Sunny hike to Freshwater

We set out early for Bay Bulls and walked from there to Freshwater along the East Coast Trail and back. The last time I walked that segment, David and I did the last part in the dark, having miscalculated how long it would take us from the Spout. We had small headlights but still crept along very slowly to Bay Bulls as we couldn’t easily tell when we were on the edge of a cliff. Let’s just say it was a bonding experience. This time Camille, Alison and I did it in brilliant sunshine and I finally got to see the stunning scenery I had missed the last time.

We set out in brilliant sunshine…
My hiking companions: Alison…
and Camille.
Tuckamore, which I think of as natural bonsai: trees that would be tall but are dwarfed and sculpted by the wind and the sea.
And a ghostly root of another tuckamore.
After lunch the fog started to roll in.
The sky changed from turquoise to opal.
And then to shades of grey at the Bay Bulls Lighthouse, which is where we realized last time that we were not going to make it out by nightfall.
There was a great big sea, or as the midwife in A Midwife’s Tale put it, “a great sea a-going.”
And a snotty var at the end of the trail.

Two moons, a star and ships’ horns

Here in St. John’s, two things they’re doing to keep peoples’ spirits up are relighting the Christmas star on Cabot Tower for the duration of the quarantine and playing a harbour symphony (ships’ horns) every Friday evening in honour of all the essential workers. The huge full moon last night also helped raise my spirits and when I downloaded it from my camera, I found another photo from a month or two ago of an almost full moon. It’s the only one I’ve ever taken with my small camera that shows the moon’s craters in something like 3D so I’ve added that photo here too, even though it’s not as recent.

Harbour symphony in honour of essential workers from Elizabeth Yeoman on Vimeo.

The star on Signal Hill, usually lit during the Christmas season but now re-lit until the end of the current crisis.
Last month’s moon, nearly full, showing craters along the lower edge
This month’s full moon.

Two ways to pass the time under quarantine

I made this little hat. It took a week, though not full time, and I posted my progress on Instagram every evening. Peoples’ “likes” and comments were very encouraging, and now I’ll send it off for my little grandson.
Yesterday I went for a walk up Signal Hill and saw this (look carefully at the upper left quadrant to see what I saw). Some people find more adventurous ways than I did of passing the time under lockdown.

Walking Under Quarantine: Shadows

We are lucky to live in a place where we can still go out even while under quarantine. I heard from somebody in China that they have to stay in because of the density of the population. Meanwhile, the weather here has been great for outdoor activities and we have lots of space for social distancing. I joined a group started by Boston artist Heather Kapplow, in which we get an emailed walking prompt once a week and can share with others after doing it. Here’s this week’s prompt:

Sometime within the next 7 days, take a 30-40 minute walk where your focus is the shadows in your environment. Look at them much closer than usual—contemplate them as if they were separate things from whatever is casting them. Get close enough to experience their temperature difference from non-shadows. Spend a lot of time with one shadow, or a little bit of time with a lot of shadows. Capture something about one or all of them for us and post here after your walk: photos of their strangeness, words about how they made you feel, sound or video that synchs up nicely with them, sketches of them or impressions of them made in some other way. Anything that makes sense to you as a response to a full 30-40 minutes of focusing entirely on shadows.

I modified it by doing it every day and sometimes skiing instead of walking since we still have too much snow to walk without skis or snowshoes. Here are some of the photos I took with my iPhone, all mid or late afternoon but, of course, different light and shadows on different days.

Day 1, Sunday: The first day was cloudy so I thought there wouldn’t be any shadows but there were. The snow revealed them.
Day 2, Monday: Another skier passed by as I was snapping the photo. We kept our distance but greeted each other and she connected with my shadow.
Day 3, Tuesday: Snowshoe tracks, their outlines etched in shadow and sunshine.
Day 4, Wednesday: A bracing day of wind and rain but the sun came out late in the afternoon, creating shadows in half melted tracks..
Day 5, Thursday: After the rain it froze again, a thin layer of ice coating the street. Most of it disappeared in the morning sunshine but in the shadows it melted more slowly from underneath, globules of water squeezing their way down the hill.
Day 6, Friday: It was another cloudy day and I was thinking I could still photograph the shadows on the ice. Only when posting at the end of the day did it occur to me that they aren’t shadows, they’re reflections!
Day 7, Saturday: shortcut through the trees

Wordless Wednesday #194

When I get to 200 I might stop calling it Wordless Wednesday since we are no longer wordless but here’s my photo for today, or actually yesterday morning, taken while skiing. Our campus is shockingly lacking in green (or white!) spaces but it is on the edge of the boreal forest so it’s very easy to go skiing or hiking when you have a break. Today it’s pouring with rain though so, another day..

Tuesday, March 3

Some good things happening during the state of emergency…

Local writer Elling Lien asked this question on social media after the blizzard: “What are some good things happening during this state of emergency that you’d like to see continue?” He got dozens (maybe hundreds) of wonderful answers, many of which focussed on the joy of being able to walk (snowshoe, ski, snowboard, slide) freely around the city and the sense of connection and community that engendered. There was a bit of controversy about whether or not the bonfires in the streets were a good idea but other than that a lot of agreement about everything else. One thread is here if you’d like to have a look, and it has a link to another longer thread in the Snowmaggeden 2020 Information Centre Facebook group (which is itself worth a look, though more of a mixed bag, but lots of heartwarming stories). Anyway, I didn’t have much that was original to add since I came upon the threads when they already had many responses but this morning I did think of something that nobody else had mentioned: In normal times, if you want to avoid the traffic on Military Rd. you can walk across Bannerman Park and Government House grounds but you have to take an annoying detour down to Military Rd. and back up between the two because of a high fence. However, in the current state of emergency, you can snowshoe right across that pesky fence!