Posts Tagged ‘December’

A light dusting of snow sparkles on the boardwalk leading to the seashore. There are no tracks yet. It’s still early.

But despite clear blue skies, it’s no day to be at the beach. A cold December wind has blown in. Is winter finally here?  Christmas is just around the corner.  Perhaps the beach walkers are shopping in the malls these days instead of strolling along the shoreline.

Spray is blowing from the crests of waves at sea.  These spindrifts are considered by mariners to be  indicators of gale force winds.  Just looking at them is enough to make you shiver.

Later in the season, spindrifts of sand and snow will blow from the crests of dunes on the beach.  We’ll slowly drift into winter one snowflake at a time until our snowshovels runneth over. 

If only we could approach the holidays as we approach the seasons: slowly, one sparkle at a time… with no rushing and no deadlines, enjoying each moment and peacefully trusting that everything will come together eventually.

I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays–let them overtake me unexpectedly–waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why this is Christmas Day!’

~  Ray Stannard Baker

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The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment. They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.
~ G.K. Chesterton

Perhaps it’s because skies are so grey and the days are so dark, that late December’s sunrises seem especially precious.

You don’t need to be a child to feel that there is something magical in the air at this time of year.  Who would have thought rose hips from summer’s wild blooms would have transformed so easily into a snowman’s grin?  All you need is a little imagination…

Nature has been waiting all year to share its gifts of the season…

With or without the presence of snow, there is something enchanted in the outdoors… available to everyone and easily bought for the price of opening your eyes and your heart.

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things…
~ Sara Teasdale

The woods look barer than they did this fall when all the bright leaves covered the trees.  But,  it’s at this time that reflections of the sky can finally reveal themselves in previously hidden forest brooks… You never know what’s waiting to be discovered in the woods.  Even in late December, there are still surprises to be found.

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
~Roy L. Smith

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After being listed on the homepage of WordPress.com on December 27th, 28th and 29th, this page has received more views than any other on this site to date.  Thank you to all who stopped by for a visit.


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We’re entering the darkest week of the year in Nova Scotia, when each day is less than nine hours in length.  This morning, the sun rose at 7:45, almost two hours after I set out for a walk along the Salt Marsh Trail. 

I often walk in the dark with the intention of seeing the sun rise while out in the middle of nature.  If you’ve never risen early and braved the elements outside in the pre-dawn light, you’re missing a wonderful experience.  It’s one that engages all the senses. 

Too often, we really only on our eyesight.  We only trust what we can see directly in front of us, and fail to engage our other senses when confronted with the unknown.

Walks in the darkness make us perk our ears more.  The scent of trees in the mist and the sounds of waking birds and rushing tide waters all add to our perception of place and time. 

Even on moonless nights, white objects stand out in the darkness.  I wondered what creature attacked this seagull when I came across these feathers on my walk yesterday morning.  A coyote?  Not knowing what’s lurking in the darkness is part of life’s adventure.  The challenge of facing our fears, whether real or imagined, shouldn’t prevent us from moving forward along the trail.

On this morning’s walk, the light drizzle soon changed to pouring rain.  The droplets were caught by the flash of the camera and capture a bit of the magic that is felt at this special time of day when most are still asleep and warm in their beds. 

The quotation below is from Canadian portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh. Although digital photographs no longer require darkness for their development phase, his words still hold true.

Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
~ Yousuf Karsh

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Canada geese rest quietly on the water as the sun begins to rise.  It’s colder this morning than it’s been since last winter.  Some days, you can tell just by looking at the colour of the trees and the sky that you’re going to have to need mitts in order to walk outside, especially in the salt marsh, where there’s always some sort of wind.

There are no hot pinks or warm oranges in this morning’s sunrise.  Everything looks cool and barren.  Of course, nothing looks as cold as the water…

Except perhaps this poor duck…

At least someone’s sense of humour hasn’t frosted over.  Yet.   

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Most branches are already bare of the snow that fell early Sunday, but there’s no doubt about it.  There’s a bite of cold in the air that wasn’t present last week, and the waves of snow on the lawn confirm the inevitable.  Winter is here. 

This snow is crunchy this morning.  Underfoot, this isn’t a sound that’s experienced until after winter has set its claws into the landscape.  Ice has bonded the snow to the leaves and grass lying beneath it. Its hard surface is of the variety that makes it difficult to track the movements of small animals. 

Resting on the surface of these ripples of icy snow is a dusting of tiny bright white snow pellets.  This isn’t the type of snow that children delight in playing with.  It’s simply a tease to them and a promise of bigger snowfalls yet to come.  For adults, it’s an indicator that spring is closer than it was last week.

O Wind, if Winter comes… can Spring be far behind?

~Percy Bysshe Shelley

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For ages humans have wondered about the effects of a full moon on the planet.  If tides are at their highest (and lowest) during this phase, wouldn’t anything that has a high water content, such as plant and animal life, be affected too?

Supposedly, timber isn’t harvested in tropical rainforests during a full moon as sap rises in the trees at that time.  This phenomena attracts death-watch beetles, insects known to destroy timber.  Does sap rise in the trees here too during a full moon?

There are nights when the wolves are silent, and only the moon howls.

~ George Carlin

Since a full moon is ten times brighter than a crescent moon, one would assume that nocturnal wildlife has more light with which to forage and hunt during the night hours.  However, raccoon hunters often find their prey less active on full moon nights and some deer hunters believe that deer are actually more active at noon during a full moon.  Despite all the research that’s been done, animal and human activity during this moon phase is still a mystery.

The two photos above were taken at 6 am this morning while the photo below was taken an hour later, half an hour before sunrise.  It looks more like the sun than the moon is peeking out from behind the trees. 

Full moons occur every 29.5 days and the next one will be on New Year’s Eve.  Since it will be the second full moon of the calendar month, it will be what’s known as a ‘blue moon,’ an event that occurs, on average, once every three years.

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the creator.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

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