A History Lesson




New Westminster back in the late 1700’s

I must admit sometimes I tend to get my head stuck in the clouds.  Lofty ideals and wishful thinking fill this head of mine and at times the translation of what’s in there can come out rather garbled.

I was thinking about the phrase ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”   It seems like a rather strange statement, doesn’t it?  Then again intentions can go south and sideways fast I suppose.

I’ve been refocusing my intentions and shifting them back to a level that is reasonable.  I guess you could say I’m removing the rose coloured glasses for the time being, and you now what?  The cold light of day can be pretty damn beautiful.  I guess it just depends upon your perspective and your state of mind.

This summer has found me ensconced in my orange room tapping out the final edit for the book and taking photos whenever I could.  I’ve at times been a little reflective as I pick up the pieces of this body and soul of mine in the aftermath of the cancer and subsequent treatment.

Lately I’ve been feeling like a lump on legs, but hey, I know the road back to good health will be tough but worth the work.  Last Saturday I hiked up Quarry Rock in Deep Cove over in North Vancouver.  Tough for sure, but man, you should have seen the view!

On Sunday the new civic centre in New Westminster had its grand opening.  It is known as the Anvil Centre and I must say, it is a great looking structure.  It houses a theatre, museum, archives, art gallery and much more.

The City of New Westminster is not a very large in terms of area.  The main road in the downtown core is known as Columbia Street.  It stretches about eight or nine blocks, then it turns into a busy cause way that will take you over to the Sapperton side of New West on one end and over to the Queensborough side on the other.

In any case they closed the downtown core of Columbia Street down on Sunday to celebrate the grand opening.  The one thing I’ve come to love about living here is that this little city celebrates a lot!

I grabbed my camera and headed out into a cloudless late summer afternoon to enjoy the festivities.  I took my time wandering down the street taking in the sights before heading into the building.  I’m sure half of the population of New West was in attendance.


It’s truly a beautiful space.  On the third floor I got in line for the museum then made my way in.  Several volunteers came up and offered information freely.  I could use my camera, just not the flash.


There was a strong aboriginal presence in the artifacts that have been preserved, as there should be.  I walked about taking the odd photograph and reading a few things.  Then I came to the midway point in the gallery.  I was quite impressed with what greeted me.  It was a scale model of the Patullo Bridge.

One of the volunteers came up and noted how impressive it was.  I concurred completely.  It is a magnificent structure.  He then told me the story of it.


The model was built during the great depression by a young boy.  It took him approximately two years to build it.

His model won a competition at the PNE, which is our annual fair in Vancouver.  The boy was later awarded a scholarship and went on to be a life long learner.

And guess what?  That boy is still alive at 90 years of age he was at the Anvil Centre able to witness his creation being restored and being placed permanently on display.

Below is a new story from a local paper.  The article was written a few months before the opening.

What is remarkable about this story is simply the chain of events that occurred after he built this scale model and how it impacted his entire life.

I love stories like this.  And can you imagine winning a pair of shoes for your first model of an antenna?

It was a very different time and this man has witnessed all of it.  Enjoy!


Jack Lubzinski peers through the superstructure of the scale model of the Pattullo Bridge he built when he was 13 years old. Now 90, he’s supervising the restoration of the model for permanent display at the new Anvil Centre.


There’s not a lot of love for the Pattullo Bridge these days.

But the venerable old crossing over the Fraser River that links New Westminster to Surrey helped put Jack Lubzinski through school, kept him out of the war and launched a lifelong interest in math and physics.

The Pattullo still had that new-bridge sheen when Lubzinski was first captivated by it. The Richmond schoolboy had just completed a scale model reproduction of a huge transmission antenna that had won him a pair of new shoes in a contest when one of his teachers challenged him that the antenna would be as monumental a project as he’d ever be able to achieve.

Lubzinski took the words to heart and spent the next 18 months designing and constructing a scale model of the Pattullo that would stretch more than seven metres long by the time he was done.

Now 90 years old, Lubzinski was a doting observer and sometime supervisor Wednesday as the giant model’s six sections were carefully moved from the basement of the New Westminster Museum and Archives where it had been gathering dust for decades. The grey wooden model will be restored and reassembled by conservator Shabnam Honarbakhsh with the help of funding from the Rotary Club of New Westminster for eventual display in a permanent exhibit at the new Anvil Centre.

Lubzinski smiles at the irony that his model may outlive the actual bridge, which is slated for replacement or rehabilitation by TransLink.

“If there’s a need for a new bridge, then I guess they’ll replace it,” said Lubzinski, matter of factly.

It’s that kind of pragmatic attitude that propelled him to build his model in the first place. The derisive words of his teacher ringing in his ears, it took him a week to whittle and assemble the pieces of B.C. cedar for the first girder. With hundreds more needed, Lubzinski devised a system that got production down to a couple of hours.

Working after school and on weekends in the kitchen and living room of his family’s home, Lubzinski gave painstaking attention to the bridge’s details, right down to the sequence of vertical bars in the outer guardrails.

When the model was finished, he took it apart in sections and transported it to his school, where it became a showpiece attraction in front of the office and a constant reminder to the teacher who dared question his abilities.

In 1940 Lubzinski presented it to the bridge’s namesake, premier Thomas (Duff) Pattullo.

The premier got him scholarship money to continue his studies and when the military called him to service, a judge intervened, ruling Lubzinski’s “place is in technology rather than in the army.”

Lubzinski earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1947 and a master’s in 1950. His thirst for knowledge not sated, he went on to take more than 360 university courses over the next 40 years, including every physics course at BCIT.

To pay the bills Lubzinski and his brother Joseph started Marine Products Company, manufacturing mahogany steering wheels for boats for more than 50 years before it closed in 2005.

He also founded the Lubzinski Center for Innovation in Point Roberts to further the study of quantum physics.

“That bridge changed my life,” said Lubzinski.



Jack Lubzinski and conservator Shabnam Honarbakhsh will be at the museum June 26-28, 2-3 p.m., to meet the public and talk about its construction and restoration. The New Westminster Museum and Archives is located at 302 Royal Ave.





The First Month

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 The sky over English Bay – Sept 5, 2014

Today marks one month on the new job and it has gone by in a blink.  Nothing unusual about this though.  Time seems to move far more swiftly when we are enjoying ourselves, does it not?

I will have a very full pallet over the next few months.  Of this I have no doubt.  The job is beginning to take shape and I like the vision that is emerging.  There is going to be a great deal to organize and co-ordinate and I am embracing the challenge like never before.  I became incredibly excited today as we met with a rep from the software company that is designing and building a new program platform for the office set to launch on November 1, 2014.

There was an absolute thrill that ran through me.  This is the opportunity I’ve long waited for.  To learn, evolve, grow and expand with a company at the root level of an expansion.  I love it!  Today seemed to pass quicker than most and my neurons are fired up on all cylinders.

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Flying off into the sunset!


I will be meeting up with my photography group shortly to take in and capture what will be a fabulous sunset.  Summer is fading fast.  I’ve not spent near the amount of time outside that I would have preferred.

I stopped at Moxie’s on Davie Street for a nibble.  I’ve not been here in quite some time.  I sat watching the masses as they moved up and down this busy corridor.  Some are tourists, some are locals that live in the area, while others are getting off work and either meeting up with friends or heading home.

Then there are those who’ve taken a wrong turn in life and kept on going.   I feel a sadness when I see someone who has made this choice.

A man stood on the street a moment ago screaming at what and at whom I cannot say.  I could feel his frustration and anger from some 100 feet or more away.  For many they get into the drugs or alcohol or both to numb whatever pain is chasing them.   Oh sure, I would imagine there are those who fall into it innocently enough and become their addiction’s slave, but many who take this route are looking to dull or nullify something.

The problem is that you can become so numb to everything in this organic world of ours that you no longer find any of it desirable.  Somehow being in a drug induced and/or artificial haze is comparable to living.  And when you system is screaming at you to stop and you don’t….well, then you just keep falling.

Rock bottom can certainly vary.


I will say this though, falling hurts.  Falling has a weight attached to it that becomes increasingly heavier the further you fall.  It’s not easy to crawl back up to the surface but it can be done.  Many, however, don’t make it.

So like the fellow I saw a short time ago whose hair was unkempt and the clothes on his back had likely not been laundered in a good long while, many of these lost souls scream and blame the world around them and the people that are in it for the circumstance and station in life.

Many walked past him seemingly oblivious to the man’s outrage, while other gave him a very wide berth.  None stopped to ask if he required help.  I would not have stopped either.

It is a delicate thing when someone is releasing hostile emotions in a public setting.  There is something decidedly primal about it.  Showing concern or empathy toward this individual could well be misconstrued.  Also if you are not certain of a person’s state it might well be best to call in authorities who can assist him.   And sometimes we just have to let someone scream and rant should they choose to do so.

I headed down to the beach and met up with the group.  For a good hour or so I crawled along the beach taking photographs.

And what a stunningly beautiful sunset it was!  This is a place that speaks to my heart on such an intimate level.  I’ve screamed tormented and frustrated here.  I’ve cried tears of shame, tears of loneliness and tears of heartache.  I’ve been spellbound by the beauty of this place more times that I could ever count and I have I felt a life force so strong and how it has run through me…

I thought about getting my toes wet but signs were up.

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“Do Not Swim”

We’ve had a few red tides this year.  Algae was blooming crimson a few months back.  Normally walking along the surf wouldn’t bother me even with the red tide in effect.  However, I am still toxic from the whole cancer thing so best err on the side of caution.

And as the sun kissed the day good-bye a beautiful moon was slipping into the sky.  And I just felt so fabulous, so blessed.

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The sunset at Sunset Beach, Vancouver, BC  – Sept 5, 2014


The last few mornings on the drive in to work the trees have had a mist hanging tight to them below a clear blue sky.  I was sitting at a red stop light thinking how dreamy and enchanting this world I was waking to looked.  Out came the phone and I tried to capture what I was seeing, what I was feeling.  The guy honking his horn behind made me realize I ought not to be doing this.  It was now a green light.  But I smiled a little foolishly and cranked up the tunes and sang the rest of the way to work.

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And I am pumped!

The thought process has been invigorated, challenged and invited to jump in there and get things done.

John, one of the owners, got back from a two week vacation this week. I brought him up to date on my observations and progress to date.

He smiled quite pleased.  “I wanted someone who would roll up their sleeves and get the job done and you are doing just that.  Thank you.”

That was an affirmation that he had hired the right person in my mind.  He was well aware that things were in a state of disarray.  No accountant for three months and those inputting the info with no knowledge of accounting principles?

I’ll say this. Shannon did a bang up job despite no knowledge of accounting.  She has the intelligence there, she just has to work on her confidence.

One thing I have learned is that I don’t hold on to places that had no real investment in me in the first place.  Yes, you may meet a few people with whom you develop friendships that extend past the workplace, but if an establishment doesn’t value me then it won’t work.  That has become a factor that is very important to me in the last few years.

I’ve written about the architectural firm I was at; of how I got shot down on every level.  Just hearing the word ‘thank you’ is so appreciated.

Far too many businesses just expect.  You are just a number there to perform…nothing more.  And I guess this is what pisses me off.  We are people.  We have feelings. We love, we hurt, we fear, we laugh, we cry…

And we spend the majority of our daily lives at the workplace.

I, for one, want to enjoy how I expend my grey matter.  I will say this, I’ve always honoured the job and I always will.

And as I wrap this evening… the one month anniversary of my start date at the new place, I’m feeling light and breezy.

I’ve been having insane dreams for the last few weeks.  I wrote about one a few days ago.  But man, I’ve been wondering if it has to do with all the intense feelings I’ve lent myself to over the last three months.

Hey, it’s been a ride.  I was given five weeks notice from my previous place of employment on the one year anniversary of having had my surgery for cancer.

Their timing was fucking impeccable.

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Checking out the moon


The range of emotions I reined in quickly.  Within three weeks I had secured the job I’m at now.  Still, the adjustment can be taxing. But I’m a trooper.  Always have been, always will be.

This is likely why dreamland has been off the charts as of late.  I won’t analyze the thing.  I’ll just move on and continue to grow.

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Last night, for me, this was the mooney shot!


Pleasant dreams and many blessings to all of you.

Never be afraid to challenge yourself and never feel incapable.

If there is something that you want to know, it is there and you will know it.  Someone else’s interpretation may well not fit your definition so don’t ever give up.


Find your authentic truth and let it grow.






Picture This…Part One Summer 2013

I’ve been rather absent from here as of late.  A lot going on in this head of mine.  A lot going on in this life of mine.  I am trying to center myself and get back on track with a host of projects. What I realized is that I have to make sure I’m healthy.  Not just physically but on every level, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, etc.

I like to head out with my camera and try to capture a little of the world that I reside in.  Because words are currently a little hesitant to make their way onto the page these days, I thought I would share some of my favorite photos that I’ve taken over the course of the last year.

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English Bay June 2013

Just prior to surgery I headed down to the English Bay which is a favorite place of mine.  I like to stroll along the surf and get my toes wet.  This little guy was totally ready for his close-up.  I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety leading up to surgery.

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Get well and the view from my sofa.

Friends stopped by to wish me well.  For two weeks I took up residence on my sofa. Short walks became a daily ritual. I had to take it easy for six to eight weeks.

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As summer progressed I extended my walks.  Queen’s Park hosts a petting zoo from May to September every year.  On one of my walks I grabbed the camera and stopped by to say ‘Hello’ to a goat or two.

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The Queen of Soul (as a Chicken)

This is just the craziest chicken going.  Love the ‘hair-do’.  This lovely chicky-poo is, in my mind, is a cross between Tina Turner and James Brown.  I don’t know if it is male or a female but talk about attitude.

And look at that head of…feathers?

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I love all the colours of summer.  I managed to get cozy with some bees.  After photographing them I was curious as to their life span.  Bumblebee queens live on average of a year.  Some of these bees live for only two weeks.  From birth they are part of a process to keep the system they are born into going.  It is basic and instinctually programmed into them.

These creatures benefit our existence in such an enormous way.  Beautiful, really!

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Honey Bee July 2013

I loved the way the light caught this little guy.  Amazing little creatures.

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I don’t know what these are called.  At times they remind me of a baby dragon fly.  I wasn’t even aware that I had captured this anonymous little creature until I downloaded the images.

I was enjoying the shadows being cast and how the foliage was proving to be so dynamic.

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As July slipped away and August pulled us into the dog days of summer I headed down to Vancouver’s annual firework’s festival with my photography group.  I haven’t done a great deal of night shooting so this was exciting.  And I once I figured out what I was doing, I just had fun.

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And as summer faded I found myself gazing at these images, amazed and in awe of the life force that surrounds me.  Of the raw beauty that exists, of the magic we are capable of.

Perhaps because of the cancer that had invaded my body, I was seeing things in a totally new light.

And I was appreciating the fragility of life but also the tough and driven aspect to it as well.

There are no guarantees.  I have this day.  Nothing more.  If I can close my eyes at the end each day with the remembrance of having lived it well, then I can ask for no more.


Picture This

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With all the stresses as of late, last Sunday I opted for a do-nothing day.  And by this I mean I simply kept to myself, for myself.  I could have stayed on the sofa watching Olympic events all day and for the better part of the morning, I did just that.

We were supposed to get hit with a snow storm.  We didn’t.  The mountains got the white stuff and we got the rain.  Good to know the weather is adhering  to our agreement.

It stopped raining around noon and I decided to grab my camera and head down to the Fraser River a few blocks away to take some pictures of a rather rare occurrence.

We’ve been experiencing some very frigid temperatures the last week or so.  It has hovered between -11 and -2.  I noticed the other day that huge amounts of ice were coming down the river.  I have not witnessed this in quite some time.

I decided to pick up a few groceries on my return as well which resulted in just taking my kit lens as it is not near as heavy as the macro/zoom lens I have.

I poked about taking pictures of the river enjoying the cold.  I was bundled up and decided to head down the boardwalk along the quay.  I climbed up some stairs next to a few boats for a better view.  It really was beautiful to see and the sounds!

The ice was hitting the log boons and their metal counterparts set up to protect the docks.  It was interesting to just stand and listen to the crunch and grind of the ice.

Seagulls stood on big pieces of ice getting a free ride down the river.  Some of them got quite comfortable and sat back enjoying the view.

I descended the stairs and made my way a little farther down the boardwalk taking a few more shots.  I was beginning to feel winter’s chill and turned to head back to The Paddlewheeler to grab a bite before picking up my groceries.

It was then that I heard them.  The cry of an eagle is unmistakable.  I stopped and stared up at the sky with fingers fumbling to remove the cap on my camera.  I saw two of them circling and by the time I had my camera at the ready they had landed on top of the hotel in front of me.

The excitement that I felt was just ridiculous.  Of course an expletive erupted from my well-mannered lips as I didn’t have the correct lens for the type of shot I was anticipating.  Still, they were pretty close and I just might get lucky.  I took a few snaps of them sitting up there and decided to wait until they flew away.  Perhaps, just perhaps, I could get a really cool shot of them in flight.


This is the Inn At The Quay in New Westminster.  The eagles were perched atop the highest peak at the back of the hotel. (This is the original angle that I saw the two)

Ten minutes later the first one took off.  He dipped down the other side of the hotel, however, so by the time I had him in view he was already quite a distance away.  Mature eagles typically have a wing span of six feet and move amazingly fast as a result . I decided to go over to the other side of the hotel to try to get a better angle when the second bird took flight.

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This is the opposite side of the hotel right next to The PaddleWheeler Pub where I tried to wait out the bird.

I dashed beneath the hotel to the other side.  I was now just outside The Paddlewheeler Pub.  I could get my shot then pop in and chow down and thaw out. The cold was really settling in as I had been outside for well over an hour.

And there I stood poised with camera at the ready having a one-sided conversation with a bird that was likely a good hundred feet away from me.

“Come on and fly.” I muttered.

That mantra later became “Fly, dammit!”

Visions erupted of how to make the eagle take flight and dissipated just as quickly.  I couldn’t feel my fingers despite being gloved and my toes beginning to tingle.  Icicles were forming on my wig and nose hairs (okay, okay, I am exaggerating here…but I was cold!)

The bird just sat gazing down at the foolish human female.  The standoff ended in defeat on my end.

A good half-hour I stood there with camera in hand while the patrons of The Paddlewheeler likely wondered just what the hell I was doing.  Upon entering I felt it necessary to explain to my server why I had been out there.  Odd that I needed to do that.

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The view from inside The Paddlewheeler Pub.  Just picture it!  A woman standing with camera in hand talking to herself rather animated in her movements.  Ah, memories!

I ordered my food and sat gazing out at the river.  I pulled out my notebook and jotted down the days events and a little diatribe about the eagle who had sat so smugly atop the hotel. Once my hunger was appeased and I could feel all my appendages then I sat back and just enjoyed the view.

There would be more eagles and I would have the correct lens.  I’ve seen eagles down here a few times.  The river was displaying odd waves that were caused from a tug that had been pulling a log boom down the river.  With the ice flow coming down the effect was really spectacular.

The photographer in me wanted to run out and capture the moment but the writer in me already had.

Back out into winter’s chill I got my groceries and toddled off home.  The pictures of the eagles aren’t great.  I didn’t expect they would be.  Still, I’ll see what I can do and post some of them along with some river shots in a few days time.


**The photo of the eagle is not one of mine nor are the hotel pics.  I have not had the opportunity to really go through my shots just yet but I did want to give you a visual for this.

For the Fun of It

Yesterday my daughter and I headed over to Lynn Canyon Park to go for a hike.  When she was a wee thing we lived within walking distance of the this pristine forest park.  What a backyard we had back then!  Lynn Canyon Park starts at Twin Falls.  I tell you, walking down the Centennial Trail in this lush forest, with mist coming up off the falls and looking about at the trees laden heavy with moss…oh, and the scent.  It had rained heavily on Saturday.  Sunday was a beautiful partially sunny day.  The forest had the fresh, wet smell of pine.  The earthy scent of damp soil mixed in.  Invigorating and intoxicating!

We descended about 250 feet.  Wooden stairs have been constructed and zigzag down the canyon wall.  Then over a foot bridge and then we followed the path, which is partial forest and boardwalks and a series of inclines and declines down to the shoreline of the Capilano River.  There are many trails that run through here and we will definitely be going back to explore more of them.  We could have continued but turned back and made our way back to the car.  The real workout was coming back up all the stairs!  A great workout.  There was a trail race, one of the 5 Peaks races I believe, that was going on.  I don’t know that I would want to run through these trails.  It was muddy and slippery.  I salute everyone who took on the challenge though.  Many of the runners had dressed up in Halloween attire.

On Saturday evening, I attended a costume party at a friend’s home.  A good time was had by all.  I dressed up as a man.  I believe I was very convincing as the creepy 80’s dude who thought he was hot stuff.  I was given the moniker of ‘Lou‘ as my alter ego for the night.  And you know, this was one of the easiest costumes I have ever put together.  I went to a local thrift store to pick up the men’s clothing.  I opted to wear my own jeans as I figured it would be more comfortable.  The wig I bought was a woman’s synthetic hair wig which I cut to look like a man’s, then drew on a mustache & goatee and penciled in the heavy brows.  That was it.  Of course, by the end of the evening having scratched and rubbed my chin a few times…the goatee was a wee bit smudged.  And I had looked at purchasing the fake mustache and goatee…but I was actually rather appalled at the cost, so penciling it on won the popular vote.

We all have to have some fun from time to time.  Getting dressed up in a silly costume once a year is indeed fun.  I guess, too, we like to get into the character that we are portraying.  We can cut loose a bit and move outside ourselves.  Halloween doesn’t officially happen for a few more days, but I have had my treat.

A great weekend.  One that was fun and uplifting.  One where I just got to cut loose for a while.  And we all have to do that from time to time.

Now we watch as this storm Sandy approaches the East Coast of the US & Canada.  I do hope everyone will make it through  okay and not too much devastation results.  Be well everyone.


Yesterday I went on yet another photowalk.  I am definitately going to commit to doing this once a month when they meet.  These events are fabulous and I certainly learned a ton yesterday and was given enough information regarding sites  online and  tutorials to check out that should keep me busy for the next month.

We went out to the George C. Riefel Bird Sanctuary which is at the mouth of the Fraser River where it empties into the Pacific Ocean.  This is a lush wetland area.  We currently have thousands of Snow Geese that have recently migrated from Russia and it is spectacular to behold.  I saw Falcons and Hawks and was stalked relentlessly by the ducks.

They are incredibly tame and used to being fed by the humans.  Bird seed is sold for a $1.00 a bag and watching a small child’s delight while surrounded by thirty or forty ducks that plaintively insist on being fed brings a smile to me.

The ducks also walk the trails and inhabit the many water ways that are strewn about the area.  I see Cranes with wingspans that exceed my height.  I try to ready the camera but he moves over me so quickly that initially I don’t get the shot.  He is gracious enough to grant me a few more passes so I do get a decent shot of him.

There is a connection  that I feel to everthing around me.  I am wandering the trails and am mesmerized by the lush beauty that surrounds me.  It is very humbling.  The marsh lands stretch out for miles around me and bullrushes thrust up amonst the long grasses.  This place is just a 1/2 hour drive from my home.

Once again the weather cooperated fully.  The sun came out, though it is cold now.  By day’s end the clouds began to roll in.  I slipped back into the car and was once again greeted by pumpkin fields of orange.

Back to life in the City.  Back to my home.  I feel priviledged to have these places so close to me.

Sanctuary is such a beautiful term as well.  It made me feel safe and insulated even while a duck complained bitterly that I had not fed him.  The chickadees are so used to humans that all you need do is hold your hand out and they will come sit on your hand and look for food.  One guy, that had an absolutley amazing camera, held his hand out to allow me to take a picture with the chickadee on his hand.  The little bird was rather annoyed that no food could be found in the man’s palm so he gave the thumb a little bite just before flying off.

We laughed at this.  I hope you enjoy some of the images I took there yesterday.  Quite the home this place we call planet Earth.