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The Reprieve…

Yup, this was yesterday, the day after we dug out from “the big storm.” These high mountains of packed snow on either side of the road after the snowplow cleared the streets and our super helpful and kind neighbours helped us shovel the driveway and paths to front and back doors reminded me of my childhood growing up in a small mountain village in Bavaria. According to the Parrsboro old-timers, this is a normal winter, the way it used to be. Over the last few years, everyone has been spoiled with milder weather and less snow or rain.

When the sky was so beautiful and clear yesterday we decided to go for a short excursion. We ended up at First Beach across from the Parrsboro Lighthouse and found it hard to believe that we had just weathered a major winter storm that brought destruction and lengthy power outages to most of Nova Scotia. I enjoyed a short walk along the calm waters of the Bay of Fundy with gulls circling overhead and seasoned sea glass under my feet.

Today is spent preparing meals suitable for a power outage and baking some bread to thank the neighbours for their help on Saturday. Fingers crossed the power stays on and the trees in our yard remain standing.

Happy Monday. Stay safe, Anna

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Storm Report

True to the forecasts we have been following all week, the big winter storm arrived yesterday afternoon. The wind was fierce all night, we lost power for about 11 hours and the snow drifts are impressive.

View from the living room at first light today…
…and from the kitchen window overlooking the street.

It took some time to dig a narrow path across the back deck for our short-legged ShihTzus to go outside😊.

Our crow gathering tree was decapitated!😢

The most disappointing discovery for us was the “crow tree” decapitation by the strong and relentless winds. We consider ourselves very fortunate that we have not suffered more damage. The storage shed is standing, the camper is upright, windows are intact and the patch job on the roof from Thursday seems to have done the job. At the moment we are sorting out why our internet is not working…

In the end, it will all work itself out. The heat is on and I am hugging a hot cuppa full of gratitude that we have weathered our first big winter storm in the Bay of Fundy.

Happy weekend, everyone! Stay safe, stay warm! Best wishes, Anna

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Time Flies…

…especially if you fill your days with new challenges.

The last couple of blog posts have been brief not because I didn’t feel like writing and sharing images but because my attention was briefly diverted.

Yesterday I was invited to test the brand-new Fundy GeoPark Ambassador Training Programme. I am among the first to be certified as a Fundy GeoPark Ambassador and feel quite honoured to have been asked to participate in the test run. It was an hour well spent as it added to my knowledge base. Living in the heart of the Fundy GeoPark carries a certain responsibility and sharing background information along the way with visitors in the community and general area is a great way to engage.

And just because it was so much fun spending time in the ZOOM classroom yesterday, another three hours today added to my educational enjoyment. This blog was created thanks to walking the Fundy Shore and exploring Nova Scotia. I was looking for a way to engage with the community on a deeper level and when I started my research I was directed to NS Walk. As I perused the website last week I discovered today’s free online training programme for potential walk leaders and didn’t waste any time. I signed up and joined 21 potential walk leaders and the coordinator from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and even one person in Ontario for three hours to engage in discussing and planning new walk programs around our province.

I can’t wait to get started and see where this leads me next. I love getting out into nature and it has really helped to clear my mind while keeping my fitness levels up. Staying cooped up in one’s home for prolonged periods is not natural and with the NS Walk leadership training, I feel I have plugged into a growing community.

But, first things first: We have another storm approaching for the weekend. Once I can assess the situation I will be out there scouting walking and hiking routes. Stay tuned for new excursions and adventures. Best wishes, Anna

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Cloud Spotting

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud…

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

– William Wordsworth, 1770 – 1850

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A Quiet Day…

Go with the flow, slow down a little, they say… Nothing helps me slow down more than a winter storm. We have lived in Nova Scotia for 15 months and January 8th, 2022 was the first “real” winter storm” we have experienced.

When we moved here our friends out west all warned us about “the weather”… there would be big storms, they said… “Do you know what you are doing? Are you aware of the huge amounts of snow they get out there? And what about hurricanes?” We were not worried at all. We had made our home in Calgary for 27 years, followed by 13 years in rural Saskatchewan – we were ready for a little snow. We knew snow, and we knew wind and so far those experiences have us well prepared for the weather in Nova Scotia.

I do feel that Parrsboro is uniquely situated in the province. Our friends in Moncton seem to get much more snow than we do. When we watch the radar we regularly observe that the moisture-laden clouds get pushed across our location and release their cargo in the Moncton area.

It’s Sunday and rain is in the forecast… but for now, I enjoy the white blanket of snow that covers the town, slowing down life and making social distancing more natural.

Happy Sunday! Curl up by the fire with a good book and another cuppa. Enjoy and recharge, Anna

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And the Sunshine Returns…

…to illuminate the winter wonderland yesterday’s snowstorm created. It was very windy during the night. Since we live in a bungalow in a seemingly sheltered location we didn’t notice the wind too much. Friends with two-story homes talked about “beds shaking and the house moving”. We were cozy and warm and aside from a few flickers later in the evening did not have to worry about firing up the generator.

It’s supposed to be -7 C but with the sunshine, it feels much warmer. Happy Saturday, wherever you are! Best wishes, Anna

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And so it begins…

The forecast for a major winter storm has been circulating in the news for several days. With temperatures around +10 C yesterday and blue skies I made it to the beach twice. In the morning the tide was out and it afforded us a nice, leisurely walk. When I returned to the same beach the tide was rushing in and the timing wasn’t so great. I have heard that when a storm approaches the tide pushes in faster and sooner… Well, I won’t argue this fact anymore. We still managed to walk along the cliff edge while carefully watching for loose rocks and other debris overhead.

I returned home just before sunset and was treated to this amazing sky and its reflections in the Farrells River that borders our backyard. It made it easier to ignore the snowy forecast…

I had a morning appointment at the GeoPark office here in Parrsboro and during the short meeting, the snow arrived!

It’s time for a steaming cup of coffee while watching the snow accumulate. Can’t wait to see how this plays out… or if it fizzles out like all the other storms we have anticipated. So far we have found that this Bay of Fundy location is quite mild and heavy snow events have eluded us.

Have a great Friday! Stay warm, stay safe, stay positive! Best wishes, Anna

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The Ancients…

Diligent River Beach is one of the best-kept secrets around. There is a pebbled beach that extends from the wharf and old shipbuilding yard providing an opportunity for walkers who like to keep it simple.

I prefer the hidden approach past the houses on Cottage Lane. It leads to a small parking area and takes the explorer onto a rocky stretch of beach from where ancient Cape Split appears so much closer compared to anywhere else along our shore.

Impressive cliffs and geological formations get submerged during every high tide and slowly re-appear when the tide recedes changing their character and appearance ever so slightly. The millennia-old formations are covered in juicy green seaweed that draws the viewer in to observe the frosted layer of rime around the edges during these colder days.

It is an ancient beach, it is a fragile beach, it is a stretch of the Fundy Shore that demands a huge portion of healthy respect. The temptation to climb the large rocks along the cliff is always there but after my last visit, I noticed how much of the cliffside has deteriorated since last fall. It is dangerous and the advice from Caleb, the Fundy Geopark guide, echoes in my mind: “Stay at least two schoolbus lengths away from the cliffs!”

I kept my visit to Diligent River Beach short. The sun slipped behind a heavy cloud cover almost as soon as I arrived. The sunset light I was hoping for was not going to happen. With fingers frozen and the chill slowly advancing through the thick layers of my winter coat I called it a day and made my way back to the car.

Wishing you all a safe Wednesday. The month is slowly advancing, we are expecting a snowstorm and preparations are underway to ensure we have supplies and are comfortable in case the power goes out or a heavy blanket of snow prevents us from leaving the house. Happy Wednesday! Best wishes, Anna

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Phinney Green

Remember these images? They were taken the day I explored Wards Brook Beach. I could see as far as the Phinney Green sea stacks and made the decision to visit Phinney Green soon.

It only took one day and with the weather holding back on rain and snow I asked a couple of friends to join me.

The approach to the beach is not difficult. There are no brooks to navigate, I parked the car and we walked onto the beach within minutes. My friends had never visited here and as soon as we rounded the corner their breath was taken away with the impressive single sea stack at the entrance to the beach.

The tide was on its way out and we began a brisk walk to stay warm.

We reached the point where the cliffs break open and a river rushes across the pebble beach. It was a good place to turn around but not until I took the time to survey the water’s edge. I realized that I was able to spot the pyramidal shape of the Wards Brook Beach sea stack close to where I had turned around the previous day.

My primary fascination with Phinney Green Beach is the diversity of sea stacks. Such character! No matter which angle I explore, faces and figures begin to emerge. They rise up, silently communicating with their onlookers, telling stories of times past and natural wonder. I see wizards, birds taking off, warriors staring at each other with grim expressions, a gorilla face, and even a howling wolf… What do you see? My friends pointed out their discoveries and it helped me to discover uncharted territory.

The day was a bit gloomy with low-hanging clouds and fog shrouding the cliffs. Days like this are full of mystery and subdued sounds from the ocean. It was the last day of the year and we gathered all the negative influences that had accumulated in 2021 to collectively hurl them into the Bay, freeing our minds and perceptions to welcome a new year with open arms and positivity.

So far it is working… New challenges are already mounting but we are ready! Sending good vibes your way. Best wishes for a great Wednesday, Anna

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Wards Brook Beach

It has been almost a year since I visited Wards Brook Beach for the first time. My second attempt was during a tidal phase when the water was too high to venture more than about 20 meters along the cliff edge. Last week I watched the weather carefully and while the sky was overcast, the wind was down and the rain held off for another day. I decided to explore this striking part of the Fundy Shore and UNESCO GeoPark.

Much has changed since I was here last. I almost didn’t get across the creek. One of the landowners has made a strong attempt at blocking access to the beach. Last year I was able to carefully make my way across the square beam, this year I knew I better not try that route. I walked this way and that and finally found a couple of rocks that were stable enough to walk across to the other side. As soon as I crossed the creek and climbed up to beach level I knew it was worth it. The question whether I would be able to get back to the car was something I pushed out of my mind for now.

I recalled my very first visit to this spot as I was walking toward the water’s edge. A little overwhelmed by the expanse of the beach I had looked down and was immediately drawn to the colourful offerings by Mother Nature. I am sure you will agree that the pebbles underfoot are not only intriguing for their colour but also their textures and patterns. I can’t get enough and finding a favourite pebble isn’t easy!

Small waterfalls along the cliffs are another source of inspiration. It was above freezing and the water was rushing off the smooth rock faces toward the ground providing an additional layer of sound to the concert already provided by the calls of gulls and crows against the gentle waves lapping at the pebble shore.

The cliff edges are as colourful as the pebbles and with the gray sky and high humidity, it was a fascinating display of colour and layers created over the course of this area’s natural history. Evidence of volcanic activity and the incredible force of continental plates colliding to lift, fold, compress and shift the layers juxtaposed with colourful sandstone cliff faces catapulted me forward to find just one more amazing section to photograph.

The receding tide revealed seaweed-covered rocks along the shore which reminded me of ancient sea creatures slowly making their way to land…

…but the main attractions for me are the rugged sea stacks that beckon from the distance. It was the point where last year’s walking group stopped to survey the area and turn around. This time I had timed my visit to ensure that the tide would not be surprising me too soon and force an early return to the car. Instead, I ventured past the sea stack to my left, the cliff to my right across the large slabs of black rocks and onto the sandy ocean floor.

Yes, this is the ocean floor. I was reminded of that fact when I climbed higher and saw dark green seaweed clinging to the rocks at my feet. I was determined to explore beyond this imposing landmark and it turned out that I would be richly rewarded!

I pushed on and once I reached the next pyramidal stack more colour shone brightly. It looked as if someone had accidentally poured a bucket of paint over the rocks! As I was carefully walking across the wet rocks I was reminded of images created by Swedish landscape photographer Hans Strand. “Channeling Hans Strand…” was running through my mind. Have a look for yourself, here is a link to his website and you will see what I mean.

I was nearing the two-hour mark on my walk and I noticed the light was beginning to fade a little. At this time I looked on to see what the beach ahead of me would hold. I was very pleased to recognize the familiar sea stacks of Phinney Green Beach. The first time I visited Wards Brook Beach I tried to orient myself and asked my walking group companion if this beach connects with Phinney Green. I was told that technically it does but the distance was too great to walk to Phinney Green. Imagine my delight in discovering that indeed one could walk from Wards Brook Beach to Phinney Green. It would all depend on the timing of the hike…

…but for now, I was satisfied with my discovery. I turned around and headed back in the direction of my car. I love exploring the beach in both directions and as I approached the first landmark sea stack I discovered that with the changing light this geological formation has so much more to offer.

What does this look like to you? Perhaps an extinct dinosaur grinning mischievously at you… or is it a hooded sea creature ready to pounce?

But wait, what’s this? A monkey nestled between the rocks? Oh no, it’s a tiny Buddha meditating! At least that is what I saw… ;-D

With a bounce in my step and renewed energy, I headed back to where the car was parked. I still had plenty of time before the tide was threatening my safe exit from the beach. I jumped across the creek and clambered up the soft embankment my head and camera full of amazing impressions. I was excited about my discovery that I could have walked on to reach Phinney Green Beach. Let’s see what the weather brings tomorrow…

I sincerely hope you enjoyed today’s recap of my excursion to Wards Brook Beach. I walked a total of 12 km in just under three hours. Happy Monday to all! Best wishes for a productive day, Anna

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First Light Challenge

Have you heard about the universal First Light Challenge? Photographers around the world make it their mission to capture the first light on the first day of New Year. I am usually not that ambitious, especially in the winter. Getting up and out into the cool weather isn’t my first choice. However, yesterday I was up quite early and wide awake.

Sunrise was predicted for 7:57 am. I arrived at Partridge Island Beach at 7:45 and set out walking the beach to prevent the chill to penetrate my clothing. I carefully watched the tiny sliver of light on the far eastern horizon where the waters of the Bay of Fundy met the sky and I was a little disappointed that the change was so subtle.

I spent about 45 minutes exploring the beach, picking up sea glass, watching the crows and gulls and observing the change of light and slight lifting of the fog. It was truly magical, especially since I was the only person at this popular beach at that time of day.

Enjoy your first Sunday of 2022. The tide is rolling in here and we have light rain falling. The grey weather outside calls for curling up on the couch with a good book…

Best wishes, Anna

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Walking Toward the Light…

Nearly two years ago the world changed… and I did what had to be done, or so I thought… I went along with it: Wearing masks, isolating, physically and socially distancing, sanitizing, getting vaccinated to keep my friends and family safe and most of all I did my best to stay positive. Somehow I thought that if I continue to think positive thoughts and engage in motivating others I could get through it. Well, I have to admit that “it” all suddenly got to me. The day coincided with my milestone birthday, a day that ended up being just like any other day… without personal contact, a way to celebrate and share some cake with others. Before I decided to crawl back into bed and wallow in my depressive emotions I checked the tide table and decided to walk instead. Walking has always been my remedy in combating emotional turmoil. I laced up my boots, threw on my jacket and set out without a particular goal in mind. I just knew I had to get to a beach, the place where the light makes the water glisten to add magic to the landscape.

The closest beach is a twenty-minute walk to the pier across from the Parrsboro Lighthouse. The early morning snow had cloaked the world in a white blanket and I encountered no other people.

Once my boots hit the pebble beach I was drawn to the water’s edge where a few deep breaths released much of the negativity I was experiencing. And when I nearly stumbled over my first piece of beach glass I knew it would be a good day in the end. I navigated First Beach and Second Beach and soon realized that the weather was favourable and the tide on its way out. I kept walking.

I love walking in solitude. No need to make conversation or set my pace to anyone else’s needs. I can just move freely, stop when something captures my interest while listening to my own body and gauge how far to meander before it would be wise to turn around.

I suddenly realized what an amazing experience it was to be walking on a beach in late December, not battling a fierce wind, rain or snow… I was making my way across the ocean floor! This is hard to imagine when you have not explored the beaches here but all I had to do was look for the high tide line as it stands out clearly with seaweed and various ocean debris.

By the time I reached this point on the beach, I had been walking for more than two hours. Anticipation was growing, after all, this is one of my all-time favourite destinations on the Fundy Shore. It is also a very powerful place and I asked myself why I don’t come to Clarke Head more often.

Anyone who has been following this blog since its inception seven months ago will recall my first solitary walk to the arch. It was then that I decided to share images and insights from my beach explorations in the Bay of Fundy. Here is a link to the first post.

In August I visited Clarke Head for the second time, this time with a friend, and we busied ourselves photographing rocks and details during the Golden Hour. Clarke Head shares its power with me only when I walk there alone and see the arch reveal itself in its entirety as I slowly approach and it emerges from behind the rocky cliff. Once again I was awestruck by how majestic the arch really is. The base was not littered with rocks like it was in the spring and as I walked through the opening I imagined leaving behind all that ails me. Slowly I emerged on the other side, feeling lighter, with my mind less cluttered. Ahhhh, a deep exhale followed by breathing in the fresh sea air – what could be better, more healing? I can’t think of anything.

I allowed myself half an hour of lingering, enough time to explore the seaweed-covered rocks, observe rivulets of water draining toward the ocean. And then it was time to turn around and head back toward home.

The tide was at its lowest point by now with ripples glistening in the sand near the summer campground. And the light was changing once again announcing that the end of the winter day was fast approaching. I kept walking toward the pier and lighthouse. Not only did the light change but the weather was much different as I reached Second Beach.

I checked my watch as I turned and headed home along Willow Street. I realized that I had spent five hours walking and experiencing the most wonderful sights.

May this long recap of my solitary outing provide you with light for a brand-new year. I wish happiness, health, love and joy for all of you. Let’s make room for a bright and beautiful year. Best wishes, Anna

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Five Islands Lighthouse Park

A recent addition to our bookshelf, “Lighthouses & Lights of Nova Scotia – Complete Guide” is another great sourcebook to plan short or extended trips around our fabulous province. Part 1 in the book covers the lighthouses along the Fundy Shore, our own backyard. The Parrsboro Lighthouse I see every time I head to First Beach and the Pier. Another great destination is Five Islands Lighthouse Park, a 20-minute drive from home.

Five Islands Lighthouse was built in 1914 under contract to A. L. Mury of West Arichat at a cost of $ 750. The first lighthouse keeper was Cyrus MacBurnie. His annual wage amounted to $ 115.67.

The lighthouse was moved in 1952 due to the continuous erosion of the red sandstone cliffs. The coastguard extinguished the light in 1993 at which time the lighthouse threatened to topple off the cliffs into the Bay of Fundy due to the collapse of a retaining wall. A community group led by Ronald MacBurnie (whose family kept the lighthouse for over 5 decades) and Anita Murphy came to the rescue. The community purchased the structure in November 1996 and moved it to its current location where it has been lovingly restored.

The beach is always a draw. It is fairly level and one of the beaches that is easy to navigate. I rarely encounter other visitors and the view of Five Islands is spectacular. We visited and walked the beach on December 28th at low tide. The winter light was magical and the everchanging clouds made for the perfect backdrop for Moose, Diamond, Long, Egg and Pinnacle Islands (from left to right).

I never just observe what is in the distance no matter how wonderful and magical the light might be: I am always interested in what is underfoot or right in front of me. A few icy patches drew my attention and demanded to be captured. These disappeared with the next high tide. I love the ever-changing coastline… no matter what the season, the time of day or weather the beaches offer limitless opportunities!

Thanks for tagging along over the past 7 months. Best wishes for a New Year’s Eve: May you chase out the cobwebs and negative vibes of 2021 and open your home and mind wide for a better year ahead. I am focusing on the future, the new year that will hopefully put an end to the worldwide pandemic, the stress, hardships and anguish that has affected all of us on various levels.

I read something a couple of days ago… It went something like this: “Let’s not wish each other a happy new year or best of luck for 2022! At the stroke of midnight let’s all shout JUMANJI to exit this crazy game!” That sounded like a good suggestion.

Jumanji to all! See you in 2022, best wishes, Anna


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I struggle for words…

…all I can do is shake my head and ask: What is wrong with individuals?

We were on our way home from Joggins and Menudie after navigating Hardscrabble Road. I was still revelling in vivid memories of history, the hardships of our ancestors while at the same time appreciating the natural beauty we experienced following the coastal road.

We passed through Southampton, crossed the Bumblebee Bridge (yes, that is what the sign says…) when I suggested we take a left turn onto Athol Road. We have noticed the road every since we moved here but never took the time to explore where it might lead us.

We travelled through forested terrain, much of it logged and therefore not very inspiring. Suddenly we passed an unsightly plot adjacent to the road. Was it a municipal dump? An appliance selvage location? We actually turned the car around to investigate. As soon as we stopped it became abundantly clear that this unsightly spot along the road was an ordinary dumping ground for appliances, children’s toys, old tires and other unwanted items… To make matters worse, across the road the wooded area was littered with old chesterfields, chairs, tables and other additional household items. Who started this mess? An why? Could it have been sheer laziness…n

We were absolutely speechless, at a loss! Only about 1 km beyond this improvised garbage dump were houses that, as it turns out, belong to the town of Springhill. I am still reeling from this ugly discovery that overshadowed our beautiful coastal vistas experience. Whatever happened to recycling, repurposing and responsibly discarding unwanted appliances and furniture? I have found old cars, car parts and household items during my mushroom hunting adventures last summer… but this Athol Road discovery calls for action.

Sorry to insert such horrible images into this blog. After honouring the beauty of the Bay of Fundy for nearly seven months I could not ignore what was hidden in plain sight along a well-travelled road between communities…

Recycle responsibly! Best wishes, Anna

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Hardscrabble Road

No, I didn’t make it up… Hardscrabble Road is real. To access Hardscrabble Road we backtracked from the Joggins Fossil Centre through town and took the turn which was well signed.

Hardscrabble Road hugs the Fundy coastline till it connects with Cove Road and you have a choice to carry on to Menudie or turn toward River Hebert. Our stop at the Hardscrabble Road Memorial was rewarded with a detailed storyboard and the actual nine gravestones discovered in August 2017 in the outcroppings of the cliff we stood on. The name of the memorial says it all…

… the bare trees and exposed location further punctuate the difficulties local families had to endure to carve out a living not so long ago. One cannot help but conjure up images and people’s stories that touch the heart and invite a moment of contemplative reflection.

We continued on the road toward Menudie, a small community my husband’s family can trace its ancestors from Ireland to. We plan to visit the School House Museum once life returns to a more regular model, the way it used to be…

Tuesday Blessings, Anna

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Road Trip!

Christmas morning I found a surprise under the tree! I had expressed interest in “Geology of Nova Scotia” once or twice during the year… and imagine my surprise when I unwrapped my very own copy. I love the layout of the book with its 48 scenic sites clearly defined, each one with a short write-up about the specific site, its natural history and geological significance as well as the mention and images of related sites elsewhere in the province. Perusing the book on Christmas Day awakened the urge to go exploring.

We woke up to glorious weather on Boxing Day and the suggestion to go for a drive and take full advantage of azure skies and the absence of wind was quickly embraced. We had not been back to Joggins, or The Joggins as the locals call it, since November 2020. In 2020 we took the road from Advocate via Apple River, this year we decided to travel the shorter route from Parrsboro toward Amherst where we turned toward River Hebert in Southampton. This route is much shorter and the roads are less pitted with fewer potholes.

Last year the Fossil Centre was closed due to the pandemic, this year the centre was closed because of the winter season. Not much remains open once tourist season is over. I love the interpretive centre with its clean lines and shadows its casts with the sun just at the right angle. We parked the car and navigated our way through the green space, past the meditation spiral toward the stairs.

On July 30th, 1842 the British geologist Charles Lyell in a letter to his sister wrote: “My dear Marianne, – We have just returned from an expedition of three days… I went to see a forest of fossil coal trees – the most wonderful phenomenon perhaps I have seen…” He was in the process of concluding a year-long journey touring geological wonders navigating eastern North America from end to end and the Joggins Cliffs topped his list.

In quoting the authors M. Hickman Hild and S. M. Barr: “For more than 170 years the site has been one of the most closely studied in the world. The cliffs preserve an array of 63 successive, upright forests, rooted in coal or black shale and buried in layer upon layer of sandstone. Among the giant fossil plants are the tracks and remains of forest inhabitants, including the world’s oldest known reptiles. – The site has a unique ability to inspire visions of the Earth’s mysterious Coal Age, as seen in displays at the adjacent Joggins Fossil Centre. In 2008 the cliffs were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.”

We were only able to get as far as the viewing platform close to the beach. The steps are removed and safely stored out of the elements for winter. The fossil forests eluded us yesterday but we will be returning once winter moves on and geological sites, like Joggins, are more accessible. I captured a few images of the running water oozing from the cliffs to continually erode the red sandstone below… The wall of ice to the right of the viewing platform was equally impressive. Two pigeons appeared out of place as they were exploring the layered rocks nearby.

We spotted people on the distant beach but decided not to scramble down the steep and unstable cliff where they had parked their vehicles. We will wait for another chance to access the beach when the stairs are installed.

Hope this post has sparked your interest in The Joggins Fossil Cliffs. It’s a fascinating place to visit and explore. Wishing you all a good start to the week, one that sees the old year come to a close and welcome a new one. Best wishes, Anna

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Boxing Day Greetings…

…from sunny Parrsboro, NS where we are enjoying a balmy day of +2 C. Images are from my morning walk along the Inner Harbour at low tide. It was too beautiful not to capture the scenery and details.

Enjoy your day! Stay safe and embrace precious moments mindfully, Anna

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Merry Christmas from the Beach…

…just like I promised!

The sky was clear, the wind fierce which made for a blustery beach experience during the early afternoon yesterday, Christmas Eve. As soon as we opened the car door at Advocate Harbour Beach we heard the surf crashing onto the pebbles, and as we approached the access we realized that it might be too icy to walk very far.

Instead, I quickly changed plans and took full advantage of the moment to capture the scenery with the striking light reflecting off the water. I don’t think any words are necessary. The large, powerful waves crashing relentlessly on the shore would have kept me there indefinitely… if my hands didn’t get so cold!

I hope you enjoy the images as much as I loved creating them. Nothing feels better than some time at the beach or near the beach. The sound of crashing waves coupled with the sensation of the wind always drive the cobwebs from the mind!

On the way home, we veered off to check out Spencer’s Island Beach. It looked calm and like a different world. It’s hard to imagine that it’s only a ten-minute drive between Advocate Harbour and Spencer’s Island. But looks can be deceiving: as soon as I opened the door and stepped onto the beach I realize that it was much too cold to spend any time walking my usual stretch. So, I captured two quick images and jumped back into the car with a heavy heart. Can’t wait to venture out again… when it is a little warmer. It will be soon, I promise!

Enjoy your day, perhaps you are fortunate enough to spend time with family and/or friends. Or you have chosen to spend a quiet day by yourself… From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a Merry Christmas! All the best, Anna

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Christmas…

2021 is entering into its last week and all the hope and confidence that it would be easier to gather and celebrate this year have dissolved into thin air…

Covid numbers are rising steadily and in fact, have never been so high in Canada. I have made a resolution: We will forge ahead, continue to be cautious, commit to staying positive and spend as much time outdoors as the weather allows. It’s a gorgeous and sunny day here, in the Bay of Fundy… We are heading out to Advocate Harbour for an outdoor “killer eggnog” tasting (as described by the hostess) and a walk on the beach.

The Christmas tree is up, gifts are wrapped, cookie packages were delivered to the neighbours along our street a little while ago and I have time to spare. A walk at the beach is the perfect way to slow down and shift gears.

May your holiday season be filled with warmth, love, family time and much joy. Merry Christmas to all and thank you for following my Fundy Contemplations Blog.

Best wishes, Anna

Click here or here for some beautiful seasonal music! Enjoy.

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Morning Walk Impressions

I haven’t made much effort to go for extended walks lately, the beaches keep calling… These days I am staying closer to home and my daily morning walk with the pups offers amazing views and light shows.

From the time I close the back door and cross the deck to the views across the Parrsboro Aboiteau, I stop often to take in the views, breathing deeply and even capture the odd image when the sun pushes through the clouds just so.

The wind was strong and quite chilly this morning which made my pace brisk. After yesterday’s freezing rain I am grateful for a clear road without icy patches. The absence of snow doesn’t provide much of a backdrop for Christmas but it does not bother me. Where did the month go, never mind: Where did the year go?

These are a time for reflection, a time to take stock and the results are in. Despite pandemic ups and downs, the tightening of regulations once more and cancellations of get-togethers to keep everyone safe it has been a great year filled with wonderful vistas, amazing photo opportunities, the forging and deepening of friendships and daily blessings.

Best wishes and one more burst of energy to all as we close in on Christmas and keep busy with completing last-minute tasks. All the best, Anna

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Great Village…

…a great village to explore, especially if you are into antiques and collectibles. Perhaps you are a regular viewer of CBC’s Land & Sea and caught this episode that first aired on November 21st? Perhaps you watched it but didn’t really know where this grouping of antique stores can be found. Wonder no more: Great Village is only a 45-minute drive from Parrsboro and we have stopped into the old general store nearly every time we head to Truro or Masstown Market.

Last year, only days after we signed on the dotted line to finalize our home purchase, we stopped in and found an old sewing cabinet. By adding wheels and a stainless steel top we have the best kitchen island we could have ever imagined! The narrow profile fits the small kitchen perfectly. Thus started our love affair with Great Village Antiques…

We stopped into Great Village Antiques last Monday, one last time before they close on Christmas Eve till sometime in April. We were not disappointed: It wasn’t crowded, the individual dealer areas were a little bare, so we didn’t get too overwhelmed. Best of all, almost everything was on sale. I found a Blueberry Cookbook I have been eyeing for some time, a Christmas songbook with sheet music, an elephant salt and pepper shaker and the treasures above. The antique basket is waiting for a gentle rub down with a damp cloth. Otherwise, it is in very good condition. The muffin tin (a super bargain at $ 8) will join the cake tinklGFBFP;[

A few weeks ago we found the perfect coffee table, an elegant piano bench that is the correct size for our smallish living room. We have been quite successful in completing our furniture line-up for our home thanks to Great Village Antiques. Colin has found a few antique weaving shuttles and perns along the way that are adding to his weaving tools in his studio.

Hope you enjoyed this little introduction to our favourite antiques haunt… One never knows what we come across next. These cups drew me in a couple of months ago. They are by no means antique but I struck a great bargain! They were $ 15 for both and when I did some research online I could not find them for less than US $ 35 each plus shipping…

We wish the owner Cees and his staff some relaxing downtime over the next few months. We can’t wait for the 2022 season! Best wishes to all, Anna

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Soley Cove

Soley Cove is located in Lover Economy, Nova Scotia and about a 20-minute drive from home. We regularly pass the access road but most times the tide is out or we are in a big hurry to get somewhere.

Yesterday afternoon, on our way home from Masstown Market, the tide was in and the weather was perfect for a quick side trip to check out my favourite sea stack on this side of the Bay of Fundy.

Enjoy my quick roadside photos of my favourite vista along the Minas Basin. Happy Tuesday. May the sun shine on your endeavours today to illuminate the way. Best wishes, Anna

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Just before Sunset…

…the beach at Diligent River never disappoints.

The light was magical with and the Minas Basin calm, a perfect setting for a small pre-Christmas get-together with friends.

Happy Sundaay, everyone. Best wishes, Anna

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Chocolate Waves…

Last year, a friend was surprised about how “dirty” the waves looked on a blustery day. It is perfectly normal for these waves to appear dirty. When one thinks about it: the wind drives the waves and these waves, as they roll to shore, pick up sediment and sand. The waves at the Bay of Fundy are often tinted pink from the sandstone deposits at the bottom of the sea that erodes a little more with each wave.

Happy Saturday! Stay safe and enjoy some outdoor time, Anna

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After the Snow…

…followed by rain yesterday afternoon this morning’s sunrise was once again overwhelmingly beautiful. The changes took place within a few seconds and I count myself fortunate to have been outside walking the dogs to witness the golden glow.

As I stepped close to the edge of the Aboiteau the maple leaves close to my feet caught my attention with the golden sunrise filtering and intensifying their colour. It was one of these exhale moments where all one can say is “Ahhhhhh”.

Wishing everyone a beautiful day. Filled with sunshine and hope, Anna

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Putting Parrsboro, NS on the Map…

A couple months ago I visited the newest B&B in Parrsboro and I fell in love with this from the gound-up renovated and well-appointed inn. Here is a link to the previous post showcasing each room and elaborating on individual highlights. At the time of my first visit Heidi, the owner with a vision, mentioned that she was looking forward to the Christmas season. I promised then that I would pop over and capture the Pleasant Street Inn in its best seasonal “light”.

I passed the Inn after sunset several times over the past couple of weeks and I could not help but slow down and take in the inviting outdoor light display, a preview of what would await inside…

The Inn is the only year-round Bed & Breakfast option in Parrsboro. Once you step through the door it’s hard to imagine why you waited so long to check in! The decor is warm, inviting and very soothing. The weight of outside stress literally lifts off one’s shoulders upon entry and you cannot help but get immediately drawn into the well-appointed kitchen to sink into the comfortable couch for a pre-dinner drink or afternoon coffee before taking the luggage upstairs to one of the dreamy rooms. It’s easy to imagine claiming a spot at the island and/or dining table for one of Heidi’s delicious customized breakfasts. Thoughtful seasonal touches add a touch of luxury to make a stay at the Pleasant Street Inn even more memorable.

The curved stairway leads to the well-appointed rooms upstairs. There are plans for additional, more accessible rooms to be built in the future. So don’t dismiss this Inn just yet!

There have been a few additions in the guestrooms since my last visit: Each room now boasts its own fireplace to add more comfort and coziness. Who can resist pulling up a chair next to the fire to curl up with a book, or lounge on the bed to watch a movie? And then there is always the view over the tidal river of the inner harbour.

Every turn one makes affords the discovery of previously unseen treasures. Heading down the stairs to the main floor provides a new angle to admire details of the decorations on a narrow ledge.

Are you ready to book your room but not sure what to do in Parrsboro this time of year? Don’t let winter keep you away. Parrsboro is located in the heart of the UNESCO designated Fundy GeoPark. The natural history of this area is fascinating. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world (up to 54′), countless beaches, each with its own special features to discover. The road between Parrsboro and Advocate is nicknamed “The Mini Cabot Trail”. You have to drive it to confirm the claim!

If you have a warm jacket make sure to pack it. The wind can be fierce but the beaches are definitely wide open and devoid of people! And what could be better than a warm Inn to return to for a hot shower or bath and cozying up to a fireplace in your room…

Hope you enjoyed today’s special feature of the Pleasant Street Inn ready to welcome guests over the holidays and year-round! Book your room soon and tell Heidi that Anna sent you.

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Winter Winds…

What an amazing sky we woke up to this morning. After a night of strong winds and some rain, the winter wonderland from two days ago has completely disappeared. But with a vivid sky like this which photographer and nature observer will protest too much?

Such clouds, ranging from pale to nearly charcoal grey with the sun pushing through enough to magically illuminate the edges. My camera was there, in my hand, ready to capture the struggle of elemental forces asserting themselves in the sky above.

Wishing everyone a warm Sunday. May you find time to rest up and enjoy a treat or two during this busy Advent season. Best wishes, Anna

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And this was yesterday…

…Ice was flowing on the Ferrels River at the bottom of our back yard. A rare sight indeed but mesmerizing non-the-less. I think it means that winter is here and even the Bay of Fundy gets some ice the odd day.

It has warmed up since yesterday and the ice has disappeared completely. The sky is overcast and the light flat. How fortunate was I to capture flowing ice yesterday morning? The light was magical and the frozen slush made the sound of crystal glasses touching when making a toast at a special dinner party.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. May you capture the magic in your heart, Anna

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A Perfect Spot…

I love to travel along the Bay of Fundy roads catching glimpses of the vast body of water. It is especially gratifying when the light is as special, just like in the slideshow above. It was about 4 pm and the sun was at the perfect angle where grasses and weeds were bathed in a golden glow highlighting their best attributes.

When the sun slips behind the trees and I am able to capture it peeking out between branches my heart skips a beat… These are the moments that make my day, they literally illuminate my week and cast everything into that special golden light.

Enjoy the images overlooking the Minas Basin from Two Islands just outside of Parrsboro. This look-off is one of my favourite stops. The views never disappoint, even when the weather is less glorious…

Best wishes for a grande day, Anna

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Layers and Texture…

Sunday presented us with some beautiful sunshine and during a short drive, we stopped to take in the view toward Blomidon across the Minas Basin. The reflection was mesmerizing and the way the sun illuminated the edges of the clouds was worth capturing in the image above.

We had stopped in a little clearing and I recalled the last time I had been there: the trees had intriguing lichens and their bark was peeling in layers that captured my attention. I tried to make images then but was unsuccessful. With the new iPhone camera, I was going to give it another try… and I think you will agree: the bark layers and textures are beautiful. I never have to go far or look hard, nature presents beautiful subjects that are ours to capture and to share.

Wishing you a sunny day. Happy Tuesday and best wishes, Anna

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Study of Contrasts

Saturday morning, December 4th… the sun brightly shining in a brilliant blue sky I was struck by the contrast presented by Mother Nature: There were still apples hanging on the tree across the street from where I was walking, two small maple leaves had emerged from the tip of a branch while at the same time brown maple leaves were frozen in time in an icy puddle. I cannot remember observing such occurrences in nature before. Is it climate change? Or is this normal for the microclimate we live in, here in Parrsboro? Thoughts to ponder and investigate further…

Happy Monday, everyone! May your week be filled with joy and quiet anticipation for the season, Anna

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Sunshine and Snow

Snow was gently falling while the sun was breaking through the clouds in the sky… a magical sight on this second Sunday of Advent.

May peace enter your heart and home as you light the second candle today. Best wishes, Anna

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Parrsboro’s Santa Parade 2021

I can’t imagine a more exciting way to get into the Christmas spirit than when a small town comes together and puts on a Santa Parade. Last night exceeded all our expectations! The floats just kept coming, all lit up, people waving, shouting “Merry Christmas” and handing out candy to children and the children at heart.

It was a feel-good event, one that was put on hold last year due to pandemic restrictions. The icy wind last night didn’t keep people away, Main Street was lined with family groups, friends who had met up, church groups distributing hot chocolate and cookies, carolers and excited children, all waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa who was riding on the very last float, waving and smiling at all.

Even our little Shih Tzus, all dressed up as Santa’s Helpers enjoyed the outing. Thanks to Parrsboro & District Board of Trade for organizing another great event on such short notice. And thanks to all the citizens involved in decorating the floats and donating their precious time to bring some seasonal joy to all!

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Fluffy Snow…

…is falling today! Discoveries galore: from little puppy footprints to maple leaves hiding under a white blanket to lichen growing in the trees, the gently falling snow dampens the everyday noises and hides decay fall has left behind.

My favourite discovery this morning was the lichen and moss and how they welcomed the snowflakes, transforming themselves into a fairy wonderland.

May your day be filled with quiet moments to observe and discover. Have a wonderful day, Anna

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Perseverance pays off…

I posted about my quest to find wave action several times already… Last Saturday afternoon I jumped in the car and drove the 4 km to Partridge Island Beach. Once I parked the vehicle I had trouble opening the door with the wind pushing against it. Ottawa House and Partridge Island Beaches are more sheltered, so when I didn’t see impressive waves I zipped up my coat, pulled the the hood over my head and set out toward East Beach by cutting across the saltmarsh.

This involved finding the rutted and pothole dotted road that I like to avoid with the car. The puddles were epic! But I was prepared. Wearing my rubber boots I had no problem navigating around the edges and even wading through some of the lower puddles. What fun!

The reward was some great waves looking toward Cape Split. I could have spent more time there, at the water’s edge, if it wasn’t for the relentless wind. At times it was so strong I was able to lean into it with my whole body weight and let go and I was kept upright. It’s an amazing feeling when that happens but this time of the year it is also quite cold. My hands were getting very stiff and I had trouble holding on to the camera.

There is always something to do and see at the beach and just as I turned around my eye caught a glimpse of the heart-shaped rock at my feet. The driftwood was calling me as well. I am always in awe when I imagine the force of the water required to push these heavy trees onto the beach where they stay until extreme high tides rearrange them.

I finished my walk along the quiet beach below Ottawa House and found enough interesting things to capture with the camera there. I call this an afternoon of lovely discoveries!

Happy Monday to all. May the start to your week be filled with serenity and peace. Best wishes, Anna

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The Beach

It has been a blustery morning today and when I set out to check out the wave action at First Beach across from the Parrsboro Lighthouse I quickly realized that it would be a while before the tide was in again.

The rain was mixed with ice pellets and my friend Laura and I only braved a short distance before we walked back to the car with the ice pellets massaging our cheeks. It was refreshing… and the beach was littered with some lovely kelp ribbons.

No matter how grey the day might be there are always colourful and unique treasures to be discovered on the beach! Heading out without preconceived ideas and specific expectations has proven to be the best way to live so close to the Bay of Fundy. I know and trust that Mother Nature never disappoints and always sends some interesting things my way!

Stay warm, everyone! Enjoy your Saturday, Anna

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First Snow…

There were several weather warnings in effect the day before yesterday. We had an unexpected trip to Halifax for medical reasons and decided to get a hotel in the city but not without concern about leaving our home back in Parrsboro. The predictions for wind damage and flooding were dire… but once again it turned out that our worries were not necessary. The weather made its way toward Antigonish and Cape Breton where damage was severe, unfortunately. My thoughts go to friends and acquaintances as they navigate their lives through the damages.

We arrived home last night finding our home a little chilly but no issues other than two Christmas decorations that had fallen to the ground. Relieved and tired we settled back into our routine.

We woke up to light snowfall and a special weather advisory for 2 – 5 cm. After 40 years of blizzards while living on the Canadian Prairies I feel completely relaxed as I watch the snowflakes accumulate outside our living room window. I snapped a few pictures during my morning walk with the pups. So peaceful! So relaxing and it is setting the mood for the Lighting of the Town on Friday. Looking forward to the event…

Enjoy your day! Stay warm and stay safe, everybody! Best wishes, Anna

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Discoveries

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

I make a point of walking every morning. It’s not just a time to myself, I walk our dogs and the route I choose is usually the same each day. Yesterday I veered off my regular path and was rewarded with new discoveries. I am grateful to the gardener who has not bowed to social pressure and the usual dates on the gardening calendar and cleaned up the flower beds for winter. These hosta leaves made me stop, examine their texture and stages of decay. They drew me in to capture them in their perfect imperfection. These images remind us that everything is fleeting. Life will not stay the same, nature will renew itself and die back again.

The Proust quote was perfect to put my experience into words. I had become too complacent walking the same streets. All it took to wake up was fifty steps beyond my usual turnaround point.

Parrsboro is a wonderful little town, community spirit soars and this time of year everyone is getting into the Christmas Spirit. This town still has a Santa Parade – even last year with Covid restrictions in place the parade was not cancelled. Santa mounted the fire truck and the mini-parade drove through each street, past each house and the positive energy spread sustained everyone for the season.

This year the parade is scheduled for December 3rd, on November 26th we have the Lighting of the Town celebration. Our choir will be bringing some Christmas cheer with traditional songs for everyone to join in. On December 4th Parrsboro Creative and the newly founded Fibre Guild are hosting a Christmas ornament make-and-take event. November 27 the annual highly anticipated craft sale takes place at the Legion and on December 4th another craft sale at the Fundy Geological Museum promises to add variety and opportunity to shop local. I haven’t even listed the concerts and plays at the Hall…

For such a small town the activities are countless. Can’t wait to experience them in person for the first time. Stay tuned for images along the way. Feeling blessed! Happy Monday, Anna

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Watching the Sky

“I looked a hundred times
And all I saw was dust.
The sun broke through
And flecks of gold
Filled the air.”
– author unknown

This poem came to mind while out for my morning walk. The sky was magical, seagulls and Canada geese drew my attention up and then across the Parrsboro Aboiteau. What light! So mysterious and perfect to set the stage for a reflective day.

Enjoy your Sunday. Stay warm and may your storm preparation be in vain if you live in Nova Scotia… Best wishes, Anna

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The Puddle

I could see the front door as I hurried past the frozen puddle this morning. Warmth was beckoning, the sunlight reflecting off the metal-clad chimney. I quickly reconsidered, turned around, away from the direction I was heading in while pulling the camera from my pocket.

The frosty patterns on the messy puddle were just too intriguing to ignore. Here I was, bending low, cars passing, heads turned, wondering what this crazy woman with two leashed ShihTzus might be doing, crouched low to the ground.

No, I didn’t drop anything! I was fully immersed in “filling the frame” with ordinary magic: There were leaves frozen into the ice, patterns resembling clouds and amazing lines I would never dream of putting on paper with a pen.

Beauty is all around us. It’s ours to discover every day. We just have to open our eyes and discover it. Happy Saturday! Best wishes, Anna

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Golden Hour at Second Beach

What happens when you haven’t been to the beach in days? The pull becomes too strong to ignore. The day before yesterday was the first day that provided me with a window of time to head to the beach.

The tide was out and the cloudy horizon line was illuminated by magical sunlight when we stepped onto Second Beach. It was one of those moments where you can’t help yourself but quietly exhale and pause for a moment.

We negotiated the rocky shore pausing every few steps to capture the light just once more.. several times.

The image above is my favourite image for this outing with the golden sun setting behind Partridge Island and reflecting in the shallow waters at Second Beach. I could not have planned this moment better if I tried!

We soon returned to the parked car where I captured the panorama below.

As I turned the car around we discovered that a nearly full moon was rising in the east. By the time I pulled into the driveway at home, the moon was shrouded in mist and had risen high enough to reflect in the Ferrells River in our backyard.

My contemplative outing was the perfect conclusion to a long and tiring day. I am grateful for the imagery that presented itself. All I had to do was seize the moment and go out for a short while, camera in hand.

Wishing you a great start to your Friday. Hope you enjoyed the images. Best wishes, Anna

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Patches of Light…

…as discovered during yesterday’s short stop at the Sugar Bush in Fenwick. The trees were devoid of leaves in sharp contrast to my last walk through this magical maple forest. But, as long as the sun shines there are wonderful discoveries to be made even during the latter part of November. I encourage you to click on each of the small images in the picture gallery above and observe and discover for yourself how the edges of dried up leaves can reflect their outline, and how a single spot of red shines like a beacon in the monochromatic mess of dried leaves covering the ground provides a spot for the eye to focus.

The puddles were frozen and a thick layer of ice kept the leaves suspended in time. I have always had an affinity for frozen puddles and the natural compositions they provide for deep contemplation.

It’s steadily raining here today, a true late fall day. The perfect time to just gaze at photos, hunker down in the studio and turn inward. Enjoy your day! Stay safe and warm wherever you are, Anna

A Quiet Sunday…

…and the absence of an internet connection has me posting later than usual today.

We are still clearing areas of snow drifts on our property and after a short drive through the community we are feeling rather grateful that we do not have toppled trees across our yard or no heat.

We are warm and we really enjoyed the sun and deep blue sky all day. I even went for a short walk on the beach. The image I am inserting at the top of my post today was shared on Facebook by a friend. Love the sentiment!

Stay tuned for more images from the Fundy Shore soon. I was unable to upload any images today as I am using data on my phone. Apologies and all the best for a relaxing Sunday, Anna