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Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

child with hare

The dead hare was in his arms before I even knew it was there on the forest floor.  It looked so much like a stuffed plush toy.  How could my grandson resist picking it up and cuddling it?  The bunny had not long been dead, with no sign of trauma on its little body.

still hare

It was a young hare, a leveret, with small  ears and soft fur, similar to many others I’ve found and buried over the years.  This time it was different though.  I had a small child as my witness and I wondered how he would react to the bunny being buried in the ground.

Snowshoe hare legs at rest

Snowshoe hare legs at rest

We talked about what might have happened. Perhaps a neighbor’s cat had killed it for sport.  Surely a bobcat or fox would have eaten it or carried it off to its den.

bunny burial

We dug a hole for it in a place in the yard where I’ve buried small bunnies in the past after finding their limp bodies on the lawn.  After gently placing it in the hole, we covered the bunny with earth and placed a stone on top to deter wild animals from digging it up.

Nature is the great teacher.  It shows us how death comes to all, even the young and beautiful.  We may not understand why, but we can still show reverence for all God’s creatures, both in life and death.

Let parents then bequeath to their children not riches but the spirit of reverence.
~ Plato

hare near front steps

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2014

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Paving Paradise

child walking on gravel road

You can’t stop progress.  Maybe that’s true.  But what is considered progress to one person is not necessarily the same for everyone.

In a province where elected officials and bureaucrats are especially sensitive to  being called ‘backwards’ and ‘backwoodsy,’ on December 10th 2013, Halifax Regional Municipality Councillors voted unanimously to pave five gravel roads in the Flandrum Hill subdivision.  Although property owners had been formally surveyed by HRM last Spring and the majority voted against paving the roads, Council decided they knew what was best for  HRM. Since HRM’s own policy recommends that a minimum of 50% of the residents must be in favor unless it is in the best interest of HRM, one wonders what interests would be so great as to override the wishes of the majority?

view from the top of flandrum hill road

View from the top of Flandrum Hill Road

Of course such decisions are easier to make when you’re not a homeowner looking at a $6,500.00 bill (calculated at $35 per linear foot of frontage).  It’s also easier when you don’t have to consider environmental impact.  An environmental study was not undertaken.  However, that doesn’t mean the environment won’t be affected.

snake-crossing-cow-bay-road

Maritime Garter Snake crossing Cow Bay Road in summer

When warmed by the sun or tire friction, asphalt releases harmful greenhouse gases. During the paving process, fumes from the oil used to bind the aggregate are known to cause sickness in humans.  Might be a good idea to keep children indoors when the roads are paved later this summer.  Somebody ought to give the wildlife a heads-up too.

ditch along flandrum hill roadDrainage considerations have to also be addressed with paved roads due to potential problems with run-off. Unlike a gravel road, pavement does not absorb precipitation. Though this isn’t as much of a concern for folks who live at the top of a hill, paved roads can potentially contribute to flooding in low-lying areas.

Drivers are known to speed more on paved roads than gravel ones. With its steep incline, Flandrum Hill Road will most likely see an increase in speeding.  Woe to the children who get in their way!

The cost of neglecting asphalt can be scary. Repeated freezing and thawing over the winter months takes a regular toll on all our Nova Scotia roads.   It’s one thing for homeowners to share in the cost of paving roads initially, but what happens when a municipality has to bear the burden of increased maintenance costs without raising taxes? In recent years, some counties in the U.S. have converted their paved roads to gravel once again.  See:  Roads to Ruin:  Towns Rip Up the Pavement

Many of us moved here because we liked the idea of living closer to nature.  We have no bus service and we’re still on well water and septic.  Gravel roads just seem to be another part of a lifestyle that the majority of us consider simply part of rural living.

Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.
~ C.S. Lewis

All photographs and text copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2014

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dawn july 9 2013

Summer seems to take forever to arrive to this part of the world.  Sometimes love can feel like that too.  Despite the long anticipation, we often feel unprepared for its arrival.

This past week’s heat wave was overwhelming but it’s hard to complain after such a long wait.   The best we can do is embrace its offerings and enjoy each caress of summer warmth on our limbs.

The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love.
~ Sitting Bull

pink peony

Peonies in the garden open their inner hearts gladly.  How many of us dare to open our hearts so courageously to love?  The combination of warm rains and sparkling sunshine has increased the size and number of their blooms.  For some the abundance is a burden that can only be carried so long.  How easily we too can flounder under the weight of  all the responsibilities that accompany love.

peonies falling over

Wild Ragged Robin flowers seem to have a more modest response.  Their delicate petals stretch out in the sun as if to say ‘Here I am World.  Take me as I am.’  Perhaps the happiest souls among us are those who simply feel loved for themselves, just as they are.

pink ragged robin

On the seashore, wet purplish-pink Irish Moss sparkles in the sunshine.  If we are loved consistently and unconditionally, do we not begin to reflect love in the same way?

pink irish moss on shore

Love has its own time, its own season, and its own reasons for coming and going. You cannot bribe it or coerce it or reason it into staying. You can only embrace it when it arrives and give it away when it comes to you.
~ Kent Nerburn

new growth on partridgeberry bush

In the back woods, new pink growth emerges from a partridgeberry bush, ravaged by hungry wildlife earlier this spring.  Where there’s sunshine and warm rain, there’s the promise of an abundant harvest once the summer’s past.  Perhaps the greatest comfort of love’s embrace is hope for the future.

Text and photographs Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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soft morning light on seagrass

Behind the shore, where the dune grass grows, that’s where we’re walking today.  The sun is burning off the rest of the morning’s fog and the grass sparkles where its rays manage to shine through holes in the mist.  The golden grass is dried and brittle in springtime.  I can’t believe it’s been a quarter century since I first felt it beneath my feet.

sand dune haven

We’ve come to this place so many times, you and I, looking for fox paths and ant hills in the sand. We sit in the same spot and together we look out to the ocean.  I dream of African shores with hot sparkling sand across the Atlantic while you ask one more time if it’s still too cold to go in the water.  What three year old doesn’t come to the beach with a plan to enjoy at least one quick splash in the waves?

The golden grass and the color of your hair remind me how much you’ve tamed me these past few years.  All these twenty five years, the dune grass has been of no use to me.  Until now.

hair the color of dried grass

Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold.  Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me!  The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you.  And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .
~ The Fox to The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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tree shadows on snow

Even in Canada where winter is so much a part of our lives, it seems like we seldom have anything good to say about our cold climate.  Everyone was complaining of record-breaking cold this week, the harshest in recent memory.  Even the squirrel in the yard seemed to be jumping farther and faster than usual in an attempt to spend as little time as possible out on the snow.

red squirrel jumping across snow

Surprisingly, there are actually some benefits to living in a cold climate.  Our air is fresh, and long cold spells prevent too many insects from surviving through to the next summer, benefits we usually don’t consider until our kitchens are bombarded with ants in the middle of a sticky summer heat wave.  Snow’s insulating properties also keep small rodents dreaming beneath the drifts at this time of year, instead of trying to find shelter in our homes.

A cold climate also has a positive impact on our intelligence, especially our ability to delay gratification. The mental functions required to store food, dress warmly and create adequate shelter are crucial to survival in harsh environments.

mint in winter

Inedible, dried brown mint in winter

It’s no wonder the Vikings were the first Europeans to make a settlement on this side of the Atlantic.  Habitually doing hard things in a harsh environment gave these cold climate dwellers an edge over other cultures.  Their ability to shrug off the cold and wholeheartedly embrace winter survives to this day.  Though polar dipping may not be to everyone’s liking, at the very least, cold winters incite us to practice hope and patience as we wait for the warmer days ahead.

Last year's pussywillows

Last year’s pussy willows

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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How does such a delicate flower as the Queen Anne’s Lace manage to continue looking so fresh so late in the season?  Though it’s a favorite of many, few have looked deeply enough into the heart of the flower to see its deep red center.  Could the secret of its youthful bloom be found here at its heart?

What makes one flower stay fresh well past summer while others close their hearts to the cold winds and rains that are so much a part of the autumn of life?  Why do some choose to retreat into themselves while others practice a hospitality of the heart that judges not visitors and welcomes all?

These are just a few of the questions worth asking on a quiet and sunny Sunday in October.  Canadian Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner.  May you all find lots of things to be thankful for and questions worth asking.

The questions worth asking, in other words, come not from other people but from nature, and are for the most part delicate things easily drowned out by the noise of everyday life.
~ Robert B. Laughlin

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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