take five

I've been known, on occasion, to dwell, obsess, fixate...I can hear my family sniggering at the 'on occasion' bit. I call it my analysis/over-analysis/paralysis shtick, and while I've become well aware of it, and am working hard these days to derail it, my neural pathways seem quite content to stay the course. I recently came across the website http://5minuteproject.com where a group of photographers have gathered on-line to share what they capture in a five minute time span. The time frame is the only rule, the who/what/when/where/how is entirely up to each of them. The concept intrigued me and I thought it might be a good antidote to my aforementioned gig. So, I've decided to give it a go on my own, shooting whatever strikes my fancy every now and again, with a strict five minute time limit. I've had a little chat with my self and we've agreed to keep the whole of this project simple...essentially there will be no rules, other than there's to be no thinking about the who/what/when/where/how bits, I'll just pick up my camera when moved to do so, with whatever lens happens to be on it, to shoot for no more than five minutes, edit for no more than five minutes, and post it all here, taking no more than five minutes to do so. I'm expecting the images won't be perfect, they might not even be pretty, but I suspect that will be exactly the point. For me, this project will not be about striving for perfection but all about the practice and the learning, about being in the moment instead of in my monkey mind, about just simply taking five...

My first #5minuteproject installment comes from a recent bout of baking. I'd never attempted to make date squares, or matrimonial bars as I knew them growing up, working under the assumption they'd be far too intricate and tricky a recipe for me to tackle. Maybe such thoughts came from the fact that when I was growing up it was always accomplished bakers who made them....my mom, my Auntie Joyce, my nana. Nobody knew how to cook and bake like these three graces. But no matter, for whatever reason, I had it in my head that this would be too complicated a dessert for me to attempt. Well, one try and I learned otherwise. And while the making of them might have taken a bit longer than five minutes, though not much (who knew they were so quick and simple?), the picture taking did not. A few snaps here and there throughout the process and voila. Here you have it.

And with that, I'm off to take another kind of five...with a hot cuppa and a particularly yummy square.

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a kind of hush

We've had more than a few foggy days this month, something I'm quite happy about. While it's not an unusual phenomenon when you live near the water's edge, particularly at this time of year, fog is still a rare enough event to feel like a treat. It will slow me right down if not completely stop me in my tracks, and not just for the lack of visibility. I love how the fog lends an intangible and ethereal, even eerie sense to the day, while at the same time offers something of solace and grounding. All weather systems are relatively changeable in these parts, but fog comes with a more definite sense of the fleeting...think it's that sense that makes me stop and pay attention in a different way...it envelopes and enthralls and reminds me to take notice of the very moment at hand. These fleeting moments, they bring with them a kind of hush...there is both a weight and a weightlessness to them. Fog enshrouds like a heavy blanket that comforts and consoles, while at the same time whispers to me of the lightness of being...

in between times

No resolutions to post, no clarity of purpose to declare...I just keep on keepin' on, and find myself thinking on the very ordinary moments that make up my days. While I mostly find comfort in predictability, and can easily appreciate the ho-hum, I sometimes need reminding that it is often the seemingly mundane that makes way for magic.

For example, when you're in the trenches of day to day parenting it can often feel like a slog...the wiping, the feeding, the reminding, the driving, the worrying, the laundry, the listening, the repeating, the repeating, the repeating...and on it goes. Magic comes in moments, then and now, and I've always tried my best to stop and soak it up. These days, from my current parenting perch, there is no better kind of magic than that of watching our semi-adult children who have moved away and lived apart, come together again...by choice, as friends, as I-might-be-your-harshest-critic-but-I'll-always-have-your-back, nearly 'all growed up' folks. These times, these people, they make my heart swell.

As I go through the many photos taken over the holiday season, the following handful from one particular walk are my take-away. A walk on Christmas day is a yearly tradition of ours and every year there are three things that can be counted on: 1. mom will ask for a group shot of the kids, 2. sibling shenanigans will ensue, and 3. almost all of the shots taken will include said antics. Let me add a fourth certainty: it will always be these in-between moments that resonate the loudest for me, and in addition they will likely be blurred, over- or under-exposed, and otherwise far from technically correct. What they call the imperfectly perfect...or is it the perfectly imperfect?...either way, if you ask me, these are the best of times.

welcome christmas

The kiddos are not yet all home from university. The tree is several days away from its finding, chopping, hauling and trimming. The cards are still being written, packages still being wrapped. A list of our favourite home-baked goods has been made, the ticking off of which is in the works. But, the shopping is done, the parcels sent, the turkey ordered and perhaps most significantly, my sanity and good humour are very much in tact. It's been years since the hustle and bustle translated merely to stress and frenzy. Years since we pared it all down, simplified to what really mattered. It's always been the most wonder-full time of the year in my books, but now that comfort and joy have truly taken center stage in all that we choose to do for the season, I can say it with a relaxed brow and easy breath...welcome Christmas, come this way.

of the light and the dark

Here we are, midway into November already. For me, this is a time of remembering, a time of anticipating, and a time for being right here, right now. Temps have dropped, natural rhythms have slowed...we bundle up to go out, we wrap our hands around warming mugs when in. Like no other, it's a time for care-taking and cozy-making...for appreciating the light and the dark and everything in between.

take a walk

Storm season has arrived. In between systems, it's advisable to take a walk in the woods. In fact, it's always advisable to take a walk in the woods.

thanksgiving

I woke to the sound of a fog horn several mornings this week, my afternoon tea is more often taken in lengthening shadows, and despite the unseasonably mild temps the leaves are turning...and falling. Today, family from four different locations in two different provinces will be mobilizing to gather at a place we all call 'the lake'.  We'll spend the weekend walking trails, playing card games, reading and chatting by the fire, raking leaves, and roasting marshmallows over an open bonfire. There's sure to be a healthy dose of silliness, too much food to be possibly consumed (but it will be!), and much to feel bone-deep grateful for...

land of the silver birch

This past weekend I had occasion to visit a part of the province known as Cariboo Country. It's a vast landscape of woods, rolling hills and pasture lands. The area is sparsely populated with resource and service-based towns, ranches scattering the in-between places. People are down to earth, hard working and true; the life and the landscape simple and stunning all at once. Loons call, cattle low, the leaves turn. It was a breath of fresh fall air...