Monday, March 9, 2009

A Sun Track Mind

It's almost spring in Southern Ontario. This means that in the past week we've had temperatures ranging from -20C (-4F) up to a lovely high of 16C (61F) on Friday. We've experienced rain, snow, quick thaws, floods and glorious, golden sunshine. We've also welcomed a revisit from Daylight Saving Time.

Before too long, the snow and ice will be completely gone and signs of new growth will be apparent. Despite a return to colder temperatures this week, it's encouraging to be on this precipice between winter and spring.

Last week, I took one of my semi-regular trips to visit Frank at his neck of the woods. It takes me three hours by bus and train, but it's a relaxing trip as long as I have a good book to read, and I usually do. My camera is typically on my lap throughout the trip, just in case something catches my eye.

Not far from my departure point, the tracks cross the Credit River. In summer, its waters are dotted with boats and wind surfers, but throughout the winter, its icy surface takes on many patterns, whether snow-covered or in semi-thaw conditions. (please click to enlarge)

As we pull out of Toronto's Union Station, a peek through the window across the aisle allows me to capture a shot of the St. Lawrence Market. (please click to enlarge)

The tracks hug the shoreline of Lake Ontario for much of the trip. (please click to enlarge)

The railroad tracks are shared by both commuter trains and cross-country railroads. The green GO Transit car where I sit, is reflected in the window of the VIA Rail train as it zooms by. (please click to enlarge)

Once I've settled in at Frank's place, the excitement begins. We'll usually grab some lunch, get a bit of shopping done, play a game of cribbage and before you know it, Frank is ready for a nap. Oh yes, I just exhaust him! Once he awakens, Benny is ready for his late afternoon walk. It's my favourite time of day, this time of year because the sunlight offers beautiful visuals like this gateway to the magical south cedar grove. (please click to enlarge)

At this bend in the creek, a beautiful tree bows to meet the rushing, swirling waters below. The frigid air weaves lacy patches of ice close to the water's surface. (please click to enlarge)

A closer look at the ice-covered twigs. (please click to enlarge)

This tree has a tiny wooden ledge nailed into it. It's one of the many spots where Frank leaves a peanut for the squirrels throughout the winter. One day, finding himself without a supply of peanuts, he added a nickel instead. This of course was left unappreciated and untouched by the woodland critters. Sometime after that, just for fun, I added a dime to his coin but it disappeared shortly afterward. The snow has recently thawed considerably, and as we approached the tree, I asked Frank if he'd ever found the dime on the ground nearby. As I asked, I looked down and saw it shining back up at me. It's now repositioned on the ledge beside the nickel. (please click to enlarge)

I've photographed this grove of cedars before, but I find it irresistible when the golden sunlight hits it just so. (please click to enlarge)

Along the shoreline, the golden tree trunks shimmer in the icy waters of the creek below. (please click to enlarge)

On our way back out of the grove, the sun glows from behind these kissing cedars. (please click to enlarge)

Just outside of the grove, the full setting sun brightens the path ahead of us, transforming icy patches into gold. (please click to enlarge)

In a few days, I'll post some photos of the results of last month's flood which carried great chunks of ice out over the morning walking path.


RiverPoet said...

I can't WAIT for spring! It's been beautiful here for the last few days in MD, but there is always that chance of frost between now and Easter. I am seeing buds and sprouts everywhere though. It gives me hope...Peace - D

HanamiGallery said...

looks like a really nice trip! if i was a squirrel i would take that dime and nickle and go and buy a couple of peanuts! heh. beautiful pictures as always!

Angie Ledbetter said...

These photos are really magnifico. Loved the shot out the window.

Frank Baron said...

In your list of tiring things we do, you forgot to add the UNO game.

Now people will understand why I need that nap.


Great shots as always. :)

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Is it the shopping that wears Frank out? That's what does it for me!
I love that final golden shot, plus the close-up of the river with icy branches dipping down, but perhaps the most interesting were the photos taken from the train. Your train trips sound lovely. For some reason, I thought you just lived across town from Frank. Obviously I have been mistaken. My dh commutes on the train into the City each day, but he has never taken any pictures of his commute. I might just have to send the camera with him someday!

We had 75F temps over the weekend, but by Friday night we are expecting snow again. March!!

Kat said...

What a wonderful trip!
I don't know what it is about ice covered branches, but it just seems magical.
Beautiful pictures. :)

skywind said...

I like these photos, but the spring still did not come.
Health is the Greatest Happiness
The World at The Present

Pat - Arkansas said...

Ahhhhh! The golden hour! The golden hour! The cedar grove and surrounds are just beautiful in that light!

It was over 80 degrees here today and will be quite warm tomorrow, cooling off rapidly during the evening. Wednesday, the high will be 48 and the low just above freezing -- again! Spring comes... Spring goes!

Carolyn R. Parsons said...

I wonder where you are...I'm in SW is nice to feel spring in the air..walked the dog tonight in a sweater, no felt...promising.

These pictures are fantastic. Beautiful work!


Linda said...

Very nice pictures! We have had a welcome taste of Spring here in Virginia -- temps in the 60's (F), although we had snow a week ago.

ds said...

Gorgeous, as always--that last shot is a stunner! I liked the drops of ice on the branch as well (we are finished with that here, I hope).

Anonymous said...

You took some great pics of the river! Can't believe the temps. you posted, brrr.
Haha, i saw Frank's comment about playing UNO!

Zuzana said...

Happy to see that spring is arriving in Canada as well.;))
My favorite shots are (as you probably guessed) the two last ones. And I am sure you know why.;)) Although I love the story behind the "coin" picture.;)

I agree with you on the train ride; I too love to travel by train. I love to watch the scenery pass by the window, it is unusually relaxing.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

oh its so pretty Hillary! but no Benny?

Tabor said...

You do live in a beautiful part of the world. I can hear the drumbeat of spring knocking at all the windows of my house these days.

Mental P Mama said...

What a fun adventure. I love those coins...all you need is one smart critter that works for a bank, and they're gone!

Leah J. Utas said...

It's good to leave an offering in the woods. I am sure the fairies appreciate the coins even if the squirrels aren't quite sure what to do.
Beautiful photos and wonderful words. Love the kissing cedars at sunset.

lime said...

lovely as always. giggling about the coins put with the peanuts.

Daryl said...

Oh so pretty .. and how clean are those windows .. VERY ... I am impressed ..

Great shots .. and squirrels dont make change and a peanut is only a penny ;-)

Anonymous said...


My favorite picture is the one where you caught the water. I had no idea (of course) you were in Toronto. We almost moved there once for a company who hired my husband(actually shopped for a house) and thought it was a very beautiful city.

Redbush said...

Once again, gorgeous photos! I love the reflections of trees in the icy creek! I wish I had your knack! I would have better photos to use as references for my artwork!

photowannabe said...

Thank you for the breathtaking walk at Frank's place. The golden evening sun made fabulous pictures, especially the tree refletions. A 3 hour trip is long but you got some terrific landscape shots from the train.

photowannabe said...

Oops...reflections is what I meant to say..(;0)

Reb said...

Lovely as always Hilary. The ice covered branches are wonderful and I love the golden sun on the path. Too funny about the coins and Uno is very tiring!

Missicat said...

Thanks for sharing such great pics of your trip! I need to take a pic of Washington D.C.'s Union Station so we can compare :-)

Maggie May said...

You know every single one of your photos is beautiful, Hilary. All so different in their own way but each one worthy of a lingering glance.
Wonderful trip and I enjoyed sharing it.

david mcmahon said...

This post just proves the old saying :::: dime and tide wait for no one!

Beautiful shot of the ice-covered twigs.

Nancy said...

Loved going on your journey with you. Beautiful country. We toured British Columbia to Alberta this fall. Next time we'll start in Toronto.

Hilary said...

• RiverPoet, your spring certainly hits before ours does. We're warned about the threat of frost up until the third week of May. Nice to know you're seeing new growth though. It can't be too much longer for us either. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much H G. These days a couple of peanuts is about all it would buy you. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Angie. I'd meant to take that shot for a long time. I'm glad I remembered this time. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Frank. Of course.. UNO! It's all those "Draw 4" cards that get you. ;)

• Thanks, KC. I don't think it's the shopping that wears him out. He seems to like shopping far more than I do. It really must be the UNO. ;) Frank and I only live about an hour's drive from one another but the combo of bus, train and waiting time turns my commute into three hours. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Kat. There is magic in ice-covered branches for sure - even when it's supposed to be spring. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Skywind. I'm sure spring will come eventually. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Pat, yes - the golden hour. It's my favourite time of day. We've cooled down considerably here too and are expecting a lot of rain, severe winds and a sudden drop in temperature over the next 24 hours. This too shall pass. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Breeze. Most of the time, you'd find me in Mississauga but these photos were taken in Bowmanville. Thanks very much for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Linda. That's pretty much par for the course for spring. Warm temps - and then snow. Sigh.. soon! Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks so much, DS. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Your kind words always mean a lot to me. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Jeannette. That Frank is a card, eh? ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Protege. Yes, I can usually guess which photos you prefer.. and why. It's the incurable romantic in you. :) Thanks for stopping by, my friend. :)

• Thanks, Gary. No Benny this time.. but next time.. :)

• Ah, Tabor.. that sounds so poetic. Thanks for the kind words and for dropping by. :)

• Thanks, MPM. You might be right about the smart critter possibility. Too smart to work for peanuts. ;)

• Thanks very kindly, Leah. I have a hunch you could be right on about the fairies. Thanks so much for your very kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Lime. I'm glad you got a kick out of that. :)

• Thanks, Daryl. These windows were cleaner than most, and didn't have that greenish hue that so many of them seem to have on these trains. I lucked out. "A peanut is only a penny"? That's just .. nuts. ;)

• Thanks, Amy. Of course now I'm wondering why you didn't end up in Toronto after all.. sounds like a story to me. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks so much for the very kind words, Redbush. That means a great deal to me. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Sue. With your keen photographer's eye, that means a lot to me. Thanks so much for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much for the kind words, Reb. I'm sure Frank values your UNO opinion highly.. as do I. I like your new avatar image too. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Missicat. That might just be an interesting comparison. Union is one of my stops along the way.. about one third into the trip. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you so much for those kind words, Maggie May. I'm glad you joined me on this trip. I enjoyed having you along for the ride. :)

• Thanks, David. You can .. umm coin a phrase like nobody else. ;)

• Thanks, L of L. I'll bet your B.C. to Alberta trip was amazing. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Russell said...

Wow! I really enjoyed the pictures you took from the train! Catching the train zooming past you is a hard image to get!

I really liked the river and the market images. Okay! I have to ride a train soon, soon, soon!! It's the only way to travel!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What a great trip--I love when the train runs by the water.

If you ever come to California you have to ride the Coaster--it hugs the coast and you sit there in absolute awe that for $30 you can ride from San Diego to L.A. and enjoy the stunning view. It sure beats sitting in traffic on the 5.

Michelle H. said...

Beautiful photos! I didn't know it got that cold (-20c) up yonder in your neck of the woods.

Prabath said...

wow beautiful pics I like it, Keep it up.

Dianne said...

I love that you guys left change! a true example of it's the thought that matters

the light in some of these photos is magical

and I love the way the train window created a frame for the market, just perfect

SandyCarlson said...

These are great, Hilary. I really like the water shots and the ice has freeze-framed the current of the current of the river.

JC said...

I love the way you present your pictures with a story. I felt like I was on the train with you and walking along with you, Frank and Benny.

Lulda Casadaga said...

I always love stopping by here and taking a walk in nature with you...I also enjoyed the train ride! Thanks... :)

Daffodils are up and the trees are starting to bud down here! Now the sinuses will blossom also...:D
Have a great weekend. I think I'll start my spring cleaning again. :D

Leenie said...

Hillary, I sent you an email and then finally found your comment link (right in front of me). Great pics. Liked the coin story and the whole train trip photolog. Thanks for stopping by!

Michele said...

Wonderful photos and I am looking forward to when our temperatures start to warm up as well.... I am thinking that won't be too long!

Anonymous said...

As I scrolled down this post I was in awe at the beautiful photographs and clicked on them to enlarge their beauty. You have captured those cedars so dramatically and the sun shining through is breathtaking.

CJ xx

RuneE said...

Congratulations with Davids POTD. Well deserved - I especially liked the one with the coin and the peanut.

Bubblewench said...

I just adored the way you shared your story of travel and visit with the amazing photos! Love the one of the golden sun in the trees. Spectacular!

ps. Thanks for coming by to see me too! :)

Indrani said...

How I love your walks, great shots as usual! Funny your idea of leaving behind the dime for the critters!

Hilary said...

Three hour trip, eh?????? He is a lucky man.
I love the pictures. I look forward to seeing spring and a child we visited in Wiarton, Ontario every year....and went to the Toronto Exhibition. Good memories.

Mojo said...

So you left the squirrels an IOU? That's funny! I love the shot from the bridge of the parabolic patterns in the river ice. Very compelling. As are your sunsets. I wouldn't hate the idea of taking a train trip just to get the shots from the window. But right now there's just no time for such.

Suldog said...

The shot of the GO train reminded me of my favorite multilingual sign. I saw it while visiting Toronto. In a train station:

"GO Train. Train GO."

It sounded like something out of a Dick & Jane book. Did that really need to be in two languages? I'm sure that, for some legal reason, yes, but...

Tink said...

I wonder how many nuts a squirrel could buy for fifteen cents? Hmmm. ;)

Cheffie-Mom said...

The ice on the water is amazing. In one of the photos it looks like ghosts!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Oh Hilary, only YOU could make winter pretty right now!

Andrea said...

Your photos are just wonderful...I felt like I was right there with you on your journey! :) Love the nickel and dime story too. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Russell but you'll note I only caught the tail end of it. You should see all the blurry shots before that. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Jenn, that does indeed sound like a wonderful trip. I'll bet it's a spectacular view. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Michelle. It sure does get that cold.. and much colder. It's supposed to warm up by Saturday though.. to above freezing. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Prabath. I will. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Dianne. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I was going to move up close to the window to capture that shot, but in retrospect, I'm so glad I didn't. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Sandy. I'm glad you like them. You never know what the rivers and creeks will do at this time of year. Stay tuned to find out about one of them. Thanks always for the visit. :)

• Thank you, JC. I'm glad you did join us. We enjoyed having you along for the walk and the ride. ;) Please come back any time. :)

• Always a pleasure to have you along, Lulda. I'm glad you joined me. Sorry to hear that you suffer from allergies though. That's the downside of good weather for many. Thanks for the kind comment. :)

• Thanks, Leenie. I got this comment alert before I even noticed your email or I'd have replied earlier. Thanks for taking the time to write such kind words. That means a lot to me. :)

• Thank you, Michele. I sure hope you're right. I think you have it a little - ok a lot colder than we do right now. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much for the very kind words CJ. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Please come back soon. :)

• Thanks very much, Rune. Much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. And thank you, David for making this one of your POTD choices. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Bubblewench. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and hope you'll be back again soon. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Indrani. Your kind comments always put a smile on my face. And yes, we're kind of nuts that way. (especially Frank) ;)

• Thanks, Hilary. I'm lucky too. He drives out here every weekend. It only takes him an hour though. ;) Nice to know you're familiar with our groundhog country.. and the Toronto area. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Welcome, Mojo and thanks very much for the kind words. I guess you're right.. it was pretty much an IOU. :) Thanks for stopping by. Please come back soon. :)

• Sully, I think that sign you saw was more like wishful thinking - or encouragement because so often the GO trains ironically don't. ;) Your comment made me think of long ago in my home town of Montreal where subway stops were called out in both languages - or rather in English and then with a French accent. Names like Atwater/Hatwahturrr. But yes, as far as "GO Train - Train GO" goes (or doesn't), Canada has two official languages, so it is indeed a legal thing. And en fran├žais, it's pronounced a tad differently. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Tink, not too many with this economy which is why I suspect it's still there. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Cheffie, those might be some disgruntled ghosts as you'll see in my next blog post. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so kindly, Mama Geek. You never fail to make me smile. Thanks for that. :)

• Thanks, Andrea. I suspect you have been on that journey yourself at some point. Or at least on the GO. Thanks for stopping by with your always-kind comments. :)

Cath said...

I can well understand why you already have 51 comments! Those photos are, as always, just amazing. I love the iced tree over the running water. and the golden sunlight. And the views on the train... all of them!

Isn't it juts typical of a man to need a nap BEFORE he goes for a walk?
Just checked his comment (caught my eye just before I clicked publish). Uno AND cribbage in one afternoon? Oh Hilary, you hard taskmaster you....

HeatherPride said...

Love the last photo. I am having some Spring fever here as well!!

Shammickite said...

I'll be visiting B'ville more often once my new grandbaby arrives in May so one day we'll have to meet up for a Benny/Tessa walk by the river! Or perhaps at Stephen's Gulch.
I was laughing about your dime and nickel on the ledge. My sons nailed a quarter to the sidewalk about 15 or 20 yrs ago, then hid in the house watching the passers by to see if any of them tried to pick it up! The coin is STILL THERE! Hahaha this could be a blog story, I haven't been a very good blogger so far this month.
Lovely pictures as usual, Hilary.

Hilary said...

• You made me laugh, Cath. He didn't dare mention the Rummy - that would have just made me look cruel. ;) Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by - always a treat when you do. :)

• Thanks, Heather. It can't be too much longer now, can it? Thanks for the visit. :)

• Sounds like a plan, Shammie. Hopefully those ice blocks will have melted by then, and the resulting mud dried up. Your nailed coin story does indeed sound like a blog post.. go for it! Thanks for dropping by. Always appreciated. :)

Woman in a Window said...

You are my kind of wild woman. Winter walks and crib! Seriously!

Hilary said...

Thanks, Erin. I knew someone would understand. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)