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Wednesday 2 January 2008

Good Intentions

This is my first posting of 2008. Time, the years, my life - it is all really flying by! Is that why at this time of year we always find it necessary to make resolutions? Normally, I don't resolve to do anything specific. Of course throughout the year I always have a running to-do list that includes things like: loose weight; exercise; clean the basement; and the other usual things that some people would call resolutions. This year I'm thinking not about resolve, but good intentions. So here are my good intentions for the year: I intend to get out more into the rural areas of Ontario, to get to know our province better by taking hikes through its rugged vistas like this one along the Chikanishing Trail in Killarney Provincial Park: But I also intend to be in a canoe more often, to jump in and give my arms a good work out not only by going for short paddles in Lake Ontario and any other navigable body of water that might be nearby, but also to go on overnight canoe trips into the interior of Ontario's many organized parks and wilderness areas. The image to the right shows me paddling on the Montreal River - an access point into Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park northwest of Temagami. Algonquin is another favourite place of ours for canoe-in camping. The north side is not as busy as the south. I would like to get back to this wonderful campsite (below) on Lake Manitou (accessed at Kiosk near North Bay, Ontario). There we had pitched our tent on a hill with a view facing east right up the lake. In the morning I could lay in bed and watch the sun come up over the flat, mist-covered water beyond my feet. It is highly unusual for us to be in bed while the sun is rising. We normally are up long before first light to be ready to shoot at some previously scouted location. But on this trip on Lake Manitou we decided we would take a bit of a rest - almost a holiday. Ron let me lay in bed but he couldn't resist the mirror-like flatness of the lake. He got up and photographed himself paddling off into the mist (below). So this year I intend not only to canoe more, but to watch the sun rise over a lake and from bed more often. But besides getting into our canoe often, I intend to also use my kayak more but drive less. Driving less means we will spend more time in Ontario and won't be doing anything as dangerous as launching our kayaks near icebergs like this one stuck in the harbour at La Scie in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Yes that is me and my kayak in that image. Ron is photographing me from his kayak. He likes to tell the history of this picture, how it is only my 4th time in a kayak and there I am in the North Atlantic near a BIG iceberg. We even had to paddle through small ice flows, pack ice or bergy bits to get this shot. You'll notice that we were lucky and the water was relatively flat for the ocean - probably as flat as it ever gets. He makes me sound brave. However we both know better. It was not a very safe or smart thing to do - especially when you consider at the time that I didn't know how to recover from a wet exit and get back into my kayak. I eventually did practice that manoeuvre in a warm lake in water over my head but very close to shore. It's harder than it sounds to right your boat, haul yourself out of the water and back into a very easily tipped kayak. I eventually managed but we both know that had I tipped on that day by that iceberg that I would have succumbed to the bone numbing cold water in much less time than it would have taken to right the kayak and climb back in. So this year I am not only going to continue to practice recovering from wet exits but I intend to learn how to stay in the kayak and roll myself upright. It's a long 17-foot sea kayak but I'm told rolling is possible - hopefully I won't drown trying to find out! Other good intentions: to get to know more interesting people like Margery above, and have fun by visiting more frequently with friends and family like these two below hamming it up for the camera: I also intend to finally sign up (and actually attend) a class where I hope to learn how to use Ron's nature images such as this one below of a Long-tailed Duck and turn it into my own stained glass art, perhaps a window something like this: Also since we intend to drive less we will be home more. So I intend to enjoy our house and yard more. To that end I intend to turn our weedy yard into a native wildflower garden that will attract birds such as this yellow warbler (left) or this monarch butterfly (below right). Not only will we enjoy seeing more birds and butterflies in our yard but it means Ron can photograph them right here, without going anywhere. That should help with the good intent of driving less too. The intent to canoe and kayak more should also help with those old to-do list items of loosing weight and getting more exercise. So keep watching this blog over the next year and I'll let you know how it is going and whether I've managed to turn my good intentions into actions.

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Blogger Beck said...

Those are wonderful resolutions!
Of course, one of mine for this year is to avoid going into our creeeepy creeeeepy cellar for another 365 days.....
Stained glass? That would be wonderful!

2 January 2008 at 18:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading about all your good intentions. They all sound really great and I look forward to reading them unfold throughout the year. Ron's photos are beautiful, as usual. And by the way, I think you were very brave!!

3 January 2008 at 10:06  

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