Sorry I’m late.

Yesterday was Victoria Day here in Canada, a holiday officially honouring Queen Victoria’s birthday and unofficially kicking off the summer season. I’d forgotten that a few months ago I’d made a photo of the bronze statue of the Queen located in Kitchener’s aptly-named Victoria Park. If I’d been paying closer attention, I would’ve remembered to post the picture on the appropriate day, but since I’m known to be late now and again, she’s joining us this morning instead.

Here she is, looking a tad on the stern side, in my opinion:

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Bronze statue of Queen Victoria by Italian sculptor Cavaliere Raffaele Zaccaquini, 1911. Victoria Park, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Happy Day-After-Victoria Day and/or Warm Weather Season to you 😊

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The Bard.

With a beautiful summer evening to myself, I went slightly snap-happy while wandering the gorgeous gardens in Stratford, Ontario. More to share later… for now, the main man, Mr. Shakespeare:

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Carved out.

Today I did something I wouldn’t normally do.

I went to the beach.

In the winter.

I like beaches. A lot. But I don’t really like winter. In my mind, the two just don’t go together. The beach is for hot weather. Warm breezes and sun and sweat. Winter is for… well, I don’t know what winter’s for. I will find any excuse not to leave the house between November and March.

Today, inexplicably – maybe just out of gratitude that I’m finally bidding adieu to my nasty cold – I willingly spent a couple of hours outside, beside a large body of water, while the temperature hovered at -15 degrees with the windchill (yes, I know, besides being an act of insanity for someone like me, this also seems like a recipe for getting sick all over again. I’ll definitely get a finger-wag from my Mom).

The beach, even this small one, has a totally different vibe in the winter – windswept and deserted, vast and lonely. The light is pale and weak. The icy crust on the sand and crackles beneath your feet. The trees are stark and bare, the snack bars are clammed up, the swings on the playground creak in the wind.

I grabbed a couple of nice shots near the water, which I’ll share tomorrow. My surprise gift, carved into a tree stump, was discovered while walking a paved trail along the water:

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And when I looked up, there was another one:

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I followed the path from one carving to another.

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By this time my hands and nose were frozen, so I made my way back home, pleased to have stumbled upon unexpected tree stump art and also pretty proud of myself for willingly going outdoors in February.

Once there, Google led me to this article and this article, where I learned that these carvings are the work of Bill Le Blanc, a retired steelworker, who discovered his talent seemingly by accident.

Maybe all of us have a gift, just waiting to be revealed, in the right space and at the right time.

Thanks, as always, for visiting.