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Posts Tagged ‘sun’


The seasons wait for no one.  In Nova Scotia, this is especially true with our springs and summers, which always seem too short. 

Looking back on a summer that flew by more quickly than most, I notice myself scrambling to find a few small things to take with me into the cooler seasons ahead.   There may not have been any long hot days at the beach to look back on, but that’s ok…

Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

~  Winnie the Pooh 

Children playing in the sunshine, a warm breeze enjoyed while hanging out the laundry and flowers glimpsed coloring the wayside… these are the little things that will still provide warm memories of summer next January. 

Perhaps it’s their vulnerability that endears these small things to us.  Wild roses growing on the edge of a busy road…

Or tiny caterpillars crossing the trail…

Perhaps it’s because the blooming time for many small wild things is limited to just a couple of weeks a year.  

 Come the dark days of November, their presence will seem to have been as fleeting as that of a butterfly.

And the rising summer sun a brief kiss of light.

Is it so small a thing
To have enjoyed the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved,
To have thought,
To have done?
~ Matthew Arnold

This post was inspired by Summertime written by Isabelle at Isathreadsoflife’s Blog.

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July 2nd 2010.  One dawn.  One fantillion colors.  How could just one sunrise possibly exude such a varied palette of yellows, oranges, pinks, purples and blues?  Just another of nature’s wonders that will likely remain a mystery for the ages.

I’ll tell you how the sun rose a ribbon at a time.
~ Emily Dickenson

All photos were taken at sunrise near and in Rainbow Haven provincial park in Cow Bay, Nova Scotia.  The beach will be filled with people today, each one enjoying the sand and the surf, none of them ever realizing what a spectacle took place here this morning.

There is more day to dawn.
~ Henry David Thoreau

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Seeing the sea from so many vantage points is one of the perks of living in Nova Scotia, especially around the Halifax region.  While driving or walking, seeing the ocean out of the corner of your eye always boosts the spirit.   Like the sky, the Atlantic is always changing and offering something new to see every day.

Sunrises reflected over salt water are especially beautiful.  After decades of looking out towards the sea, it’s still a wonder to me that this water and the water seen from Africa’s western shores are one and the same.  Supposedly, prior to Continental Drift, the land around Cow Bay was once connected to Africa.  Somehow, the idea that Cow Bay’s sandy shores may share a common history with Namibian sands makes this place seem even more special.  

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to rush past awe-inspiring sunrises over the ocean while on my way to work in the early mornings.   Nevertheless, even a glimpse of such an ocean sunrise is sure to give you some immunity to whatever the rest of the day may throw at you.  Could it be the reflection of sunrise colours in the water that persists in our memory throughout the day?  Or is it the sense of having been alone with God for just that moment at the break of  dawn?

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea. 
~Isak Dinesen

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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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Summer spills her golden days,
Upon the earth in lust displays.

~ Nora Bozeman

black eye susan

Warm August days bring forth blooms of a yellow color that weren’t noticeable on the landscape a few weeks ago.  These cheerful flowers have a golden glow that mimics the bright summer sun.

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to North America and are desirable in gardens for their bright color and quality of low-maintenance.  They’ve been used by native people to treat a variety of ailments from snake bites to earaches.   These yellow daisies  have a flat open design that is especially attractive to butterflies.

wild flowers and grass

Evening-primroses (Onagraceae) open at sunset and close by noon the following day.  Also known as sun cups, they are pollinated by moths that fly from flower to flower during the night hours.  The young shoots of this plant can be eaten in a salad while the roots can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.  Yet another name for this plant, King’s Cure-all, reveals its myriad medicinal uses, from pain-relief to cough suppression.

light yellow flowers

I haven’t had any luck identifying the plant with light yellow flowers shown above.  It grows profusely along the Salt Marsh Trail.  Does it look familiar to anyone?

Update August 6th:  I’ve discovered that this plant is most likely Sea Radish which is in the Mustard family (cruciferae).

hawkweed

Canada Hawkweed is also a native plant, found growing along roadsides and railway tracks.  Since the trail along the salt marsh follows the old Blueberry Express train track, it’s no surprise that it’s found along there.  Rough Hawkweed, which has hairier stems, grows in my lawn in early July.  Usually considered a weed, it derives its name from the old belief that it was eaten by hawks to improve their eyesight.

golden rod

A few Golden Rod plants are in bloom along the Salt Marsh Trail but not yet in my yard.  Ever since I was a child, their blooming has been a sign for me that the summer was winding down. There are numerous varieties of this plant.  Larger ones have very rigid stalks and can grow several feet tall.

Take time this month to drink in the beauty around you.  If you don’t have a garden of your own, take an extra bit of time to enjoy the flowers growing freely along roadsides.  Enjoy these golden days because…

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

~ William Shakespeare

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sun risingEven when it’s raining and the days are cloudy, the sun is still blazing in the sky.  Its presence is vital to our survival and that of every other living thing on the planet.  It’s no surprise that so many cultures throughout the ages have worshipped this ball of flames. Though we shouldn’t look into the sun (see here for some good reasons why), we can look into the flames of a fire.

Like us, fire requires oxygen.  It can provide warmth and cook food or be a destructive force like no other.  Visually, it can be mesmerizing.  Back in the 1800s, Henry David Thoreau was already lamenting the growing absence of open flames in hearths due to the introduction of wood stoves.  He believed that you could always see a face in the flames, and that gazing into a fire at the end of a long day of hard work was both warming and relaxing.

What is fire?  It’s a mystery.  Scientists give us gobbledegook about friction and molecules, but they don’t really know.

~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

fire

Who would have thought that fiery reds and oranges could be found so easily in the summer landscape?  A Pileated Woodpecker, berries, seaweed, flowers and leaves are all examples of the fire element in nature at this time of year.  It’s no wonder that the fire element is often associated with the summer sun.

Images in the montage were taken from submissions to a Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt.

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pre-dawn moon

In order to see the sun rise you have to set out while it is still dark. The air will be still and cool.  There may be birds greeting one another, but their calls will quickly fade into a hush along with the sound of your footsteps as you begin your walk.   The sky may be a deep blue if it’s clear, or a misty blue if it’s hazy…

moon and mist

The anticipation of seeing the sun rise will block out all other thoughts in these pre-dawn minutes.  At no other time of day is it so easy to be ‘in the moment.’

before sunrise

Whether you are looking towards the east from an ocean shore, the woods or a hilltop, the instant the sun kisses the horizon and awakens the day, you’ll feel a part of something bigger than yourself, your daily concerns and your dreams.

sunrise along the salt marsh trail

It is necessary for me to see the first point of light which begins to be dawn.  It is necessary to be present alone at the resurrection of Day, in the blank silence when the sun appears.  In this completely neutral instant I receive from the Eastern woods, the tall oaks, the one word ‘Day,’ which is never the same.  It is never spoken in any known language.

~ Thomas Merton from Day of a Stranger

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rainbow haven boardwalk

This empty boardwalk should be teeming with sun seekers dressed in bathing suits, eating ice cream cones, carrying beach chairs or picnic baskets and heading out for a sunny day at the beach. Where are they? 

mussel bed at rainbow haven

During the summer, this blue mussel bed at Rainbow Haven Beach is usually a magnet for children looking for crabs at low tide.  It too is desolate. 

Although we’re already well into July, endless weeks of rain and cooler than seasonal temperatures have made Nova Scotians feel like we have yet to experience summer this year.  Our winters can be quite harsh with lots of ice, snow and cold, but our wonderful summers usually make them somewhat tolerable. 

summer

Somewhere, beyond the fog and clouds, I know there are blue skies and the sun is shining brightly.  Maturing robins are looking for worms in the lawn, wild flowers are blooming and the grass is growing, carrying on as though it is indeed summer.  They don’t seem to need to see blue skies and experience soaring temperatures in order to go about their summer business.  Maybe we should be more trusting too.  Hopefully this week’s forecast for sunnier skies will give us all something to smile about.

clouds and sky

The blue of heaven is larger than the clouds.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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