Saturday, December 31, 2011

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

I hope all of you have had a peace-full Christmas, and you were able to make some happy memories with those close to you. I'm glad to say that I have been so blessed. I also had the pleasure of once again experiencing the beauty that winter bestows on the creation, on solitary walks and walks shared with loved ones. I hope to share some of this over the next few weeks.

The old year is quickly sliding away, a new year is just around the corner. I want to wish each of you who have come here to visit throughout this past year or perhaps just starting recently, a wonderful new year. I'd also like to leave this Irish blessing, a favourite of mine, with you:

May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rains fall soft upon your fields;
and until we meet again,
may you be held in the warmth of God's hand.

You might note the 'early' hour of this post - that's due to the length of time it took this evening to download Windows updates and then to load this blog post. If all goes well I expect to have access to a very fast internet connection within 2 weeks, at which time we shall 'meet again' in blogland. I thank you all for your visits and kind comments.

(10-22mm  f14  1/100 sec  ISO200)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

All is calm, All is bright ...

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, All is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy Infant so Tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Saviour is born!
Christ the Saviour is born!

Silent night, holy night!
Wondrous star, lend thy light!
With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King!
Christ the Saviour is here,
Jesus the Saviour is here!

Silent night, Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord at thy birth;
Jesus Lord at thy birth.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

♫ Happy trails to you ...

As you're reading this, we hope to be well on our way 'up north', having left the balmy south early yesterday morning in order to spend Christmas with family. We've traded shorts and sandals for boots and warm winter woollies. Tonight, if all goes well, we'll be sitting around the crackling wood stove. That will be a stark contrast to the scenes we savoured so recently.

Note: not only are we leaving the wonderful warm weather behind but we're also leaving the urban high-speed internet connection behind. For the next several weeks I will have to make do with a connection that is 400 times slower. I will likely have to restrict myself to doing the bare minimum online i.e. paying bills. I'm doubtful that I'll be able to post, let alone visit anyone's blog during this time.

If that's the case, then I want to wish each and every one of you a Blessed Christmas, and peace and joy in 2012.

Till we meet again ...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Square peg meets round hole

Our sense of the familiar has been challenged as we try to 'get into the Christmas spirit'. This is the second year that we are spending the weeks leading up to Christmas in the balmy south. For all of those previous years we had grown accustomed to the weather turning cold and blustery, and we literally meant it when we hummed along with "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas". In our experience, there's something incongruous about standing on a street dressed in shorts and sandals in mid-December looking at palm trees adorned with bright Christmas lights.

Good thing that the joyous message of Christmas - the birth of the Saviour of the world - remains the same without regard to geography or weather.

"May all your Christmases be bright."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All earth to Him her homage brings

1 The ends of all the earth shall hear
And turn unto the Lord in fear;
All kindreds of the earth shall own
And worship Him as God alone.

All earth to Him her homage brings,
The Lord of lords, the King of kings.

2 For His the kingdom, His of right,
He rules the nations by his might;
All earth to Him her homage brings
The Lord of lords, the King of kings. [Refrain]

3 Both rich and poor both bond and free,
Shall worship Him with bended knee,
And children's children shall proclaim
The glorious honor of His Name. [Refrain]

Composer: William H. Doane, 1834-1915

Friday, December 9, 2011

What's in a name

Thanks to the ABC principle that was burned into my subconscious whilst completing a 365 photo project last year, I was prepared when I happened upon this anhinga striking a familiar pose - for anhingas, that is. Since water does not run off their backs, like a duck's, anhingas must dry their feathers after diving for fish and frogs if they want to take to the air again.

Now anhingas are also known as snakebirds since most of their body is underwater as they swim on the surface with only their long neck and beak showing. I've seen them swimming like that, and the name is an apt one. But apparently they're also known as water turkeys, and to be honest, I just can't make the connection. No one here mentioned them during the recent Thanksgiving celebration.

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/80 sec  ISO200)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Postcards from the past

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.  (Doug Larson)

Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory. (Franklin Pierce Adams)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

(Belated) Phriday Phun

Well, the phun was all had on Phriday - it's just that I didn't get phinished with the photos until past midnight (EST) - although it's still Phriday to the west of us. (Scott started the Phun Phriday posting - you may want to check him out).

We visited Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda this afternoon. While my wife browsed through the many shops there, Sasha and I dragged ourselves away and scouted the surroundings for some photo ops.

You wouldn't think that a place that bills itself as 'Fishermen's Village' would post signs like the one in this photo, would you ? Perhaps that's false advertising aka 'bait and switch'. I mean, what's a fisherman to do ?

Now being from up north I happen to know that Santa gets around via sleigh, but I've wondered how he does that in Florida where snow is as rare as a politician (anywhere) that can balance a budget. I discovered his secret and I'll share it with you here. Shhh - don't tell the kids.

Well, after all that time wandering around in the sun, I couldn't tell if my eyes or my camera were playing tricks on me in this last shot.

I hope your Phriday was phun too.