Monday, October 31, 2016
Photos: October 30, 2016
I had a friend visiting from Toronto. When I visited her in early September, she and another friend tried to convince me that there was so much road work being done there. After her visit here, my friend conceded defeat. Montreal's multitudinous cones and constant detours convinced her that we are the hands down winner of the road repair competition.
Even the cones look tired! It is not just motorists that are redirected, but pedestrians, too. I walk a lot and each time I plan a route I find myself finding new ways as sidewalks are closed.
Some year it will be a pleasure to walk along these brand new sidewalks. I just hope some of these cones disappear before the snow settles in. Then it will be traffic and walking chaos multiplied.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Photo: October 29, 2016
A dreary, rainy day - a day of grey. These boat slips sit empty - boats have been hauled out of the water in preparation for winter. The grey skies almost obliterate the other side of the river. Rain on the window; rain outdoors. The weather has turned decidedly fall-like with colder, damp days. As I dress, I put on layers, no longer able just to walk out the door in my t-shirt and jeans.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Photo: October 28, 2016
The dreary day did not do justice to Place Jean-Paul Riopelle, located beside the Palais des Congrès. The time to visit is on a summer evening when there is a show of mist and lights around the fountain. The sculpture, by Riopelle, is called La Joute (the Joust). The sculpture was originally located in the Olympic Park as an homage to Riopelle's boyhood hockey heroes, and was moved here in 2003. Riopelle was known more as a painter. You can learn more about him here.
Photos: October 27, 2016
It is always fun to go to the market at this time of year. The many stalls which overflow with pumpkins now features a number which are carved in preparation for Hallowe'en. The weekend will welcome families with face-painting, distribution of candies, a photo contest and more.
They definitely have more skilled carvers there than I was. I haven't carved a pumpkin in a number of years but mine lacked the personality of these.
Nor the imagination of creating something other than a face. I do love the glow of the jack o'lanterns at night. There is something magical about candlelight.
Photo: October 26, 2016
The stage is set, stands at the ready. Audience members peruse their programs. It is the opening concert of Les Boréades with a program devoted to French baroque music. While I love most baroque music, I find it harder to relate to the court music of the time. It is elegant and quite proscribed. It happens I am re-reading Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and there is much of this same kind of surface behaviour - playing a role but almost not allowing oneself to be human. At the court of Louis XIV, everyone knew their rank and what that allowed them to do and not do; they understood the manners expected and deviation could result in difficulties both large and small.
It was a lovely concert. I discovered a composer I had not remembered hearing before: François Duval. But the music does not seep into my soul; it dances on the surface - a pleasant diversion on a cold, damp night.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Photos: October 25, 2016
There was a time when rakes were the tool of choice in autumn. Now there is the noise and smell of leaf blowers. I'm amazed that there are still users of this tool who don't wear ear protection. Just walking past I had to block my ears.
There is something delightful of seeing the leaves swirl up as they are directed towards an area where they are piled up. Then the rakes and shovels take over as they are bagged or piled into trucks or left by the curb for the city to collect.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Photos: October 24, 2016
When all else fails- post a photo of a flower. I have quite a number or orchids. This is my newest one - an amazing array of branches each sporting several buds. I couldn't resist buying a new one, despite the fact the my others show promise of blooming soon.
This has been my most reliable plant. This last flower recently opening on a stalk that has had blooms for about a year. I thought the plant would go dormant for a while, but instead it has produced a new stalk with the promise of a number of blossoms. I have at least four others which have shoots that are well on their way to producing blooms. I never know what colour will be revealed as once they are dormant they all look similar. I tried attaching stickers to the pots but they fell off. So a number of surprises await me in the coming weeks.
Photos: October 23, 2016
Sunshine is so welcome after a few days of rain. Many leaves have fallen leaving some trees entirely bare.
Other trees tenaciously hang on to their leaves - their colours more intense in the afternoon sun.
The squirrels seemed to be having a party as about a dozen of them gathered in one area. Something delicious must have dropped from a nearby tree. Seeds? Crab apples? Whatever it was they were all indulging.
Long shadows come earlier each day. Daylight hours are noticeably shorter.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
(sculpture by Elizabeth Macqueen: Jorge Donn)
Photos: October 22, 2016
My daughter and I both love ballet; we go together to Les Grands Ballets Canadiens each year. The performance on Saturday: Romeo and Juliet with choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot and music by Prokofiev (I'm happy to say there was a live orchestra). It was beautiful, lyrical - simply wonderful. And it is always lovely to share the experience with my daughter.
Our dinner at a sports bar before the ballet was anything but lyrical - it is a place of sensory overload with loud music blaring and more screens than I could count. We were both happy to get out of there. Its only asset was its proximity to the theatre.
Yet more rain greeted us as we left the theatre (this was taken while I was parked - it did not take long for my windshield to be covered with drops). It is not my favourite weather to drive in at night, but I do love the reflections like an abstract painting on the streets.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Photos: October 21, 2016
There is something about a rainy day that gives one permission to hunker down, to enjoy all those indoor pursuits that feel like nesting. Sunny days pull one outdoors, especially those crisp fall days with the colours demanding attention. On rainy days, sitting with a good book seems like the perfect thing to do. Or baking and filling the place with lovely aromas. Or cooking in the slow cooker.
Let the rain fall while indoors I play music or visit with a friend. We have had a magnificent autumn but now rain is forecast for several days in a row. As it falls, so do the leaves. The days get shorter and the time of grey is returning. Time to find joy indoors.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Photo: October 20, 2016
I love all the geometrical shapes in this umbrella. I admired it as it dried... and think of all those students who don't understand why geometry is important, AND beautiful.
The grey days of autumn are closing in. My bright yellow umbrella feels like a sunny orb I bask under as I walk.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Photo: October 19, 2016
Some days feel like this when the day is over-scheduled. I spent too much time in a car. First was an appointment downtown. I don't normally drive there but my scheduling mitigated against public transportation or walking. After dropping my daughter off at home, I headed out to the suburbs to play music with friends. The way home was my nemesis as we edged forward at a snail's pace. I would love to know why sitting is so tiring. I arrived home more tired than after one of my long walks. My driving was not yet over - a visit to a friend in the evening. This photograph was taken as I was stopped at a red light. It was good to be home at the end of it all; it was a full day!
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Photos: October 18, 2016
I've been playing with some apps - changing photographs. The one above was done with an app called Waterlogue. Here is the original photograph
Here is another pairing. It's fun to walk and imagine. And it's a delight to still see gardens in bloom this late in October.
Another app, Prisma, makes it easy to create much wilder images. These hydrangeas certainly did not grow this way!
It's fun to see things reimagined, to play with colour, to play with ideas, be they visual ones or those thought in words - to look at things in new ways. There is more than one way to look, to see to imagine.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Photos: October 17, 2016
Autumn is a time of transitions as leaves move from greens to a display of colour and then drop. Animals grow a thicker coat in preparation for winter's icy temperatures, squirrels make sure their stashes are filled and flowers slowly fade on their stalks.
I too, find my life in transition as I contemplate full retirement. I find myself thinking, yet again, "What will I be when I grow up?"
It has been a difficult period - three deaths within a week - one far too young, one at a respectable old age and the third somewhat younger. The older gentleman was a wonderful example of growing as he aged. He had a successful career as a neurologist, as a researcher. When he retired he wrote books (one about the first aboriginal M.D. in Canada); he took up an instrument, the recorder, and played and practised regularly. Did he ever "grow up"? That sounds too final - like you are done. He was always transitioning, learning, and always curious. He saw aging not as a winding down but as an opportunity to continue growing.
So I, too, look at this as a time of opportunity, to try on new colours, to grow into my next phase of growing up.
Photos: October 16, 2016
The cabin we rented is part of a complex with cabins and a main lodge. There are some feral cats there and knowing that I brought cat food with me. I fed them for each of the three days we were there and then this blue jay arrived. I guess it likes cat food too. This photograph was taken through a window.
It is always delightful to catch glimpses of wildlife. There were a couple of loons on the lake - too far away for a good photograph. And walking we heard a variety of birds from chickadees to woodpeckers. On the Sunday there was a bit of rain. The air was filled with the scent of spruce and cedar.
I'm always fascinated by areas that seem to have micro-climates where things grow that are not found anywhere near by, such as these lichen.
But then it was back to the city.
Monday, October 17, 2016
Photos: October 15, 2016
Perfect reflections make for a beautiful start to a day. The sun-drenched hills glow; the sky promises another perfect fall day.
Wisps of mist dance on the water.
On our morning walk we watch the leaves pirouette down to the ground.
We spent the afternoon playing music with friends, sight-reading through Hasse, Schickhardt, Loeillet, Quantz... The delights of shared passion. Though I did sometimes gaze wistfully out the window at the autumn trees.
A late afternoon walk along the trail of the Parc Linéaire le Petit Train du Nord at Val David. Some odd sculptures were on display.
I prefer the natural sculptures - the forms the plants take as they dry up.
And more reflections - the lacy branches meet the plants at the edge of the water.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Photos: October 14, 2016
We woke to a spectacular fall day. The sun slowly burned off the mist which hung over the lake and in among the mountains.
It bathed the hills in colour. Photographs do not do justice to the colour. It is like being in a work of art, in a place of magic.
It is as if each night Mother Nature goes out on a painting spree, dabbing colour here and there until mountains are all ablaze.
We walked in the forest; its floor is carpeted with leaves that have already fallen.
We hiked up into the mountain, following the blow and white stripes on the trees. They mark the trail of the Sentier Intervillages. With the leaves covering the trail, it was essential that we watch out for the markers. The occasional leaf would flutter down, drifting on the air currents. We were away from cars and other signs of civilization.
Growth and decay - the cycle of the seasons.
The small-leafed trees shimmered in the breeze. Autumn is a time of change, a time of transition, a time of riotous colour to be followed by sombre November.
Quiet descends on the lake in the evening. Time for the harvest moon to come up to light the night.
Photos: October 13, 2016
Growing up, my family spent summers and weekends in the Laurentians. I was always able to see the change of seasons away from the city, looking over a lake. This kind of view speaks to my core; it is a part of who I am.
We arrived in Ste-Lucie not long before sunset. The beauty around us will be there in the morning.