Filed under Iceland, Nature
We spent time in the Florida Keys with our friends Rudy and Sue in 2014. As I have watched the news about Hurricane Irma I’ve been thinking about that trip and wondering what has happened to the places we visited. My friend Sue and I toured Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West and saw the more than fifty cats that make their home there, direct descendants of a feline that was a gift to Hemingway from a Florida sea-captain. Apparently during the hurricane a group of dedicated employees stayed behind to protect the Hemingway house and the cats even though authorities ordered them to evacuate and Hemingway’s granddaughter urged them to evacuate as well.
One of the cats I photographed on our visit to Hemingway’s House.
I’ve discovered that luckily both the museum staff and the cats survived the hurricane and Hemingway’s house was not damaged. In Marathon Florida we went for a sail on a boat our friends Ed and Millie had worked on during an earlier visit to the Keys. I have read that at one point Marathon was completely underwater and many marinas in the area look like giant shipwrecks. I wonder how our boat the Geni Green and its Captain Jay fared? Another thing we did in the Keys was take a drive down Alligator Alley. We saw literally hundreds of alligators. News reports say that thousands of these alligators have been displaced from their natural habitat because of the hurricane and some are wandering the streets of Florida’s cities and towns.
Having visited the Florida Keys the news I’m seeing about the devastation there seems just a little more personal. The Florida Keys was a terrific tourist destination. Hopefully it will be able to rebound from this tragedy and become a beautiful place to visit once again.
A Spanish Birthing Chair , His Last Penny and Six Toed Cats
A Serendipitous Sail
Filed under Florida, Nature
Here is a fossil of a giant sea scorpion found in North American waters millions of years ago.
Here is indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau’s painting of the water panther god Misshipehu. It moved through the same waters as the ancient sea scorpion.
The two items are displayed near each other at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Can you see any resemblance?
Ojibwa in Paris
Art That Makes You Feel Sick
Filed under Art, Nature, Toronto
Every summer since I’ve been seven I’ve spent time at this lakeside cottage. Its been in our family for three generations. My brother and his family are the current owners and they work so hard to continually improve it. They keep it looking absolutely lovely! I am so appreciative of the way they are maintaining a piece of our family history and also how generous they are about sharing it with family members. They warmly welcomed me this last weekend when I drove out for a quick visit.
I have lived in twenty- one different homes since I was born, but the cottage has been a constant in my life. Spending a day there always calms my spirit and rests my mind. Sitting around a dancing fire under a black sky brilliant with stars, long chats with family members, reading a good book in a comfortable sunny spot, eating a perfectly barbecued steak at the picnic table, having my morning coffee looking out over the glassy water, hearing a loon call, seeing a doe and her fawn on the road, dipping into the lake for a refreshing swim, watching hummingbirds, going for a boat ride and being disconnected from my cell phone and the internet. It’s the best kind of therapy.
Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore
A Moment to Remember
Filed under Family, Nature
We were invited to the new home of friends who recently moved to the St. James area of the city. The only bus I could take arrived a good forty minutes before our dinner date time. Walking towards our friends’ home from the bus stop I came upon a lovely little park I didn’t even know existed. As I wandered into Benjaminson Park I came upon a sign that explained the park had been named after Skuli Benjaminson (1879-1970) a pioneer who had owned one of the first homes in the area. He helped chop down trees so Portage Avenue could be built and was instrumental in bringing power lines into the area. He was the only owner of a car and telephone in the neighborhood’s early days and he generously provided communication and transportation services to his neighbors.
Benjaminson Park is lovely. There’s a bench under a tree which is the perfect place to read. You have a lovely view of the river. I sat reading my book for a good half hour enjoying the beautiful purple flowers around me, the birds swooping down to the river and the leafy greenery. I was almost sorry to leave but a fabulous meal with great friends awaited me.
Winnipeg is full of little parks like the Benjaminson. It would be neat someday to do a pilgrimage and try to visit them all.
The Grand Canyon For Free
Exploring Gros Morne National Park
Walking in A Haunted Forest
Filed under Nature, Winnipeg
Hug a tree. A friend told me about a doctor who prescribed ‘hugging trees’ as a way to treat mental illness and anxiety. His patients really did feel better after going on walks and literally hugging trees. In a recent article in The Atlantic called How to Harness Nature’s Healing Power Florence Williams the author of a new book called The Nature Fix says there is a growing body of scientific research to show just how good spending time in nature is for your brain and your body. It comes at a time however when people are spending less and less time outside.
My sister and I having a tea party outside at our grandparents house
According to Williams children of my generation spent 70% of our play time outdoors. Now most children spend 70% of their play time indoors and most adults spend 87% of their waking hours indoors. Williams urges everyone to get outside into nature as often as we can. An article in Business Insider gives scientific reasons why this is so important.
Enjoying nature in Akaka Falls State Park Hawaii
Research shows being out in nature sharpens your short-term memory, improves your vision, reduces stress and restores mental energy. It can help you think more creatively.
Hiking in Arizona
Spending time in nature will make you live longer, boost your immune system, reduce your chance of getting cancer and improve your mental health and powers of concentration.
Wilderness hiking with my Hong Kong students
Many cities are realizing the importance of people spending time in nature and are being deliberate about creating and maintaining green spaces in urban environments. This is necessary because otherwise spending time in nature will only be available to people wealthy enough to leave the cities in which they live and get out into nature. One of the things that really surprised us when we lived in Hong Kong was how much government protected green space there was for people to enjoy.
Prairie grasses in the park at the end of my street
I live in the heart of downtown Winnipeg but there is a beautiful park right at the end of my street which runs along the river. I have no excuse not to go outside and go often!
The Blueberries Slowed Him Down
Flowers of Costa Rica