Sunday, June 28, 2009

Along the Way

“I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way.”

Sometime in May, Frank and I stepped up our walking schedule a bit. In addition to our two or three daily walks around the lake with Benny, we opted to indulge in a doggie-free stroll early each evening.

On the Friday, we had barely made our way into the park when this cute little critter caught our attention.


I wondered if it might be the same bunny I've seen regularly in my back yard, as it was certainly around the same size - small. I suppose there's a reason why rabbits procreate at breakneck speed. I think it might partly be to make up for the fact that they're not the brightest of creatures. Where would the bunny population be if they didn't multiply... well.. like rabbits? This little guy watched me, and happily munched on dandelion stems as I advanced toward him with my camera.



From ahead of us along the pathway, two young men approached. One was openly drinking beer. Neither were sober. His buddy caught sight of the rabbit and announced that he was going to catch it so he could cook it. Even intoxicated, it wouldn't have been overly difficult to make physical contact with this seemingly-tame animal, and I didn't want to walk away from the situation, lest he make good on his intention to do it harm.

As L (his friend had referred to him by name) approached the bunny, I spoke to him. Irritation showed in my voice when I strongly suggested that he leave the creature be. He was not to be deterred though, and proceeded to pursue it, knocking a (thankfully empty) bird's nest from the low branch of a pine tree, and clumsily sweeping it aside.



This indiscriminate lack of respect for nature irked me greatly, and it showed in my tone of voice. My volume increased in intensity.


Frank tried to speak to L. He pointed out that it wasn't much of a manly hunt to go after a baby bunny, but the fellow's machismo was in full stride and Frank's attempt at reasoning was met with some choice words from both of the young guys.

The friend who remained on the walking path suggested that we mind our own business - that they were doing nothing wrong. Frank pointed out that they were indeed doing plenty wrong, beginning with an open bottle of beer in a public place. Showing zero respect for his environment, the guy responded with "What beer?" as he flung the bottle into the nearby pond.

Frank is a big man, with a deep, (and if he chooses - booming) voice. They were feeling intimidated, but the alcohol bolstered their pride and they continued to argue with us over the fate of the bunny, and of their rights.


I decided to take a picture of both guys. L took great offense to that and expressed it loudly. He felt that I was now doing something illegal, and perhaps I was, but I continued to snap a shot or two of him on his cell phone while he called the police to complain about someone taking his photograph in the park.

His friend was getting quite agitated by now, and implored L to leave with him. Eventually, they did just that, and the bunny was left to munch on its dandelion stems.

Frank and I continued our walk around the park.
We discussed what happened. Neither of us felt good about it. We had all behaved rather poorly and wished that we could have handled it better. In retrospect, L was unlikely to really hurt the rabbit. He was simply showing off and couldn't back down - pride being what it is. While Frank was speaking to him at close range, he had a bit of insight as to just how young and vulnerable L really was. He'd said to Frank "You're not my father, and I don't have to listen to you." It was revealing. Both boys remained on our minds much of the evening and into the next day.

On Saturday, around the same time of day, I was feeling antsy. We had just been for a walk about an hour earlier but I wanted to walk again. Frank gave me one of his tolerant smiles and almost indiscernible eye-rolls, and joined me. We stopped at some point along the path to observe a Grackle primp and preen after its bath in a nearby puddle.



Its colours were beautiful in the late day sunshine, and we stood there for about five minutes just watching. Frank motioned to look behind me and I turned to see two adult rabbits grazing in the grass nearby.



They seemed to appear out of nowhere. Surely they hadn't been there when we trudged over to this spot - they would have easily been visible. We watched as they nibbled on grass, and we continued our walk when they moved along.


"It almost seems like some kind of a message."

I had to agree with Frank's thinking. Both of our thoughts turned to L and his buddy, and the rabbit they pursued the evening before.

We continued walking, and as we approached the dock, we notice a man fishing. Anyone who fishes has an automatic spot reserved in Frank's heart, and he called out to him, asking if he'd had any success. As the man responded, we noticed that his younger fishing partner was L. In his hands was an empty plastic pop bottle with line wrapped around it, which served as his fishing rod. It was about as rudimentary as one could be. Frank's face lit up when he saw him.


"L, I'm glad to see you fishing!"


L's eyes were devoid of the anger that flashed from them the day before, and he immediately held his hand out to Frank, and apologized for his earlier behaviour. He looked each of us in the eye and said that he really wasn't going to kill the rabbit. Frank's smile reflected my own has he happily shook L's outstretched hand, and told him that he knew that in his heart. I told L that I was happy to see him and he asked me why. I explained that I hadn't felt good about our encounter the day before and he said that he hadn't either. I wanted to hug him at that moment, but I held my own hand out to him and he shook it warmly, apologizing once again.

Frank spoke to him briefly about fishing, and told him that he'd like to give him a copy of
his book, What Fish Don't Want You To Know. L seemed just a bit wary, declining to share his email address in order to make arrangements to meet up again, so Frank told him that he'd bring a copy down with him the following weekend so that he'd be able to give it to him next time we encounter him in the park. We parted with a smile this time.

We can't help but feel that there's a reason that L barged into our lives the way he did, and
time will tell just what it is. He was a good person having a bad day. A caring heart just showing off for his buddy. A kid who knew he'd done wrong, and took the responsibility to apologize like a man.

I suspect our paths will cross again before too long. There's a book waiting for him at my house for when they do.


Below are a few random photos, and a video of crazy Benny chasing bubbles in Frank's back yard.


Seen through the cottage window earlier this month, this curious chipmunk spied something of interest...




There's no doubt that this is an all-Canadian, beer-loving chipper.





A little green insect sitting on an oar. It had been flailing around in the water when we were out fishing. It dried off in the sun and wind, and then flew off.





Another tiny critter. This one's length was less than the width of my pinkie fingernail.





Just some fences which caught my eye. Taken from the car, on our way home from the cottage.





video
Crazy Benny. He has to kill every last bubble. He'd been at it for about ten minutes by now and was actually quite tired at this point. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cottage Days & Nights

Continued from the previous post, here are a few more photos from our stay up at Frank's cottage the week before last. This time I've indicated (in pink) which camera was used for each photo - the older digital (D) or the Digital SLR (DSLR).



A simple photo of a corner of the dock. No, not exactly. Look a bit closer and you'll see an unusual insect camouflaged against the wood. Frank's observant eye noticed him. (please click to enlarge) (D)






Another camouflaged item. I took this photo of cooking utensils because I saw an onion in them. Really. Click here to see what I mean. I might have been drinking at the time... (please click to enlarge) (DSLR)





We weren't at the cottage for very long before we began hearing the familiar wail of the Loon. This beauty surfaced not too far from the neighbour's dock so we wandered over to get a better look. (please click to enlarge) (D)




The mosquitos and other insects were everywhere but I was on the better side of this window screen - or the bug was. (please click to enlarge) (DSLR)




My favourite insect by far has to be the dragonfly. They were out in full force dutifully feasting on mosquitos. Unlike last year, I rarely saw one pause to rest for any period of time. I zoomed in on this one in a hurry and only while sorting through the photos on the computer, did I realize it was laying on its back. (please click to enlarge) (D)




This isn't a site I usually see from this angle, as we typically see the boat house from the dock. We were fishing nearby and I snapped this shot as we passed in front of the steps. (please click to enlarge) (D)






The diminishing light, clouds and reflection and stillness captured my attention for this shot.. as did Benny. (please click to enlarge) (DSLR)






Though very dark and difficult to make out details, I like the colours and mood that this image breathes. (please click to enlarge) (DSLR)






Just one of the many, ever-changing sights which greets us from the end of the dock. (please click to enlarge) (DSLR)






As night descends, the breeze nudges boughs and the dusky sky is reflected in the lake below. (please click to enlarge) (DSLR)




Goodnight. (please click to enlarge) (DSLR)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nature At Her Best

Last week, Frank, Benny and I spent a few days up at his family cottage. The weather was decent. There wasn't a whole lot of sunshine, but neither was there too much rain.

I had two cameras in tow. Frank gave me a lovely Canon DSLR - (EOS 50D) recently (thank you, Frank!) and I'm trying to get the hang of it. I'm having minor success.

The low point of the holiday was when I realized that I had forgotten its battery charger at home. Luckily we were able to find a replacement at a camera shop along the way, before leaving city life fully behind.
The high point was getting a good look (several, in fact) of a most majestic bird. Unfortunately it was from a fair distance, with poor lighting, so photos didn't turn out as clearly as I would have liked but I suspect we'll have further occasions to see and photograph this beauty.

We fished, explored, took in the sights, relaxed and of course, took photos. Some of those (from both cameras) are below. Please remember to click to enlarge.




Early one morning, Benny waited patiently for Frank to set up his fishing gear so that he could bark at each cast, and then pace in anticipation of what might come back out of the water at the end of the line. (please click to enlarge)




You might think that lures were designed to attract fish but Benny never took his eyes off of the end of that rod. (please click to enlarge)




Unless he was biting his own reflection in the water. (please click to enlarge)




Nothing to get all that excited about unless you're a JRT, a fish or Frank. (please click to enlarge)




Dull, overcast days made trying to capture a hummingbird's image quite difficult. I settled for its silhouette. (please click to enlarge)






On day two we awoke to a thick fog which blanketed the lake. I took this photo from the deck. The hummingbird took me by surprise, showing up in the viewfinder just as I clicked. (please click to enlarge)





Eventually, we had a semi-sunny day. I looked up at some point to see this distinctive halo surrounding the sun. A bit of Google research tells me that it's called a 22º Halo and it's formed by the refraction of sunlight through ice crystals. (please click to enlarge)






I decided to play with it. A lone dragonfly wandered through just in time to become part of the picture. There's one in the previous image as well. (please click to enlarge)






This was one of the best treats. Its nest was visible after a three minute boat ride along the shore, and we ventured out at least three times to catch a glimpse of parents and/or young. That large blob below and to its right is the nest. We couldn't get in too close, and since the sky was mostly overcast, it was impossible for me to get a sharp image. (please click to enlarge)






But I managed a fairly decent shot of the Bald Eagle (sharpened up some in Photoshop), and hopefully we'll have more opportunities during the summer to try again. (please click to enlarge)






The sun came out a couple of evenings just in time for a lovely sunset. So ended another perfect day. (please click to enlarge)

More photos in the next post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Slump

I'm in a bit of a blogging slump this week. Blame it on summer, real life and a new camera which is making me feel as if photography is rocket science. I'll probably have a few pictures from our recent stay at the cottage by tomorrow or the next day. I also hope to catch up with your blogs soon too.

Until then, I wanted to share this image. This young woman stepped onto the bus today and immediately made me smile. With her permission, I took this photo, which of course belongs on a blog.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Gaggle of Celebrity Goose-ip

This is a scheduled post which comes your way while I'm away for a few days. I'll be back soon to reply to comments and to visit your blogs. Till then, I hope you enjoy this post.


*****

Paparazzis across the nation were on the wing, photographing famous, feathered fowl for this edition of Celebrity Goose-ip. Read on, for the latest scoops on your favourite winged celebs.

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At his recent concert, The Boss, Goose Springsteen tore down the house with his hit song, Hatched To Run.

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Fans in the audience started a wave.

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Famous pizzeria heiress, Canuck E. Geese rehearses for her upcoming charity ballet, Swan Goose Lake.

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At the Scientology Awards, Tom Goose was seen cuddling up to his lovely wife, Katie Holmes.

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It's rumoured that the tired Ms. Holmes was either bored or pregnant or both.

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Fans of Fois Gras-gory Hines will be happy to hear that his mini-series "Bogaggles" will be rerun on the Movie Network this fall.

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At the Johnny Billotson concert, this fan couldn't contain her excitement, and began dancing to the hit song Poultry In Motion.

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Simon & Garfhonkel reunited for a special concert in the park.

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They sang their classic hit The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Goosey)

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Fans at Wingbilldon were treated to an exciting tennis match.

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Star Wars fans were happy to learn that Carrie Feather has reprised her famous role of Princess Leia.

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Good goose-ip and good-night.

*****

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be Back Soon

Cottage season has begun, and Frank and I are taking the opportunity to spend a few days there this week. I'll have a post scheduled to appear on Thursday, which I hope you'll enjoy.

Help yourselves to a drink or two, and feel free to raid the fridge. I'll be back next week to catch up on your blog post and reply to comments. See you then!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Gift

Tuesday was what I refer to as a bleh day.

For various reasons, my mood was not at its best and I decided to take a walk, and hopefully clear my mind. As usual, my camera joined me.


I wandered over to a park which sits about a mile from my front door. It has a man-made lake which attracts several kinds of water fowl throughout the seasons. I've posted before about seagulls, cormorants, herons and a swan.

Making my way along the path, I found nothing of particular interest to photograph, so I just sat for a bit at the side of the pond.

(please click to enlarge)




I noticed a bit of organic debris in the water, which reminded me of a some sort of long-bearded wizard or troll about to do a Tarzan-like swing on a vine.

(please click to enlarge)




Birds flitted about, landed and left before my finger could even reach the shutter but the day was warm, the sounds peaceful, and I could begin to feel myself relax in this tranquil setting.

Glancing down at the ground beside me, I noticed a feather.

(please click to enlarge)




It was rather plain, but I picked it up and put it in my camera case. Frank has me in the habit of keeping found feathers. You should see how many he has. I took it as a sign to continue on around the lake.

When I found myself on the other side of the lake, I decided to pause once again. I could see a family of geese out for a swim and I hoped to get a few shots as they passed by.

(please click to enlarge)




Little did I know that I'd be in for a treat.

As the goslings and their parents swam along, they took a sudden left turn and headed toward me.

(please click to enlarge)





Unconcerned with my presence, one of the adults turned to the crew and seemingly took a head count before...

(please click to enlarge)




.. one by one...

(please click to enlarge)




they stepped up onto the shore...

(please click to enlarge)




.. just a few feet away from me.

(please click to enlarge)




They fluffed and groomed..

(please click to enlarge)




.. and then the young all settled in ...

(please click to enlarge)




...for a mid-afternoon nap, while the adults took sentry duty nearby.

(please click to enlarge)




I watched for a while, speaking to them occasionally. One seemed particularly alert to my voice and cocked its head when I talked to it, much like Benny does.

(please click to enlarge)



Their nearness was like a tonic for my mood. After I'd taken in my fair dose, I thanked them for the beautiful gift of their presence, and bid them farewell.

It was a fine day after all.

(please click to enlarge)