Loss and Hope

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Why do so many grieve over an ancient building being partially destroyed by fire. A building which survived world wars and political upheavals for centuries…not to mention the structure took over two centuries to complete!

Because it is Art.

Because it represents people…a nation…a world view.

Not all will mourn because of faith or political reasons which saddens me.

I am a Christian, but had this been The Dome of the Rock or some other significant religious building, I would still be sad due to the destruction.

Man creates, but he copies God’s plans. After all, it is He who gave the mind to man.

Not only the mind, but the heart, the drive, and the penetrating zeal to create.

Notre Dame was one of these creations. There are so many more.

I have not been to Paris, but have seen the replica of this great edifice in Montreal, Canada. From the exterior, the two look remarkably alike. The interiors differ.

Unfortunately, less than a year ago, a virus wiped away well over a thousand photos of which one folder contained images of Montreal’s Notre Dame. I have the memory, of course. As the French say, “C’est la vie”.

Below is the interior of the alter area of the Montreal structure. I copied it to another file.

So, to my French friends, I say ” Adieu”.  The building will be restored, as I hope so will your faith.

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Arches & Spires, Amber & Indigo

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I must confess when I first entered this cathedral in Quebec City, I was a bit overwhelmed by what I saw (what you are now viewing). I encourage you to enlarge the photograph and study it for it is remarkable in many aspects. Please note that this image has not been enhanced so if you visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, this is exactly what you would observe. Religion aside, let’s tour this grand stage.

The magnificence of the alter area is almost indescribable. The architecture alone is unusually brilliant in its symmetry and detail. Ornate is not too strong a word. The arches and spires draw your eyes ever upward, yet prompting you to look into the center where the hero awaits…the Savior. Surrounding his image are a multitude of figures in various costumes and poses. Gilded gold is found everywhere, and carved wood adorns the entire fascia. The platform area can seat a vast number of clergy.

I cannot begin to explain all of the symbolism represented here, but it is astonishing to view. There appear to be various biblical scenes being represented amongst the framed shrine openings. Experts must be consulted to learn the finer points of the symbolism represented here, as I can only conjecture. This basilica celebrated its 350th year anniversary in 2014, although what now stands has been rebuilt several times due to fires which occurred at different times over the centuries. Originally built in the Rococo style of the mid-seventeenth century, the interior and much of the exterior were rebuilt in the same architectural style in 1922.

The lighting is what captured me the most, in addition to the images being illuminated. To be sure, these were no amateurs who engineered this lighting extravaganza. Every spot light, every angle, every color and each shadow were carefully thought-out before the final design became reality. What I question in my mind is what the architect’s and engineer’s had in mind as they created this experience…for that is what this is. It is not simply a shrine to look at. No, it was created for a purpose-to worship and to partake of the sacraments. I wonder, though, are we to be inspired, to be in awe, to be brought to a point of reverence? Perhaps, all of the above?

Some may find this sanctuary gaudy and others may find it inspiring. Some see waste while others see beauty. Many will understand the deeper meaning of each statue and ornament and many will not. Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer who founded Quebec City and also discovered Mount Desert Island (refer to one of my last posts about Acadia National Park) is said to be buried in the tombs of this building, along with nobles and bishops. Regardless of one’s feelings about this church, you will never forget it. In fact, the original fortified Quebec City is quite unforgettable. Going there is like visiting France without leaving the North American continent !

Eclectic East Coast Images

In our recent travels to Acadia National Park and the Bay of Fundy, we traveled through much countryside and several cities of varying sizes, including the seaside town of Portland, Maine. The following images are compiled simply to view and enjoy. There is no particular theme, per se. Hopefully, a few will make you chuckle. Moose warning signs are in abundance along highways. The only moose we saw was made of bronze. Fortunately, he didn’t step out in front of our car. Acadia & Fundy 184Portland has some interesting characters which like to congregate on street corners. Acadia & Fundy 175Cheryl made the trip even more enjoyable by making friends with and photographing at least one dog a day. I am happy to report that she succeeded. Cell Pics 6-21-15 849

Acadia & Fundy 214I would like to report that there were ample places to relieve oneself during this trip. Cell Pics 6-21-15 834However, taking care of business on someone else’s lawn was frowned upon. Acadia & Fundy 360Have you ever seen a ship weathervane the size of a truck? Now you have!

Acadia & Fundy 004We found the owner of this gift shop to be rather resourceful as seating is not limited to lawn chairs nor are flower pots relegated to tables or stands. Cell Pics 6-21-15 861We had our doubts that local fishing boats could actually float when we came across these three trawlers.Acadia & Fundy 197We were relieved to learn that boats do float as is evidenced by these same beauties rocking gently against the pier. Can’t say we ever saw one motor off into the bay, though. Acadia & Fundy 212Thanks for sharing these images with us. Photos courtesy of Cheryl and Michael using a combination of Canon’s SL-1 w/ 28-135 lens and two Samsung cell phone cameras.

Ocean in Motion

Have you ever been to extreme places in your travels? Places known for the unusual or almost unbelievable quality that the specific location revealed? Well, our second stop was to the Bay of Fundy which is situated between the east coast of New Brunswick and the west coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Due to the geographic nature of this particular bay, it boasts at certain locations the greatest tide differential on our planet. On the way to the north end of the bay we stopped to take in the coastline scenery.Acadia & Fundy 233Acadia & Fundy 265We drove through a hidden gem of a nature park called the Fundy Trail. It has scenic lookouts, waterfalls, secluded beaches, crazy steep and curved roads, hiking and bicycle trails, a swinging bridge and an informative nature center. Everything written is in English and French. This area has a rich history of logging and large ship building.Acadia & Fundy 261One of our goals was to visit the Hopewell Rocks at the north end of the bay. This is where the tide changes heights on an epic scale. While we were there, we witnessed the tide drop 37.5 feet in a matter of hours! We walked the ocean floor and stared at sandstone monoliths with pine trees as top hats. Crazy stuff to be sure. When conditions are just right, the tide can actually change fifty feet. For some really fascinating information about tides, I direct you to the following website (yes,I admit that I plagiarized when I named this post): http://www.moonconnection.com/tides.phtml.Cell Pics 6-21-15 844This image shows the tide already receding ( we missed shooting high tide). The water turns a brownish-red color during low tides as sandstone sediment is churned up as the water is drawn out. Acadia & Fundy 313This image is about two hours shy of low tide, but gives you an idea of the differential in tide variance. Please excuse the image quality as it was very bright out and the area was rather dull looking. Notice the size of the people in comparison to the rocks. Acadia & Fundy 317Below are a couple photos to prove that we actually walked on the ocean floor! Acadia & Fundy 324Farther down the coast where the cliffs subside and beaches take over, the low tides would draw the ocean water approx. 400 ft. away from land.Acadia & Fundy 283



Come Along Children

Geese 5-11-15 009Geese 5-11-15 012Geese 5-11-15 017Geese 5-11-15 021Goslings closely follow mom and pop until they can fend for themselves. They are fun to watch marching in single file. Most birds exhibit a similar behavior when they are young. These geese made their home in a field adjacent to our parking lot. Caution: don’t get too close or the parents will become offensive. They stretch out their necks, charge you, and hiss with beaks wide open. It is actually a bit intimidating! These Canadian geese are found all over our city and have become quite the nuisance when on the ground. They defecate everywhere, block traffic in parking lots and streets alike, and are slow to move out of the way. They have adapted well to urban life. However, when in the air they are a joy to watch as they communicate with loud honking, and take turns blocking the headwinds by changing places at the point of their V-formation. Landings and takeoffs are especially enjoyable to witness because these large birds are so graceful. A flock landing in unison is a beautiful sight to behold….along with all that honking! Here are a few facts: these geese can live up to 24 years in the wild, weigh up to 20 pounds, develop wingspans over 5 feet, have excellent eyesight, mate for life, and can be found in all 48 contiguous states of America, as well as in Alaska. Oh, yes, they can be found in Canada, too. Ha!

Maple Leaves

60D 072Most viewers will look at this maple tree and say to themselves, “How beautiful” or “I have one that can top that”. The point of this post is not to show off our beautiful red maple tree that we planted about twelve years ago, and, I might add, a bit too close to the deck we enlarged ! No, the point is in the leaves.60D 11-1-13 028When the leaves begin to turn colors, this tree is glorious to behold. I simply can’t take my eyes off of this vibrant plant as it is transformed from deep greens to brilliant reds and magnificent oranges. Even the shape of maple leaves are spectacular! The symmetrical edges, the striking veins, the subtle differences in each leave’s color are amazing. The symbol of Canada and of maple syrup, this leaf is well-known.60D 11-1-13 035But then something happens that ushers in different thoughts. The beauty that once hung upon branches begins to fall to the ground (and on any horizontal surface within its breadth). A carpet of foliage is laid below us, and for a short period of time the color remains. As winter approaches the leaves will fade and dry, creating not a soft carpet to walk on, but a chore to clean up. This single tree can create a pile of leaves a foot deep in a sixty foot diameter arc when it is done dropping its precious cargo. That is a lot of leaves to deal with. My question for you is simply this: How many leaves are there? Your quess is as good as mine so give it a shot and share your highly qualified estimate with me. Just for grins, I may award a prize for the most accurate number…if I knew what that was. Ha!                       P.S. Have a Breathtaking Autumn.