Winter Slumber

Winter’s icy freeze

Preserves nature’s splendors

In translucent silver encasings.

Glass needles and crystal branches

Threaten to fall and shatter the quietude.

Firs dressed in gleaming ball gowns

Fill the expanse with majesty.

Prickly burrs transformed to delicate roses

Are offered to those who pass and stare

At what lies beneath the magnifying glass.

Creatures clambering on glassy tightropes

And a lone crow sitting atop a silvery tower

Navigate the foreign slippery landscape.

All appears resilient in this metallic sheathing,

Seemingly under glacial hibernation:

This, a fleeting promise of immortality.


Photo courtesy of Eats Writes Shoots

Plane Spotting

This post will be a bit different from my usual writing, but it represents the prevailing nerd in me and my ardent interest in three things: science of all kinds, the mystique of nature, and great, powerful machines. In addition, I’m posting photos but I am not professing myself to be a photographer. I just want to share what I experienced….

On Friday, much of Ontario and Quebec received some very active weather. There were tornado warnings, extreme thunderstorm alerts, fallen trees, power outages and floods. My husband and son and I were visiting family in Toronto and were at my dad’s house Friday afternoon and evening. We spent a few hours in the sun; it was a hot, humid and windy day. To me, the quality and scent of the wind declared that some active weather was developing. About five minutes before my dad went out to barbeque, black clouds began to rush in as quickly as I’ve ever seen, and huge drops of rain began to fall sporadically from the sky. Only a couple of minutes passed and we were observing a tremendous downpour as part of a powerful thunderstorm. My family found me on the covered front porch, intently observing the storm as I love to do when opportunity permits. I was fortunate enough to be literally shaken when the storm was so close, the interval between lightning bolt and thunder was a mere second or less, and it felt as if the earth might divide beneath me. (If interested, I wrote a poem about this storm and posted a photo of the ensuing rainbow here). Once the rain slowed, we left my father’s house en route to my mother’s.

Years ago, when I was living in the Toronto area, I discovered a location where airplanes can be observed landing at Pearson International Airport. Here, you can literally sit in your car or stand in the parking lot and airplanes fly so close overhead that you can hypothetically hit them with a pinecone. It is an incredible rush to watch the approach of a jumbo jet. We made a pit stop there on Friday. Unfortunately there were no jumbo jets landing on this runway at that time but it was an exciting experience nonetheless, despite relatively small aircraft. The best I can do to describe it is as follows:

I positioned myself directly under the flight path. Far in the distance I perceived the glimmer of a plane’s headlights. Soon my heart began to pound as it drew closer. With its final approach I held my breath, hoping the pilot and onboard computers were going to successfully guide the plane to the runway. Blood pumping through my arteries, I had to employ great self-control not to flee my position.

The sound of jet engines from such proximity is astonishing. In addition to the adrenaline rush I always experience, the passing of a jetliner so close overhead creates in me a deep appreciation of how incredible and powerful they are. If you’re lucky enough to be present on the rare occasion of the arrival of an Airbus A380 or even a 747, it almost becomes an extreme sport!

After the storm had disappeared, the weather in Toronto became quite calm, but we were left with very interesting cloud formations. As you can see in the photographs accompanying this post, they resemble cotton balls. These types of clouds are termed mammatus (they look like breasts, I guess). They are indicative of severe weather like thunderstorms and even tornadoes, but often appear subsequent to such extreme weather rather than beforehand. Mammatus clouds are formed when up-currents carry highly saturated moist air into previously formed clouds. As the air spreads horizontally through the cloud, the ice or water droplets that are heavier fall to the bottom and essentially sag beneath the original cloud.

The particular formations in the photographs are quite minor compared to some of the wonderful mammatus formations you can search out online, but they are cool nonetheless. Really incredible ones form on the bottom of anvil clouds; large cumulonimbus formations which usually occur after thunderstorms. Observed around 8pm, the beautiful cloud configurations here, lit by the setting sun, were a magnificent sight. Combined with the rush of landing jets overhead, this proved to be a very enjoyable pit stop.

For those photography buffs, these shots were taken with a Cannon EOS Rebel T3i and specific info is contained within the gallery, for each shot. Again, I am not a photographer!

Summer Downpour

Sweltering heat is made thick by the wetness of summer rains, still hours away.
Syrupy air is difficult to breathe yet it carries the sweetness of the season’s blooms.
Fervent winds cool sunbathers’ skin, soaking up the heat pined for in winter.
A storm brews in the distance.

Blackness suddenly creeps into the atmosphere.
Soon a few patient raindrops fall heavy from the sky.
Then ardently, the pent-up moisture descends from the heavens as if in a solid pane.
The air is instantly cooled and its electric quality is palpable.
The pitter-patter of drops on pavement draws out the scent of the city.
Wet asphalt suggests renewal; superficial, fleeting.

Short-lived, the intense storm is burned up by the returning sun.
A rainbow is left, a brief reminder of nature’s conundrum:
Magnificent beauty and ruthlessness, power, necessity.
The entire sky glows as crimson sunlight bounces off cotton-ball clouds.
The earth is nourished again.


Observers of the Storm

In this place, storms create magic;
Wild, raw, and perfect.
Here, the rains are familiar and awaited.
They pour heavily into the ocean and
Create the illusion of overflow.
The grey day is counterintuitively enticing;
Promises of simultaneous sensory engagement
Draw warm, dry observers to the beach.
The smell of wet cedar bows hangs in the misty air.
Raindrops drip off the end of noses
And taste remarkably pure and sweet.
The heavy sea-spray is made saltier by sweat;
A marvellous elixir.
It is caught between the lips of kissing lovers,
Inevitably soaked through to the core.
Whistling nighttime winds tell stories
And are an invitation to the fireside.
The crashing waves shush, hypnotize,
Lulling listeners into quietude,
And then, nothing else matters.


La tempête

This is my 4am attempt at poetry in French. Simple for certain. I’m sorry if you don’t understand French but I won’t be offended if you have to translate it to enjoy it. I’m sure this won’t become a regular practice.

Je suis comme une tempête;
Une tempête de la meilleure espèce.
Au cœur, je suis calme,
Ciel clair et basse pression.
Le vent cercle autour de moi et
Je le ressens intensément.
Je vois l’action cyclonique,
Mais je me tiens fermement.