Thursday, June 30, 2022

The farm in big sky country

A quiet roadside moment
Ilderton, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Some photos have backstories, while others get taken and shared for far more trivial reasons.

This one may fall somewhere in between, as I took it at the turnaround point of a bike ride through the country north of town.

There’s nothing earth-shattering about this picture of a bunch of silos in the middle of big sky country. But plain as it is, it telegraphs what it felt like to stand on the side of the road on a sunny, windy day and take in the scene.

Our city is surrounded by sights like these, and it’s a privilege to experience them. I get out here as often as I can, because it grounds me to pedal the countryside rather than rush through it in a car.

So I take pictures to remember not just what it looked like in the moment, but what it felt like, too.

Hmm, maybe this one isn’t as trivial as I first thought it was. Something to ponder on my next ride.

#ldnont #ilderton #london #ontario #canada #farm #country #roadside #cycling #blue #sky #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Found the cows, November 2004

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Grazing in the concrete forest

Where nature meets creativity
London, ON
April 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


A city can never have too many murals.

And as long as brilliant artists choose to grace our community with their creations, I’ll wander the streets and bike paths and alleys with a camera to capture as many of them as I possibly can.

Because art should always be celebrated and shared, right?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #urban #city #adelaide #street #tvp #streetphotography #photography #graffiti #art #streetart #graffitiart #mural #urbanart #apple #iphone #iphone11 #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:
Bambi has been found, April 30, 2022

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A jewel of baseball history

Up close with Labatt Memorial Park
London, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


We went to the ball game earlier this month, in a stadium I can only describe as Field of Dreams-esque.

Labatt Memorial Park has been around since 1877, and is the world’s oldest baseball grounds. It is a gem, tucked between the river and a lovely old residential neighborhood, right in the shadow of downtown.

The London Majors play there, and you don’t simply watch them play. Rather, you savor the experience. From the smell of the grass to the sound the footsteps make on the ancient grandstands, everything here is analog, rich, real.

Even the players make it special, taking the time to wander past the stands before, during, and even after the game to thank the fans with high-fives.

It makes you wish the game would never end.

Indeed, maybe it doesn’t have to.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #labatt #labattpark #baseball #stadium #architecture #urban #city #downtown #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Monday, June 27, 2022

Thanks again, Sun

Almost night
London, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The sun put on another show before tucking itself in last night.

So it felt like the right thing to do to throw the camera in a backpack and tote it along for the dog’s last walk of the day.

Calli grazed quietly at my feet as I walked this way and that along the edge of the baseball field in a vain attempt to get the sun, clouds, and trees to align just so.

I hung around beside the treeline until well after twilight and watched reflections paint the clouds varying shades of yellow, orange, pink, and red.

It was, in a word, humbling. And it never gets old.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #silhouette #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #jaycee #park #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Chain link memory

Just go around
London, ON
May 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Chain link fencing doesn’t just define borders between different plots of land. Think back far enough and we all probably have chain link stories of our own.

Mine was the stretch of green fencing between our childhood home and our next-door neighbor, Mr. Schwartz.

If I’m being charitable, Mr. Schwartz was nasty, and everyone on the street knew to avoid the man who seemed to hate by default, especially if you were a kid.

He yelled at us if we so much as touched the fence at the edge of our yard. So, of course, we did. And over the years we learned to respond to his aggressiveness with aggressiveness of our own.

He never did quite figure out what happened to his Christmas lights. Or why the dog poop he refused to pick up from neighbours’ lawns ended up on his porch. We were simply returning it to its sender.

My parents’ house sold long ago, and Mr. Schwartz lived a lonely life until he got sick and passed away.

But every time I come across chain link - like this galvanized example near the neighborhood elementary school - I imagine that in another life he’s learned to use fences to connect rather than divide.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #walkabout #random #streetphotography #shadow #light #night #monochrome #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Dog guardian angel

Comfort for mama
London, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Calli the Wonderschnauzer doesn’t speak English, so “fractured ankle” probably doesn’t register with her.

But still, she knows. Instinctively. She knows her human mommy is hurting, and she hovers over her particularly closely.

It isn’t always convenient or comfortable to have a wiggly puppy inches away from a significant bone injury. But it’s heartening all the same to see how fiercely she loves Debbie, and how she’ll do anything to protect and comfort her.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheschnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #─▒nstagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related - when Zach broke his leg almost 15 years ago - and Frasier watched over him:
A moment, September 11, 2007
Peekaboo building, September 14, 2007
Surrounded, September 15, 2007
Caption This 36, September 16, 2007
Color, light and mood, September 17, 2007
His master's foot, September 19, 2007
Caption This 37, September 23, 2007

Game of (green) tones

Life, layered
London, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Drama happens right beneath our noses.

And like most dramas, I’d like to believe there are two sides to this one.

Tragically, the leaves have been decimated, apparently by some unseen, voracious bugs.

Hopefully, it’s nature doing what it’s supposed to do, with different life forms living off of others, all part of an indescribably vibrant ecosystem.

I’ll go with hopeful. Because life isn’t linear or binary. Or even perfect.

But it’s better than the alternative, which makes me smile as I stand amid the lush green and take it all in.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #medway #valley #forest #green #leaf #leaves #gameoftones #stilllife #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Friday, June 24, 2022

#StrokeAwarenessMonth, the video

Did you know…
  1. It’s Stroke Awareness Month?
  2. I survived a stroke?
I’m deeply honoured that the good folks at the London Health Sciences Centre asked me to share my story.

I hope you enjoy the video (find it here). But more importantly, please share my story, and learn the signs.

I’m here because someone - my wife - did.

#ldnont #stroke


Related:
So, about that stroke - August 2014
More stroke stuff... - August 2014
Stroke survivor shares his story, London Free Press, Aug 14, 2014
Coming up on Canada AM - Lookahead to February 2015 interview
Winding down the day that was - February 2015 - incl link to Canada AM/Heart/Stroke Month segment
Two years on... - August 2015
Three bonus years - August 2016
Four years later - August 2017
Five years on - August 2018
Seven years on, August 2020
Eight years on... August 2021

When twilight fades

One day ends...
London, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


There was something about last night’s twilight sky that made me look up.

Perhaps it was the fading glow of a day we’d all rather forget.

Or the promise of a hopefully better tomorrow.

Let’s go with the latter.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sun #sunset #sky #weather #wx #silhouette #walkabout #forest #tree #trees #jaycee #park #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded

Related:

Thursday, June 23, 2022

I met the original Dairy Queen

Out for a stroll
Parry Sound, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Scene from a Dairy Queen parking lot far from home.

Whoever she is, she inspires me.

#parrysound #ontario #canada #throwback #roadtrip #travel #stranger #photobomb #random #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Kindness by the side of the road

Angles and textures
Middlesex County, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


It had been a while since I parked the bike beside a country road and took in the scenery.

As an aside, I highly recommend it.

So there I was, playing with lines and angles and textures on this particularly fetching stretch of Hyde Park Road north of town, when another cyclist cruised past on the other side of the road and asked if I was okay.

I assured her I was, and she smiled and waved before continuing on her way, eventually disappearing below the horizon.

People are kind. As much as I’ve always believed this to be the case, it was nice to have a spontaneous reminder all the same.

#ldnont #london #middlesex #county #ontario #canada #cycling #cyclist #hyde #park #road #cyclinglife #random #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
Green lane of death, November 2020
The endless road, December 2012
Winter's first, November 2004


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Cloudspotting in the country

Water and light
Ilderton, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


I’m pretty sure we all did this when we were kids: we’d lie down on the grass and stare up at the sky.

And as kids were likely to do, we’d let our imaginations run wild, with clouds forming fantastical, ever changing shapes, their stories playing out endlessly, high over our heads.

Sometimes the clouds were artificial, painted ruler-like across the sky by planes jetting off to destinations forever unknown.

However they were formed, it was a pretty magical way to spend time. And to this day, I’ll look way up and wonder why we ever stopped. I mean, what is it about adulthood that stops us from looking for magic above us? Or anywhere else, for that matter?

I get it: adult life is serious in ways the young versions of ourselves never fully appreciated. Only now that I’ve had a chance to experience it myself do I realize where the droop in my dad’s posture came from when he got home after a long day at work. Or the sigh in my mother’s voice as she helped get us bickering kids ready for school.

But still.

There’s no going back to worry-free cloudspotting on the front lawn. But it still can’t hurt to look up and wonder what it felt like when we did.

The magic doesn’t fully go away when we grow up. At least it shouldn’t.

#ldnont #ilderton #london #ontario #canada #weather #wx #blue #sky #cloud #clouds #cloudspotting #contrail #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
Beauty from fear, July 2013
Storm's coming, July 2013

Monday, June 20, 2022

Fast food beauty queen

I'd like fries and a baton with that, please
Dryden, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


The scene: lunchtime at the local McDonald’s. Rather than sit in the drive-through lineup that stretches to the adjacent highway, I decide to walk into the crowded resto and interact with real people.

I don’t have to wait long. Before I manage to cross the parking lot, an elderly woman briskly walks in front of me and gets to the door ahead of me.

But before she reaches for the handle, she pauses, rifles through her purse, pulls out what looks like a white satin pageant sash, and proceeds to carefully put it on over her shoulder. I remain transfixed on this rather fascinating vignette as she pats it into place and heads inside.

Because the place is crowded, I never actually see her from the front before she reaches the front of the line, gets her lunch, then disappears out the door.

So the story behind the sash will forever remain a mystery.

Perhaps it’s just as well.

#dryden #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #stranger #random #street #streetphotography #photography #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Sunday, June 19, 2022

The duality of Father's Day

What we started
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
October 2021
These photos originally shared on Instagram


As much as I’m not a fan of commercialized holidays, I appreciate the sentiment behind them. Father’s Day is no different.

I was lucky enough to have grown up in a typically middle class home, with parents who loved each other and us, and little else to worry about beyond what the neighborhood kids would be playing on the street the next time I went out.

I was also lucky enough to have married way beyond my station in life, and to have earned my own parenting chops by watching and learning from my wife. I also had a father-in-law who was the world to our children. And to this day they continue to share stories of their Zaida, and how he indelibly imprinted himself on them.

And earlier this month we watched our own son and daughter-in-law welcome the newest member of the family into the world, and they are already shining as they take what they’ve learned and make it their own. Lilly is a lucky little girl indeed.

All of this will matter tomorrow, too, but it’s never a bad thing to have a reminder on the calendar, a day for us to reflect on all the father figures - official and not - who have shaped us in ways words can barely describe. And to remember the ones who helped us along, even if they’re no longer here.

Fatherhood, motherhood, parenthood…they’re all really variations of community, and we’re all products of the time and energy and love that others have invested in us. As I watch our smart, kind, creative kids figure out their own way in life, I realize how lucky I am.

I’m thankful to have been surrounded by so many strong examples of fatherhood, and I’m just as thankful to see the journey continue from one generation to the next.

I’m thankful to have been given the chance to be a part of that journey, and I consider it the privilege of a lifetime.

#LiveLaughLevy #dryden #ldnont #london #ontario #canada #birthday #fathersday #dad #dads #life #parenthood #family #everything #apple #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Back to the bay

She never sleeps
Old Woman Bay, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Old Woman Bay may not be the most politically correct place name, but it’s the perfect spot to park our souls for a few minutes in the midst of a long journey.

Note to self: find more places just like this. Wherever they may happen to be.

#oldwomanbay #algoma #lake #superior #ontario #canada #roadtrip #travel #nature #naturephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #sunset #beach #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:

Friday, June 17, 2022

My hospital, cornered.

Once again, with gratitude
London, ON
June 2022
This photo originally shared on Instagram


Another day.

Another visit to the hospital where medical miracle workers once saved my life.

Another random photo of a place that’s become integral to my family’s story.

This is another reason why I look at the world through a lens.

Because it cuts the big things down to size, lets me make sense of things and places and events that might otherwise be too overwhelming to digest.

It’s a weird thing, really. But good-weird.

And coming back here seems to bring me strange comfort.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #university #hospital #uh #lhsc #monochrome #photography #iphone #shotoniphone #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins

Related:
So, about that stroke - August 2014
More stroke stuff... - August 2014
Stroke survivor shares his story, London Free Press, Aug 14, 2014
Coming up on Canada AM - Lookahead to February 2015 interview
Winding down the day that was - February 2015 - incl link to Canada AM/Heart/Stroke Month segment
Two years on... - August 2015
Three bonus years - August 2016
Four years later - August 2017
Five years on - August 2018
Seven years on, August 2020
Eight years on... August 2021