Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Ontario Lake’

It is FREEZING here and my thermometer on our deck reads minus 20 degrees centigrade! The weatherman adds another dimension to this bone chilling report by explaining that with the wind chill factor, it should feel closer to minus 30! I have developed my own parameters for measuring how cold I am….one being that if my nose hairs start to freeze then I need to get my little behind inside!  I just cannot get my head around these temperatures. I do believe they exist but have developed certain coping mechanisms to make ‘it all go away.’ It is a case of adapt or die…..

ATT00021

Canadians dream up all sorts of activities to hurry this brutal winter along. One such activity is the Polo Bear Dip……

Crazy Polar Bear Dippers on New Year's Day.

Crazy Polar Bear Dippers on New Year’s Day.

It was New Year’s Day and the sun shone out over Ontario Lake.  Today was the big day that 700 dippers would plunge into the Ontario Lake. As I watched these frozen bodies descend down to the icy shore many questions filled my head.

What could have possibly possessed them to do this insane act? Was it the indulgences from the night before that gave them the courage? Did a group of friends set up the challenge? Where they just trying to test their endurance or bravery? Whatever the reason, it was for a good cause as the funds generated would help supply clean drinking water in developing countries. I hate to admit it publically but another question popped into my head….

Would I take the plunge next year!

 Many of the winter activities do test the endurance level like skiing and ice wall climbing. As you can imagine they all require an element of fitness and in my mind, bravery. For those of us that prefer something more sedate, you can try snow shoeing. Slip on a pair of ‘paddle like shoes’ and head for the hills. The layers of snow buffer the sound and the tranquility up in the forests is food for the soul.

As winter progresses the ice layer thickens on the rivers and harbours. This is when the ice fishermen appear.  They bore a hole through the ice and drop their fishing line into the icy waters. Once set up they erect a small tent over the area for protection. I can imagine that these fishermen have a huge reserve of patience and endurance! But believe it or not, there are still fish to be caught here in our Canadian waters. I think I would have migrated to warmer lands if I had been a fish!

Patience and a loyal dog....

Patience and a loyal dog….

So with the era of the polar vortex firmly in place we strive to get out there. We are constantly exploring new ways to outfox and to take pleasure in winter. Thank goodness for wood burning fires, glowing saunas, hot tubs and a glass of red wine!

 

I just want to see you be brave…..

IMAG0618

Read Full Post »

Brrrrrr! The alarm screamed in my ear and I stumbled over to switch it off.  The sound still evokes ‘a pounding of the heart’ that transports me back to years of responding to the demands of a school bell.  It is strange how the bell symbolizes all the conforming that was required of me during my teaching years. But it is so different now. The alarm now heralds in the start of my new day. I have the choice to do more or less as I please. Wonderful! Once I have all the motherly tasks under my belt, I am free to go out and play!

What can I say? I have become a ‘Lady that Walks.’ I prefer it to the pastime of ‘doing lunch’ although the idea of a spot of lunch would probably also grab me. In fact a dash of shopping would also go down well. But the one that really gets me up and out into the ‘just above zero’ weather is a brisk walk! I don my ‘North Face armour’ and a pair of leg warmers. Then the fur trimmed hooded jacket is thrown on along with a thick scarf and a pair of woolen gloves. It is all I need to face the chill of the north wind across the lake.

The Ladies that walk

The Ladies that Walk.

 

Up until now, walking has been a solitary activity along with Josh, my Jack Russell. We have clocked up some mileage around the suburbs, chased many a squirrel and avoided skirmishes with raccoons and skunks. Other dogs have always been a challenge and Josh certainly does not fall into the category of being a ‘polite Canadian dog.’ So he gets his own private walk at the crack of dawn when there is little canine traffic. Once exercised, he is happy to settle down.  I, however, return to pound the pavements once more.

The group huddles under the town clock as we wait for the last few stragglers. The air is crisp and the steam of our breath wafts up as we greet each other. News is exchanged and the whereabouts of regulars is checked. We are the “Ladies that Walk.’ This does not mean that this is a singular activity, as our chatter can be heard around every corner. There always seems to be so much to talk about! So we live up to our name and the front few set the pace. Hats are pulled down as we brace ourselves against the cold. We always make our way down to the beautiful Ontario Lake. It is changeable and has the unpredictability of the sea. Some days it is serene and still and other times stormy and cold, but always fascinating.

One of the historic homes along the route.

One of the historical homes along the route

We pass along through the historical streets of Old Oakville. The cute cottages and stately homes blend in side by side. The different flags flutter proudly in the wind. They remind us not only of our heritage but of what has brought the group together…. we have a common bond:

We are all embracing change and our new lives here in Canada.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

Yes, Joni is Canadian!  A firm favourite of mine when I was growing up in the 70’s and Woodstock was all the rage.

 

The salmon flicked its tail once more. The silver hue poked above the brown water as it struggled against the current. A bald eagle circled overhead as it surveyed the ‘easy pickings.’ It swooped across and settled in its vantage point, an undressed maple tree. All its finery lay strewn around on the ground….dry and spent. Although a hint of colour still prevailed. The last few reminders of Fall!   The eagle ogled down at its prey while the salmon struggled to get further up stream. It had dropped its precious cargo and the drive to survive began to wane. Some would try to make their way back to Ontario Lake. For others the effort would just be too great. Their prodigy would have to ensure the dwindling numbers of the Atlantic Salmon.

16 Mile Creek…..just down the road from us

 

 

 

The sixteen mile creek meanders on regardless of the traffic that races overhead across the huge cement bridge. No one cheers the salmon as they continue their struggle to complete their run. They have responded to the primitive urge to ‘go forth and multiply.’ Their job is done. It is as if they know it is all part of the cycle of life that must be completed.

We were the lucky ones who were able to stand and stare………

We begin to cover up as the colours of Fall begin to fade….

 

Salmon Run Bronte Creek

 

Read Full Post »

Toronto in the distance

 

 

The ‘silver city skies’ glisten as I gaze across at the city of Toronto in the morning light. The towering buildings quiver in the sun as they stretch upwards. The pulse of the city is tangible even at this distance and reverberates across the calm waters. It beckons me and ‘is asking for the taking’ as I conjure up another visit of exploration. Maybe this time it will be the antique shops or another graceful old heritage home. An aeroplane takes off from the Island and leaves its plume across the sky. I cast my eyes back along the shore and watch the water lap at my feet as if to transfer this energy straight from the source.

It is hard to imagine that this lake has a shoreline of over 1000 kilometres.  It is like a huge stretch of sea! Today it even smells like one and I gather up the small mussel shells in the sand of this manmade beach. Rounded pebbles that have been smoothed away over time knock up against the rocks. I pick one up and skim it across the mirrored lake; it ripples and sinks down….. far down. In some places it may be as deep as 244 metres.  Josh peers over the edge for the proverbial fish. He has taken a shine to the sport as he has no African Hyrax to taunt anymore. He gazes into the mirrored water and leaps at his innocent victims. His lack of success keeps his interest fired and continues to chase up and down peering into the depths from all angles. This determination will surely pay dividends and allow him to land one soon!

The stillness is suddenly interrupted by the sound of progress. Another condominium is going up nearby and a bulldozer is gnarling away at the earth. As it piles the broken ground into a waiting truck, a new basement is being formed. This will park more cars, house more people and create the opportunity for more eyes to enjoy this vista of the city.
I know that I have to ‘run with the new.’

Read Full Post »