nosy neighbours

nosy neighbours

I’ve been walking to work lately, most days. I take the neighbourhood route, avoiding the busy road until the winding residential streets run out. I walk in the cool of the morning, on the sunny side of the street, past quiet houses, and listen to the birds sing. Sometimes I see other people out walking their dogs, or jogging.

I arrive at work, where the spot I used to park has been taken over by roofers, and the rest of the parking lot has been removed by the construction crew working on a large building project. We are surrounded by drilling, thumping, hammering, blasting, and digging. Sometimes we can hardly get out the door for the cement trucks, dumptrucks or other heavy equipment moving in and out of the construction site. Yet people still manage to arrive, anyway, for art classes and gallery openings, workshops and meetings.

Then I walk home again, and when I reach the quiet streets of my neighbourhood, I see kids playing in backyards and cars pulling into driveways. And people are out walking dogs and jogging. And sometimes these two yappy dogs are out in their front yard, watching, ready to scold or gossip or at least make a lot of noise as I walk past, smiling.

Photo taken on March 31, 2011


taking stock

the blue shovel

I’ve read a number of other people’s resolutions and goals for 2011 in the last couple of days. It almost seems as if, on the stroke of 12:01 a.m. January 1st, their ambitious plans suddenly popped up on the calendar, ready to be checked off the list.

I look at my calendar, and it tells me nothing.

Sure, there are lots of things I’d like to accomplish in 2011, but my main goal — a successful career change — needs more than a few quick checkmarks. As I’ll be turning the big 5-0 soon, I figure that whatever career I end up (hopefully sooner than later) should be one I can stick with.

I feel like I’m ready for a change, but I don’t want to rush into the wrong decision.

This photo, taken during a snowstorm last January, reminds me how much things can change. Since it was taken, we’ve built a fence and made a lot of improvements to the house and garden. But here in the middle of winter, it’s harder to see the changes, the thick snow falling now doesn’t feel any different than last year’s snow.

So I’m not in a hurry. I’m taking stock, watching the weather, and trying to be prepared for the inevitable changes that lie ahead, just around the corner.

Photo taken on January 20, 2010

the house on the bluff

Living here, perched on the edge of the bluff, you can watch the sea coming and going all day. You can watch the container ships, the tankers, the fishing boats and cruise ships following the tide in and out of the harbour. You can watch the harbour seals and porpoises, the gulls and eagles trolling the shallow shores. You can watch everything that moves all the way to Nova Scotia on fine days, but on foggy days you might not even see the beach. And every kind of weather, be it rain or sun, snow or storm, will beat against your windows. And as the tide rises and falls and marks the rhythm of the days and seasons, you will be always be there, watching.

Taken on April 29, 2010

the open window

There was nothing remarkable about this house, no reason to stop and look. It was right next to the curb, looking well loved and more than a little tired. It was a sunny evening and I was looking for something interesting to photograph. My camera was in my hand, the lens cap off, my finger on the shutter release. I was ready… but nothing happened. No flash of inspiration, no bright shaft of sunlight pointing to a perfect image in an ordinary neighbourhood. But I was taking photos anyway, hoping that my camera would see something that I didn’t, knowing how easily my own expectations and biases get in the way. So when we walked by this house, I looked up at this window for a moment, my camera shutter snapped, and I continued walking. At first glance, there was nothing remarkable about this house, but I’m glad my camera gave me a chance to look again.

Taken on April 22, 2010