Monday 30 December 2013

Hot and cold

It's now been a couple of weeks since I left the Caribbean and journeyed back home to western Canada. In not much more than the blink of an eye, I went from this:

... to this:

And from this...

... to this:

 My bird-watching subjects have gone from these:

A wind-blown royal tern.

A purple honeycreeper sipping flower nectar.

My coloured pencil rendition of a honeycreeper.

... to these:

A flock of busy bushtits gobbling seed.
A true snowbird! Juncos always held that
title during my childhood.

My coloured pencil rendition of a junco.

And I no longer need to befriend carefree beach dogs ...


... because I've been reunited with my old furry friend - one who would rather be snoozing by the fireplace than out taking her daily constitutional in the snow.

"Can we please go in now?
I have snow stuck between my toes."

It's all a bit of a shock to the system. While it's true there's no place like home and I'm always glad to be back on my own turf no matter where I've been, I found that in the days following my return I was pining for the palm trees, beaches and seemingly carefree climate of the Caribbean. Then, to my shock and sorrow, I learned that tragedy struck there in the form of an out-of-season tropical storm which tore through the region on Christmas Day. The island of Grenada, where I spent such a blissful, relaxing time, was thankfully spared the worst. However, nearby St. Vincent and St. Lucia, both of which I've had the good fortune to visit in the past, as well as Dominica were hard-hit with a total of 18 lives lost at last count and more still missing. Many perished when houses were washed away in rain-induced landslides, others are suffering devastating losses of their homes and livelihoods due to flooding and other storm damage. From thousands of miles away, my heart goes out to those affected and to the families who have lost so much. 

I am reminded that nothing in life should be taken for granted, to be thankful for each day, to appreciate each moment, and to be grateful for my comfortable home and the safe haven of my art studio, even though the location is more northerly than I would, at times, ideally wish for.

Winter is fickle in this part of Canada. The blanket of snow that covered the ground a week ago has disappeared and today, in a sheltered corner of my garden, I discovered this: 

Its blossoms may be scruffy but nonetheless this intrepid little primula holds the promise of spring and the new year that's about to unfold.

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