December in Northwestern Ontario

While home for the holidays, I took my camera out for a little walk about.  I love the way the weather bleached grasses contrast with the pristine snow creating textures and shapes.  Everything is so quiet, serene, beautiful and clean.  Last seasons growth persevere with heads full of seeds, waiting for warmth and melting to sprout green for another spring and summer.  There is hope and promise and assurance found in the cycle of seasons and growth.  We are so blessed.

Isaiah 55:9-11   9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Barn flower seed heads at the edge of the old garden

Goldenrod seed heads

The original farmhouse on the homestead

Secrets and sighing

Long before I was born, my great grandfather tried repeatly to nuture a tamarack tree to grown close to the farmhouse.  The challenge presented by this attempt was the farmhouse was not near any sort of a swamp, damp or loamy muck that tamarack prefer.  After many, many failures, one eventually decided that right up against the chicken coop was the place to be.  The chicken coup had a slanted roof, easy to ascend from the stack of wood leaning up against the gray grained walls.  It was a forbidden hideaway, sheltered by the boughs of the tamarack, soft flexible needles occasionally ticking down on the rolled roofing.  We were cautioned never to climb up there, the roof rafters had weakened with age, and dad had concerns that we might be heavy enough to crash through.  It didn’t stop me, I loved to creep up into the cool shade, the green smell of pine, a view of the fields and forests stretching, growing off to the west.  If there was a breeze it sung softly, sighing through the branches.  A favourite place, a place of solitude, my place.   None of my siblings ever joined me, or even know how much time I spent there.  Once I shared it as a wonderful secret with a cousin and was crushed by her failure to be impressed.  It was the first, last, only time.  It was my place to dream, to read, to think, to pray, to sing along to different rhythms, to spy on the phoebe that had her secret place below and inside where chickens once crooned over stone eggs and scratched straw for sustenance.

Isaiah 44:4   They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams.

The Sky’s the limit (that we can see)

Isaiah 45:8   Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also; I the LORD have created it.

I remember as a child, lying on my back on the front lawn, my head almost touching the flower bed around our house.  Lying there, right angles to the walls, and looking up at the sky, the straight walls of the white frame home providing a solid parenthesis at the edge of my vision, adding a weird perspective of the unreachable clouds and evoking a feeling close to vertigo.  Its a past time we lose as an adult, though we might revisit it with our own children, lying in the grass, watching the clouds skim, or float, or dance by; imagining shapes and objects of white to grey, purple to pink, orange to red, maybe bejewelled by a rainbow, depending on the time of day and the weather.  It is another of those natural phenomenon that words, or even pictures don’t quite capture.  Something is lost in the scale, or the vividness, or the lack of the whisper of breeze on the cheek, or the scent of rain on dusty grass.

It’s worth the attempt.

Canola field near Dawson Creek

From the ferry to Vancouver Island

Field near Dawson Creek, October 2009

Mountains in mist on Sea to Sky Highway

The storm passes at Dawson Creek

Light and Dark

Western horizon at The Farm in Kenora

6:30 PM at The Farm in Kenora

I thank God for skies.