Sunday, July 7, 2013

Meandering holiday celebrations

Another weekend.  Another chance to relax and recollect.  

Another chance to satisfy a writing obsession. 

This past Canada Day was a quiet, creative one for me and my family. That seems to be the way I like my holidays lately.  

We spent most of the late morning and early afternoon indulging on a tasty brunch fare while watching the downtown Ottawa celebrations on CBC Television.   

Later that afternoon, my daughter convinced me to go to Dow's Lake, to see if there was a carnival a-happening.  It turned out that the city buses were few and far in-between.  We gave up waiting at the bus stop and began walking.  To avoid the noisy traffic, we detoured through the Experimental Farm.  

It was much quieter and cooler.  We walked and talked.  We got caught up on what was new or interesting in each other's lives.  We greeted and smiled at other people walking or cycling past us.  We even saw and smelled some huge, fly-swatting cows.

I had my camera with me so of course I took some photographs.  Below are the ones that were most picturesque or relevant to this meandering blog post. 

We came upon a field of colourful wild flowers and plants.

Something caught my eye.  We went in for closer scrutiny. 

As we zoomed in on the little darling, a gentleman cyclist stopped to watch us and inquired what we were looking at.  

"Shhh," I responded, "We've spotted a ladybug." (I don't think it would have mattered to the ladybug whether I was whispering or not.)

His reaction was one of amazement, in that we could see a small insect so many feet from the walking path.  

I was thinking about my fondness for such a helpful, cute and insignificant creature.  I thought about another ladybug encounter on a hot summer day in 1969.  

The gentleman continued chatting and successfully lured me into a debate about varieties of milkweed.  

During our tedious conversation, my argument was that I recalled milkweed plants looking much different, as known from living beside patches of them during my childhood.  My recollection was of the green pods of puff on plants where the Monarch butterflies lived.

Mr. Chattypants ended his contribution with a promise that upon his return home, he would check his plant manuals to confirm.  We pleasantly agreed that we would see in a month or two if these were milkweed plants and if pods of fluff would soon appear. 

(With a bit of research online, I have determined that this was indeed some kind of milkweed.  I still want to go back in a month's time to confirm pods of fluff!) 

Moving along the path, my daughter and I continued to the Rideau Canal.  Everything seemed to be enveloped by a dreamy haze.  We would later learn that this was due to smoke wafting into the valley from forest fires in Quebec.

We came upon a lovely willow-like tree.  It provided a convenient canopy, an awning of sorts to protect one from the hot sun or drizzly rain.  

The next tree that caught my attention was a tall one with a large knot hole about 15 feet up the trunk.  It seemed like an oh-oh-shaped mouth or the eye of Sauron.  Silly me.  It couldn't be the eye of Sauron since it was on a tree.  Perhaps the eye of Treebeard? 

(Even after scouring pages of my copy of "For the Love of Trees - a Guide to the Trees of Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm Arboretum", I cannot identify this fella. I'll have to go back and look for signage.)

As we rounded one of the shady curves of the pathway, we came upon a duck family.  Mother was keeping watch while her fuzzy offspring napped on a rock just a few feet from shore of the Rideau Canal.

It was difficult to determine if there were two or three of the fuzzy little ducklings.

It was a beautiful scene of peaceful fauna, of birth, parental love and growth. 

By this time, my daughter was becoming impatient with my distractions.  

Next we came upon another flora scene: one of growth, decay and rebirth.  

A few more yards ahead, I noticed something odd. 

It was a tree whose trunk almost looked like its roots were showing. 

I am intrigued by this structure and am assuming it is intentionally designed that way.  

We were getting closer to Dow's Lake.  Things were still quiet.  There was no audible or visual evidence of a carnival.

I captured a delicate looking water flower in the stillness of the lake shore.

Oh, good grief.  I still cannot identify this plant.  I'm assuming it's some kind of water lily?

As we strolled closer to the Pavilion area, we were greeted by a small wooden throne and trees lounging near the shoreline.

I think one of these is about to become a new, favourite tree.

I was not disappointed that there was no carnival.  We saw a  few people strolling about the grounds and a crowd enjoying the outdoor restaurant patios on the upper pavilion.  I accepted my daughter's invitation, her treat to dinner inside of one of the eateries overlooking the water.  

While dining, we observed black-winged Loons flying by,  landing, diving and disappearing.  I didn't have the energy or time to pull out the camera for that nor to capture a large Heron suddenly taking off from God knows where below us.  It was an entertaining and delicious dinner in the company of my daughter.   

Although we could have used the exercise, we did not attempt to walk back home after dinner.  I gladly paid for a taxi.

The remainder of the evening was spent celebrating Canada's 146th birthday from the comfort and quiet of le petit apartement.  That was until we heard the sounds of firecrackers and fireworks within our neighbourhood and in the hazy distance.  

I'm not a fan of fireworks and loud, explosive sounds.

I suppose I could put up with the celebratory noise of expensive, colourful explosions once a year.  It's a small price to pay for living in a clean, safe city and a stable, democratic country.   

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Thanks for dropping by - and reading this far.  I am flattered.  I hope you enjoyed the photographs.  Did you find this blog entry funny, interesting or inspiring? (See the reaction check boxes below).  You can also subscribe to / follow this blog via email notification.  See the little sign-up box on the right hand side of this page. 

If you can identify some of the trees and flowers, please submit a comment.  Thanks! 

If you enjoy my writing style, you may enjoy The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness.  It contains mention of milkweeds and trees.  The main characters are a Catholic priest, a little girl and a retired exotic dancer.


1 comment:

  1. I am impressed with the story of adventure and discovery. The Common Milkweed produces large showy umbels, each flower has large, brightly coloured petals. The stamen tube has a hooded crown where the butterflies and bees find the nectar. The Dill is an aromatic umbellifer, producing seeds that are used to flavour food. Wildflowers, wildlife and wildwomen :) make life interesting indeed. aloha