If plants had feelings — and who says they don’t? — they would feel very sad at being neglected in a dark corner of the house. You know they are feeling sad, because they literally droop with sadness, moping in the shadows, turning pale and dropping leaves, trying desperately to catch your attention.
And when you relent and place them in a sunny window, giving up your own sunny table to make your plants happy, oh my, what an improvement to their spirits and yours! You can almost see them purring with pleasure as they bask in the light, leaning in to the window as close as they dare and even sacrificing the tips of their leaves in quest of the sun’s life-giving rays.
And if plants had dreams — you know they do — they would dream of mountain slopes and steamy jungles, hot breezes and drenching rains, the call of parrots and the rainbow shimmer of butterfly wings, a tropical paradise where winter is banished forever.
Photo taken on January 20, 2011
Saint John has made a really big deal of its 225th anniversary celebrations this year. I remember the Bicentennial — that was a party! But a lot has changed in the last 25 years since that landmark event, and the city deserves to celebrate its continued survival.
It’s more than survival, it’s “thrival”. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s a new sense of energy in this city. Cruise ships are visiting throughout the summer and fall, and the waterfront and Harbour Passage area have really spiffed up one of our main assets. There is a vibrant music and arts culture here, and enough business and industry to provide a sense of well-being for much of the population. The community is active with all sorts of fund-raising programs and initiatives to improve life for people in priority neighbourhoods. There is still a lot of poverty and hardship, but there is also a lot of optimism.
This year’s highlights have included a culture festival, several musical concerts, a new arts awards celebration, a special historical celebration, a speaker series, an initiative to collect local stories, a mascot, a special community gala celebration, and the commissioning of a sculpture. And to celebrate all this, they put together a pretty impressive short film. Check it out: Saint John Arts & Culture – Then and Now. Happy birthday, Saint John!
Photo taken on September 25, 2010
I am a spur-of-the-moment photographer. I tend to take ‘em as I see ‘em. That’s not to say I don’t work with different angles and compositions, and I certainly spend enough time adjusting colour, crop, contrast etc on the computer. But I have to admit that I seldom plan ahead.
Last night was an exception. I had two reasons to take photos. The first was because it was Thursday, and Utata (the Flickr photo group I participate in) always has a weekly project called Thursday walks. The second is the photo conference happening this weekend in Moncton, called Foto Expo, which is also running a contest with the theme “downtown architecture”. I didn’t get out during the daytime because I was making apple chutney, and it took longer than I expected (doesn’t it always). So that’s why I was uptown with a camera and tripod at 8 p.m. last night.
I had been wanting to take a photo of this building for a while, so last night was the perfect opportunity. Finding the puddle was a bonus. I’m really glad I planned ahead and brought the equipment I needed for this photo shoot. I spent about 40 minutes in this parking lot (my car is the 2nd from the right) and took photos of this Old Post Office building from several angles. In fact, it was so much fun, I might do it again (plan ahead, that is)!
Photo taken on October 28, 2010
The sun is up, and the air feels fresh. Light is streaming between buildings, casting bright reflections from one side of the street to the other. Walking through the cool shade, you suddenly emerge into blinding light. There is a fluttering of wings as pigeons scatter through the park. Looking down King Street, you can see the sun sparkle on the open water at the bottom of the hill. A seagull calls as it soars high above the bridge. You might stop for a coffee, or maybe meet a friend along the way. The thing is, to get moving. The rest of the day beckons.
Taken on September 14, 2010
The nights are cooler now. The sun is setting earlier. The curtains are closed and the lights are on when I go for an evening walk. With the turning of the year, the fading of summer, the last light of day is more precious than ever. Don’t go inside just yet. Look up to see the sky turn from blue to indigo. Wait for the night. Watch for the first star to appear, just there, over the horizon.
Taken on September 9, 2010
Virginia Woolf wanted a room of her own. I think that even a corner, your own special nook, would be enough. When you’ve had a bad day, a hot day, a busy day, a dull day, a stressful day… whatever the day, whatever the weather, your cosy corner will be waiting for you. There’s your favourite chair, and a well-thumbed book, and a cushion. And there on a sunny shelf is a cat, or perhaps a pot of African violets, or that piece of folk art you bought on impulse at a yard sale, that always makes you smile when you look at it. Sometimes you read, and sometimes you watch people walking by, pushing strollers or pulling bundle buggies, caught up in their own lives and their own worlds. Sometimes you close your eyes and watch the sun dance through your eyelids. This is all you need: a few moments, a little time all to yourself.
Taken on August 23, 2010
I suppose it was the tulips I noticed first. The bright colour caught my eye as we walked up the street past a small house, with white siding and white trim, tidy and unassuming. And here in the tiny front porch was a spray of tulips and a statue — Mary, Mother of God, her head inclined and hands pressed together in supplication. Mary, Queen of Heaven, wearing a heavy crown and modest white robes, waits with the constancy of a longsuffering wallflower while the tulips — neither socialized nor idolized — waltz into centre stage and sing for all the world in glorious tones of orange and red.
Taken on August. 26, 2010
The fog had rolled in while we were enjoying supper in a pub at the foot of Princess Street. The bright afternoon had given way to a different mood, a more contemplative setting for our walk back to the car. The shops had closed, no tourists were lingering about. As we strolled up the hill, a few pedestrians walked quickly by, their heads turned toward home. It was easy to imagine this city a century ago, looking much like this, the uptown streets quiet in the evening.
Taken on August 9, 2010
On a tidy little street in a tidy little yard
there’s a tidy little house in yellow
There’s a tidy little cat on the windowsill
and he’s such a purr-fect fellow.
Taken on August 5, 2010
There is a certain style to these 19th century apartment buildings in the South End. This photo is taken from a deck behind four adjoining brick buildings that overlook Queen’s Square. From the top windows you can see out across the harbour to Patridge Island. Some of the plaster moulding and wood floors are original, along with the lovely high ceilings and tall windows. The rooms are huge by today’s standards. In the apartment we rented for six months, the outside walls (which are shared between the buildings) had been uncovered down to the brick, revealing the original fireplaces. This was the most beautiful of any of the apartments I’ve lived in, anywhere. It would have been perfect, if it wasn’t for the long walk up the stairs!
Taken on May 2, 2009
Much of New Brunswick is still wild, and that which is not heavily forested is farmed. As you drive along the river valleys, you can see fertile fields, dairy cows, apple orchards, hay bales, barns. Living in the city, it’s easy to forget that we can enjoy our urban lifestyle only because the settlers came before us, clearing and plowing and farming the land. It’s easy to forget the hunters and trappers, fishers and loggers, collecting food, furs, timber and masts for the explorers and travellers along our shores. It’s easy to forget the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) peoples who named and befriended this part of the country, and taught the newcomers how to survive. Today, on Canada Day, I remember.
Taken on June 8, 2009
Windows are eyes — they reveal and conceal, look outwards and in. The graffiti scrawled on the window panes caught my eye first. Then I saw the sign, leaning conversationally against the inside of the glass, which says: “Never mind the dog, beware of owner.” The paint is past peeling, the wood is worn and rotting at the joins. There is no barrier, no tidy garden or grassy verge between this house and the sidewalk. At first glance, the prospects seem bleak for the inhabitants of this tired house in the old North End. But there is more to the picture. Look the other direction: eyes are windows. See the bright blue sky and lush vegetation. See how life thrives wherever there is light and air and water. Look both ways before you judge this street.
Taken on May 22, 2010
Another rainy day, another grey sky, another day of being inside, looking out. Another day of puddles on the street, dripping umbrellas at work, and the smell of wet dogs at home. The streets — so full of life on sunny days — are sodden, dull and dreary. And here at the heart of the city, in old Indiantown where Main Street begins, there is no movement, no life, no human form in sight. Only the houses have eyes; they are the watchers, the keepers of time.
Taken on April 9, 2010
There are times when distractions fall away and all you see is line and colour, shadow and light. At other times, a face catches at you, a brief glimpse of an unguarded look, eyes with wordless need. When I see this little girl, watching from her tower window, I wonder is she lonely? Or does she prefer her detached view of the world, where we are always on the other side of the glass.
Taken on May 22, 2010
At noon, with the sun high overhead, everything looks flat because the shadows don’t stretch out to either side. Unless, that is, there is room for the shadows to stretch down. And here in the city, in the canyons between buildings, the unexpected shadows reveal an Escher-like world when the sun is high overhead.
Taken on May 21, 2010
It was noon, and the bright sun was lighting up the buildings on the other side of the alley. I turned to the shadow side, and found this symmetrical wall with its understated 19th century architectural elegance.
Taken on May 21, 2010