tropical dreams

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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

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a standing ovation

anniversary gift

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

architecture + puddle = fun

old post office, reflected

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

King Street, morning

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

inside/outside

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

the reading corner

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

Queen of Heaven with tulips

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