Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vendome Metro Station

Vendome Metro Station by susanvg
Vendome Metro Station, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I love the way light transforms things. The sun was streaming through the stained glass, making the steel sculpture glow. By chance I had just read an article about a stained glass artist who embeds solar cells in her work. The windows have a double function of providing beauty as well as providing power. Be sure to look through the photographs of Sarah Hall's work in the linked article. It is a wonderful marriage of art and science.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mural in the Passageway

Mural in the Metro by susanvg
Mural in the Metro, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Whenever I take the metro to concerts in the church in Old Montreal, I take a passageway that goes below a main street. It was always a bit unsavoury. The walls were a textured concrete - very cold and grey looking. Homeless people sometimes used the space to sleep in. For some months as I walked through, to my delight, there was baroque music playing on speakers as I walked through. It seems it was to discourage the vagrants from hanging around.

When I walked into the space, It had been transformed. This mural livened up one wall.

From Grey to Colour

And all along the walls, bright colours had been painted between each of the ridges in the concrete. The wall seems to change from grey to colour depending on the angle from which you view it. What a difference - like the film, The Wizard of Oz, the grey world had been turned to colour.  The mural and stripes, is by MU, a group devoted to creating outdoor art in Montreal. It was designed by Philippe Allard and is called Printemps (Spring). The baroque music is still playing. I just might have to go back and linger to enjoy it all!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Monarch on Clover

Monarch on Clover by susanvg
Monarch on Clover, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: July 27, 2013
Who knows how much longer we will see these beautiful butterflies flitting among the flowers. Their numbers have been declining. Their wintering grounds are threatened by logging. They certainly added a flash of colour to my walk - this time with a friend along the water in Lachine

Milkweed

The milkweed is blooming. This is where the butterflies lay their eggs so the newly hatched caterpillars have food to grow on. It is miraculous to me that these creatures fly such enormous distances to places they have never been. Those that are born here have never been to the wintering grounds in Mexico. Those born in Mexico have never been here, yet each year they know just where to go.

Heron in the Water

We were lucky to spot of a heron. It caught some dinner while we watched - a concentrated look at the water, followed by a quick stab down and then it swallowed its catch.

Canada Geese

A family of Canada Geese swam close to shore. The young are almost the size of the parents now. They have time to gain strength before their flight south.

A great day for a walk!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On a Walk

Little Pond by susanvg
Little Pond, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: July 24, 2013

With cooler weather my walks have resumed - up the hills and through the parks. It's quite a climb to get up to The Boulevard and then I snaked my way down through this hillside park.

View from the Park

My friend J. reminds me that we live on an island. It's important to see the river. So I stop to catch a glance. The air is clear as I can see long past the river to the mountains in the distance.

Lawn Bowling

My walk takes me past the lawn bowlers, dressed nattily in their pristine whites. The grass is perfectly manicured to prevent unintended curves of the ball's path.

Crinkly Leaves

I pass by glorious gardens, some with plants I can't identify. These crinkly leaves caught my attention.

This angel hovers over the soldier - a memorial to the war dead. It made me think of The Book Thief, though this anger does not appear as cynical as the angel of death in the book.

From here it was a quick trip to the bank and then a walk home. More than 3 miles in today's walk!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Egret

Egret by susanvg
Egret, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
 Photos: July 20, 2013

There are two things in life that speak to my soul: nature and music. A walk in Parc-des-Rapides was just what we needed to boost our spirits.

Crest

The park is on a spit of land jutting into the river right beside the Lachine Rapids. On one side the water is tranquil, on the other it rushes past. It's amazing to see the power as the waves form and crest.

Tern

The park is a haven for birds - both those on land as well as water fowl. And the park is full of avid photographers with massive lenses (I only had my 50 mm with me that day) trying to capture "the" picture.

Heron

A man with a scope generously zoomed in to let us get  a good look at a couple of herons. Above is a cropped image of a heron I managed to get with my camera. The big treat of the day was the egret (top) who stood quietly in the water, neck craned as it scanned the water for fish. I took a couple of pictures when it suddenly lifted off and moved a short distance away. I snapped, not looking at camera settings and was delighted to see I had caught it in flight. Ah - serendipity!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Faded

Faded by susanvg
Faded, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It has been a tough week. Last Saturday my father-in-law passed away. Although he was almost 91, there is never a good time to lose someone you love. I have only been with my spouse for 7 years, but I had been made to feel a welcome part of the family right from the start.

His humour, his love of learning, his tremendous love for his family and friends, his compassion all made an impression on me. His time was well-spent, his passing peaceful.


A parting guest

What delightful guests are they
Life and Love!
Lingering I turn away,
This late hour, yet glad enough
They have not witheld from me
Their high hospitality.
So with face lit with delight
And all gratitude, I stay
Yet to press their hands and say,
"Thanks. So fine a time! Goodnight."

James Whitcomb Riley, American poet (1849 - 1916)

Early in the Day

Early in the Day by susanvg
Early in the Day, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
We have had a spate of hot, humid weather with some violent thunder showers. I'm a cool weather person and tend to stay indoors when the temperate soars. For those who think in Fahrenheit, 33 is about 91F and with the humidity it felt like much more.

The Rain Decended

Later in the day a wall of rain came down, creating ponds in the road.

Water Spouted out of the Manhole

Manhole covers spouted water. One near us was pushed partway off the hole it was meant to cover. Fortunately it was quickly put back in place by the city workers.

This cycle of high heat and humidity was repeated (July 19), but with a less violent storm.

Storm Brewing          Storm Clouds

These pictures were taken just before the rain started. We now have great views into the distance. The lightning provided a dramatic light show. Finally the heat has broken and we expect several days of pleasant summer weather.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mural Festival

Mural Festival by susanvg
Mural Festival, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: July 12, 2013

A mural festival was held on St. Laurent Boulevard a few weeks ago. A friend of mine and I decided to take a walk and explore the results.

Tennis Mural

One parking lot was surrounded by murals on every un-windowed wall. Enjoy - I know we did!

Mural Boulevard St-Laurent

A Little Imagination

Four Faces

Stone Cutting

A macabre themed mural over the tombstone cutter's site.

What do these mean

And for a little fun - what do you think these signs mean?Answers here

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More murals can be found here  in my Flickr account
About the festival
About the muralists

What is CAMMAC

Playing for the Dancing by susanvg
Playing for the Dancing, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: Week of July 1, 2013
I've written about CAMMAC before - my yearly trip to my Shangri-La - Early Music Week.

Music, nature, friendship, laughter, freedom from responsibilities... with people from different parts of Canada, the US (one woman drove all the way up from Kentucky) and even Europe. Classes and concerts move back and forth from French to English, but most of all to the language of music we all share.

Baroque Dance

Evening concerts by the staff are of the highest caliber. And the audience is probably one of the most appreciative - with avid Early Music buffs in every seat.

The Jogger

The teachers throw in a lot of fun at the concerts, without diminishing the high level of their performance. Here is a recorder quartet performing The Jogger by by Dick Koomans (after jogging in and doing a few stretches)

Movement

The week swirls by. It is always hard to go back to reality, to say goodby to the many CAMMAC friends who live in other places. I have very good friends I met at CAMMAC, including my spouse! And we are lucky enough to be able to continue playing music together all year round.

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You can read other posts I have written over the years about CAMMAC here

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Early One Morning

Early One Morning by susanvg
Early One Morning, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
This year I made a point of walking down to the lake each morning before breakfast. It is usually a time of stillness, the lake calmer and the birds singing. Most mornings there was a mist lying over the hills.

I use my camera for mindfulness - to focus on what is around me even when my eye is not behind the viewfinder.

Loons on the Lake

One morning two loons swam by, every so often letting out their haunting cry. Nothing says countryside, quite like their sound (Here's a video I found.)

It Rained

Rain left droplets on the leaves and flowers. Stop, breathe, focus...

Poised


Morning arrives with hushed voices - each person relishing the stillness, not daring to break the magic.

Solitude

Just the gentle dip of the paddle gives evidence of the activities of people.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries by susanvg
Wild Strawberries, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
A week at CAMMAC - the music camp in the Laurentians where I spend a week each summer - a mix of music and nature. I took a walk up the gravel road and found many delights to photograph (and even to taste).

White Flowers

Wild flowers grow by the side of the road.

Ready to Pop

I have yet to know their names. And having seen them for so many years, it might be impolite to ask them.

Soon to Scatter

As always, the dandelions find space to grow.They are ready to send their seeds off to find new spots where their sunny faces will pop up. Here in the country they are wildflowers. On peoples' lawns they are hunted down.