from the lake for a muted, smoky effect. (please click to enlarge)

Sun and shadow combine to create soft shades of blue, pale green and gray upon the icy thaw. (please click to enlarge)

Late in the day, the sun drops to meet the horizon and paints the landscape with golden warmth. (please click to enlarge)

Gilded pine needles absorb the sun, and glow with the promise of spring. (please click to enlarge)


Jinksy said...

Beautiful photos, but today, that simple story has to come out tops. Full marks for observation.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Great pics and kinda sad story from the bus ride, isn't it?

Tricia said...

What a bus ride! It's amazing what people do to other people, but by the end of your story, I wanted to give him a hug too.

NJ said...

It always makes me sad when I see family treating each other this way. Sounds like this boy at least hadn't lost his self esteem. And sadder yet is usual those with down's syndrome have such pleasant kind personalities. To bad that they must be subjected to that.

Pictures as always are lovely.

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

Your story of the bus ride makes my heart ache for the poor young man. I can't imagine living with such a shrew as his mother. I am awed by his resilience to withstand her sharp tongue with unwavering patience. It is she who has the disability - not him.

Your photos are lovely! My favorite is the one of the ice cicles hanging beneath the shelf of melting snow.

blunoz said...

Hilary, You continue to be both a masterful story teller and photographer. I felt like I was sitting on the bus with you watching the events unfold and feeling the same sorrow over the son's predicament.

Another great batch of photos, too. My favorite is the first one where you captured the bird about to land on the bird feeder with his feet stretched out in front of him. You'd think coming in for a landing that a bird would put his feet downward like landing gear on an airplane, but he had his feet directly out in front of him parallel to the ground. I assume after he grabbed the perch, he continued to flap his wings to lift himself upward until he was resting on top of the perch. Great action shot.

Hilary said...

Wow, what a story, and you told it so well. It always amazes me that people find it so hard to be kind.
And I loved your photos, all of them, but especially the first one of the birds at the feeder.

Zuzana said...

I always enjoy my visit here, as your writing, as well as your pictures, are very candid.
A story, if told right, will contain a diverse symbolism, which can speak to anyone and everyone in a unique way. To me this story was about unconditional love.

The picture with the fog rising between the trees is very captivating.

I hope your weekend is great my friend, email will be on it's way very shortly.;))
Happy Valentine's Day.;)

steviewren said...

I bet everyone on the bus within cheering distance was routing for that young man. Kudos to him for being so undauntedly sure of himself. She has a treasure of a son and doesn't even realize it.

I love this group of photos with their strong shadow play.

Happy Valentine's Day Hilary!

Kat said...

That story breaks my heart and makes me proud all at the same time. The human spirit never ceases to amaze me.
You told that story so beautifully.
And gorgeous photos, as usual. :)

Peter said...

Well done on all counts, Hilary.

I am a frontline literacy provider and see situations like this literally every day--no two are alike, but they invariably show to me both the resilience and the desperation of humanity.

They also show me the fragility and inadequacy of our social systems, especially the so-called "Ontario Works" ("welfare") system.

I like that young man: he is a survivor.

Daryl said...

Wonderful photos as always and a thought provoking post

Happy Valentine's Day .. wishing you lots of Chocolate

Frank Baron said...

Initially, when I heard/read the story, my sympathy was all with the young lad. And of course, I wish life had dealt him a better hand. But it's his mother whose spirit is broken and warrants pity. The young man's is strong and he is to be admired.

The bird's near-landing is a really interesting shot. And your other pics make winter seem inviting. Almost. Great post all-round. :)

ds said...

That young man is a Valentine his mother will never appreciate. I'd hug him, too. Beautiful, thought-provoking story--and I like the pictures, too!

Tink said...

I can't tell whether the story is supposed to be uplifting or sad. Not that there's any confusion in your telling... It's just one of those two-sided things, ya know?

Beautiful photos! I really love that first one, with the bird in motion.

Reb said...

Lovely photos as always Hilary. The last with the setting sun through the pine branches is beautiful.

The woman, or his father did something right in order to have prepared him to be able to take care of himself and his mother. From personal experience, even a high functioning downs syndrome child is a lot of work. They have to be taught the same things over and over and forced to do things they don't want to do. That she did this with some sort of incapacity herself is wonderful.

Nancy said...

Your pictures and your post was amazing today. I have left you an award in the spirit of friendship on my blog. Happy Valentine's Day!

Travis Erwin said...

That shot of the rising fog is my fave.

Happy Valentines Day to you.

Mental P Mama said...

Beautiful, as always. And a very sad story to boot.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Gorgeous snapshots (visual and written).

What a little genius that son on the bus was: "You see? Sometimes I am just smarter than you!" Made me smile!

Anonymous said...


That story is the type that would haunt me. What a paradox. What a young man.

Isn't it amazing what we will see on bus ride. I have a feeling there could be book written from an author who just rode a city bus every day for year.

I think I would much rather just walk in the snow near a river~!!

Cath said...

Aaah Hilary it is so relaxing and comfortable to slip back to your place for a gentle read.
I agree with your observances of the young man and his mother. He seems to have more strength than we because I would get so angry at her when really, I should perhaps pity her. Good for him.

Beautiful photos once again - thanks for the walk.

Jo said...

The next time you see that boy, please give him a hug and say, "This is from Jo..." What a wonderful young man. And she wanted to put him? in a group home!?

What a crazy world!

Jo said...

P.S. I'm so glad you turned the comment moderation off. I was so excited to be the first to post my Pinky Tuscadero comment first, only to find I was about number 26. *sigh*

photowannabe said...

A fascinating bus ride account. So much frustration and bitterness in that poor woman. "Reb" was right though in saying that she did something right along the way since her son turned out so well with his disability. Words are such powerful tools. they can help or hinder.
Beautiful pictures too hilary. I feel like I had a wonderful stroll around the pond.

Sandra said...

What a touching story, Hilary. Sometimes smart isn't just about IQ. It sounds like God gave him his share of smarts in different currency than IQ.

Anonymous said...

After reading the story of that young man, it was so appropriate to see a bird in flight at the feeder. That young man is flying... perhaps not as high as an eagle, but with diligence, purpose, strength, and beauty.

JC said...

Great pics and post. That young man I'm sure has been dealing with her all his life so he isn't as affected as you were. Anyway, Have a happy Valentine Day.

Susan English Mason said...

The last photo looks like liquid gold. These photos are superb and I especially love the one with the tiny bird landing on the feeder.

My heart broke for that young man. It sounds like he truly loves his mother.

Indrani said...

Such a loving son! Well, the lady will realize some day! Few dialogues are often enough to give a peep into their lives. Nice shots again!!

Russell said...

Most interesting report of a most interesting couple... I have worked with many people like that woman and her son. The woman's conduct has evolved to its present and, yes, disturbing state. She is not excercising any social graces because her mind is not capable... I won't ramble but your description of the scene was so clear I could easily see both people, how they acted and it brought back many memories.

Your last image - with the glowing sun against the pine needles - reminds me of the photograph that won the Iowa State Fair Photography Contest this past year. In that image the man took a picture of Canadian geese landing in a corn field with the sun glowing off the birds' wings.

Veteran photographers were amazed at the image and said how it easily won over the thousands of other entries! And here, in your post, you have an image nearly identical to that one! I only hope many people see this image!

Sometimes we take for granted this or that -- but I can tell you that many very seasoned photographers would have a great sense of appreciation for that image!

Take care.

Woman in a Window said...

I love that! The simple shake of his head and his words, sometimes I am just smarter than you. Sweet, sweet, and yes, peculiar that his shoulders were so large. I'd not have managed as well, I should think.

Lulda Casadaga said...

Hi Hilary: Well, at least the boy with Downs Syndrome I saw on Friday was in a better place than your kid on the bus. I was driving to work and took my usual cut thru the parking lot and lo & behold (since it was a warm day I had my car window cracked open) I see this kid with headphones on just singing loudly and dancing away! :D

I just had to laugh...and when I reached my parking spot (way over on the other side of the lot) you could still here him singing!! :)

That was a nice way to start my Friday...knowing that someone is happy and carefree, despite his condition. Gave me pause to be thankful!

Speaking of thanks...I want to thank you for allowing me to enjoy the snow this Winter through your wonderful pics. We have had only one pitifull snow fall here this season...and you know I love the snow! I'm still hoping for one more...anyway keep warm and have a great week.

carmilevy said...

My heart breaks after reading your beautifully recalled vignette. When I was a teenaged lifeguard, I was privileged to coach the Special Olympics swim team. The majority of our members were Down Syndrome kids, and the session quickly became the highlight of my week.

Whatever their level of capability, they had a kindness about them that taught me volumes about how we all need to be. I am immensely saddened that this particular young man has to deal with an obviously distressed parent. But at the same time, I'm heartened that he seems to have such a good heart. And he seems to know precisely how to use it.

There but for the grace of G-d, go I...

carmilevy said...

Oh, almost forgot: wanted to thank you for your comment and e-mail. I'm blown away that we came THIS CLOSE to actually meeting, and am heartened by the fact that we have a very cool connection that may allow us to someday to just that.

What an amazing journey...

Mrs Mac said...

Beautiful photo's! Especially love the bird one :)

I think maybe the woman on the bus was suffering from stress. You don't know what you're saying if you have a bad lot of it over a long time, it can really affect your mind, making it impossible to not snap.

I feel quite sorry for her, and hope she has someone she can connect with.

NJ said...

Hilary, I thought of this post last night as we sat at the hockey game. There was another local man behind us with a young boy who was around 10-12. This child was not his son and I'm unsure of the connection..maybe it's a big brother sitution or a foster child but their is no family resemblance. The child seemed to have some issues...not sure if he's challenged or just different but he asked many questions and constantly but I was so impressed with the calmness that the man dealt with him. Even the sportsmanlike answers because the game was intense and close. Glad to overhear a conversation so much kinder than the one you overhead.

david mcmahon said...

Great post - and what a brilliant, sensitive post title.

Hilary, my mother would have so loved you ... and vice versa.

Dave said...

Hilary, what a brilliant post, words and photos. I agreed with blunoz' comments completely! Your story on the bus and your wonderful photos touched me. Thanks. - Dave

RiverPoet said...

What a good heart that young man has. And he is proof that God loves us all and protects us even in the most dire circumstances.

Thanks for sharing that....D

Shammickite said...

Downs Syndrome people are kind, loving, happy and tolerant people, Perhaps a "normal" son would have reacted differently to his mother's tirade. And in this case I think the young man was right, he was definitely smarter than his mother.
Lovely photos as usual, Hilary, and won't it be lovely when we have some green grass for our photographic subject???? Actually it's amazing how much snow disappeared from my back yard during the last week.

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

i think he deserved a hug, really! :)

loved the first and the last image, particularly...the gold in the last one is breathtakingly beautiful :)

Sandi McBride said...

Isn't it amazing the life vignettes that public transport offers? I would have wanted to hug him, too...
great post!

Cheffie-Mom said...

What a sad story, but what a strong young man. This is a very touching post.

Beautiful photos. The first one is my favorite. (:

HanamiGallery said...

That must have been a very emotional bus ride! During the story I kept feeling angry and then sad. Your pictures are really great though!

Country Girl said...

Oh, Hilary. As always, your photos are compellingly beautiful. But this time, your story of the woman on the bus was what grabbed me. What a fine young man she has. I just hope that some day, some way, she will come to realize this.

Hilary said...

• Thanks so kindly, Jinsky. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, Gary. Yes, kind of sad and kinda not, considering his strong self-esteem. A mixed bag for sure. :)

• I'm guessing that many of those on the bus felt that same way, Tricia. Thanks for stopping by.

• Thanks, NJ. I believe that most kids, whether special needs or not, are usually cherished by their families. I suspect this Mom just didn't know how else to behave and between them, they did the best that they knew how. Thanks for the visit.

• Thanks very much, Debra. I believe she truly did have a disability of sorts which resulted in her unpleasant behaviour. I give the boy a lot of credit for not allowing it to shape him. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Kevin. I see you put a lot of thought into the physics of landing birds. I think if he landed with his feet upright, he'd have bonked his beak on the side of the feeder. Your explanation makes good sense to me. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks very much, Hilary. I honestly don't know that this woman had the ability to behave differently. I think she did the best she could with what life dealt her. Somehow her son seems to understand that. I found him inspiring. Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

• Thanks for the kind words and good wishes, Protege. You are so right about this being about unconditional love, and of understanding, despite their unconventional means of achieving it. Thanks always for your wonderful visit. :)

• Thanks so much, Steviewren. I hope your V-Day was superb. I also hope the woman does realize her treasure of a son, but even more important that he does. I suspect he'll do well - no matter. :)

• Thanks so much for the kind words, Kat. I felt that same mixture of sadness and pride. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much Pete. I agree entirely. Our social systems can only do so much, I suppose but too many people fall through the cracks. I don't doubt you've seen a lot of heartache. And a lot of triumph. Thanks so much for dropping by. :)

• Thank you, Daryl. A wish for Chocolate is almost up there with world peace! ;) Thanks very much for the very kind words and I hope your V-Day was fill with all sorts of sweetness including that wonderful confection. :)

• Thanks, Frank. I agree totally with your assessment of mother and son. She certainly suffers and needs some love and understanding. Somehow her son manages to stay strong. I'm glad you liked the bird shot and inviting or not, winter offers plenty of enjoyment -particularly when out walking with you and Benny, and especially if YOU do the scooping. ;)

• Thanks very kindly, DS. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. He is indeed a rare Valentine. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• I agree, Tink. It's a bit of both. I felt the same way. Thanks for the visit and for your always-kind words. :)

• You're so right, Reb. He shows brilliant growth despite such difficulty. He couldn't have done that entirely on his own. Thanks for pointing out that bright side. And thanks always for your kind words. :)

• Thanks so much, L of L. I'll be by shortly after I'm done answering comments. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Travis. I'm glad you liked it. (Belated) Happy V-Day to you too. :)

• Thanks very much, MPM. Sad, yes but also hopeful. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks kindly, Angie. He sure made me smile too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• MT, I think you'd be right about there being decent material for a frequent bus-riding writer. I'm sure there are many mini-glimpses into lives such as this boy's and his mother's. Thanks so much for the visit. :)

• Cath, I've missed you and am so happy to see you back making the rounds. :) I think we could all learn from this boy's strength. Thanks for visiting and for the always-kind words. :)

• Jo, I'd be happy to thought-send him a hug from you if I were to see him again. And maybe even one for the Mom, who possibly needs it even more. Sorry about the comment moderation. I just had it on for that TV quiz. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Sue. There's no doubt that somebody did something right as far as this boy is concerned and I sure hope it's something he'll always carry with him. Thanks so much for the always-kind words. :)

• So true, Sandra. There's no doubt he's got his share of smarts.. and joy. Thanks so much for the visit. :)

• That was such a lovely analogy, KC. Leave it to you to find that beautiful connection. Thank you. :)

• Thanks very much JC. I hope yours was lovely. :)

• It sure does, Sue. Thanks for your very kind words. I'm glad you liked the photo. :)

• You're absolutely right, Indrani. That tiny glimpse into their lives said a lot, but not everything. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Russell, thanks for your thoughtful observations about the woman and her son. Thank you also for your very kind and flattering words about the last photo. You never fail to encourage me. Much appreciated. :)

• I'm certain that I wouldn't have managed as well either, WIAW. He carries a very large weight on his shoulders, as does his mother. I guess they're each doing the best that they can. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Lulda, it sounds like you had a wonderful start to your day. I'll bet you can still hear him singing in your head. :) I'm glad you're enjoying my snow photos. We've sure had enough of it by now, but if you're looking to have a decent snowfall, I sure hope a big one heads your way. Thanks always for the kind words. :)

• Carmi, your observations about what I wrote are bang-on. Your years as a lifeguard and your life experiences since then have clearly made you a keen observer of the human condition. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. As for our ALMOST meeting, it was such an aha moment for me to realize that we were under the same roof for several hours and then equally disappointing to know it was too late to do anything about it. But you're right. I have no doubt we'll meet sometime soon. This small world is incredible. :)

• Thanks very much, Helena. I have little doubt that the woman was over-stressed and having a difficult time keeping her emotions in check. I felt badly for her as well and hope that she has a more constructive outlet. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• NJ, I'm glad that the twosome you overheard yielded conversation that was encouraging and kind. I'd like to believe that there are a lot more people out there like your neighbour. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. :)

• David, your Mother's love and approval is the finest compliment I could receive for this post. Thank you so much for that honour. And I'm glad you liked the title. :)

• Thanks so much for the very kind comments, Dave. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and that it touched you. Your warm words mean a great deal to me. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Doris. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. He does indeed have a good heart. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Shammie. The boy definitely has a better outlook on life than his mother. Good fortune shines on him in that respect. I agree with you about the weather. I'm looking forward to spring very much. We too have lost most of our snow to the rainy weather and warmer days of last week. I won't mind a bit if it doesn't return. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

• I totally agree, Moi. If it wasn't so invasive, I'd have given him that hug. Thanks so much for the kind words about the photos. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Sandi. You're quite right about what you can observe and speculate from snippets of time spent on the bus. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much for the kind words, Cheffie. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and the photos. Much appreciated. :)

• Welcome Hanami Gallery and thanks for your kind comments. It was indeed sad, but kind of uplifting at the same time. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you so much, Kate. I suspect that she does know what a great kid he is. And that he even knows that. Difficult dynamics, but he's still such a self-assured spirit. Thanks always for the very kind words. :)

San said...

Sensitive observation of the son and mother. And your photographs, as ever, are luscious.

Merisi said...

Such a heartbreaking story!
Who would have thought that in this case it would be the mother who needed to be taken care off by her handicapped son?

I fell in love with the image of the birds at the feeder! The light is breathtakingly beautiful.

Congratulations on David's POD award!

imbeingheldhostage said...

This post gave me chills! Wow, and the emotions it it triggered in me-- wasn't expecting this today. Really well-told story!

Anonymous said...

These are impressive photographs and some look really cold. I am ready for spring.

Brookville Daily Photo

Bella@That damn expat said...

This was a beautifully told story.
And the pictures are breathtaking!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I tried to respond via email but your address isn't enabled.

Sandi McBride said...

Congratulations on POTD mention sweetie! As always, well deserved!

lime said...

bless that young man. bless him many times over. and bless you for noticing his ability and worth. he is remarkable for so many reasons. what a lesson to us all. i'm so glad you shared this snippet.

Suldog said...

Nice story, in many ways. I could often stand to be more like that young man, and less like the older woman.

Today's post, for one instance...

Tia said...

What a beautifully sad story. I am glad that that young man has the temperament to handle having such a mother. It saddens me that he is subjected to her behavior but what a wonderful example he is of how we all should handle hateful people. Don't you think?

Redbush said...

Wow! Your description of the bus ride was unbelievable. It's a little bit like the Forrest Gump movie. The boy definitely knew what was going on. He's obviously been through that before. Very sad! One can only hope that maybe he does get with someone who really loves him. Great photos!

Natalie Marie said...

I love your photos and may just come back from time to time to get a breath of fresh air in my Brooklyn apartment. Also, that quote is one of my favorites. Nice!

Kappa no He said...

Heart breaking. I can't imagine what the boy must endure on a daily basis.

Deb said...

Hi ~ Great photos but truly powerful words. It sounds as if the young man has a deep inner understanding of life that many people, including the woman, never will have. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day.

HeatherPride said...

Beautiful pictures! My heart is breaking for the young man and his mother. It seems that God knew what he was doing when he gave him to her.

Hilary said...

• Thanks so kindly, San. Very much appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Merisi. It's indeed heartbreaking in some ways but I think that boy will do just fine in the end. I hope. Thanks very much for your always-kind words. :)

• Thanks very much, IBHH. That means a great deal to me. :)

• Thank you, Abe. I'm ready for spring too. I've had just about enough winter. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the very kind words, Bella. Much appreciated. My email address isn't clikable, but it's up on my sidebar. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you so much, Sandi. Your kindness always means a lot to me. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Lime. I'm glad the post touched you. Thanks for your very kind comment. :)

• Thank you, Sully. We could all stand to be more like him at times, I'm sure. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Tia. I do agree. He is a fine example, for sure. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Redbush. I really don't doubt that his mother loves him - probably the best we she knows how. And he deals with her the best way he knows how. And somehow they plug onward. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Natalie Marie. You are most welcome to return any time to grab some of that air. I hope you will. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Too true, Terrie. And yet he appears to cope well. He's a strong soul. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much for the kind words, Deb. I believe you're probably quite right about the boy. His inner strength is awe-inspiring. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Heather. You might just be right about the boy and his mother. Things tend to happen for a reason. Thanks for the visit. :)

Louise said...

Sounds like the boy has his act together in spite of all the things against him. Would that more of us would do the same!

Really love the 1st and 2nd-to-last photos that show shadows on the snow with the color of sunrise/sunset.

Oh, and the bird feeder one is terrific! My birds eat more in the summer than the winter. What's up with that?!

Hilary said...

Thanks, Louise. I think that's strange - your birds eating more in summer. They must love BBQ season. ;) Thanks very much for your kind words. Always appreciated. :)