Skate Away ..you think of freedom, exhilaration and speeding away from all your cares and it is. For thousands of Canadians, the chance to skate away is a reality every year. And even in the midst of crowds the space always remains for that total dash for freedom.
For people in Ottawa since the 1970’s there has been the Ottawa canal. Open and maintained 24 hours a day this 7.8km rink cuts through the city to provide a sunny Sunday break or a students route to class. A fast and pleasant means to work for those who live along its route even in the midst of winter reminding us who we are.
“For this was on seynt Volantynys day – Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make”
1382 Geoffrey Chaucer – 1382
“Sveti Valentin prinese ključe od korenin, zato so v nekaterih krajih na ta dan začeli z delom v vinogradih in vrtovih”
Despite the high cost of postage Britain was sending 60,000 valentine cards by post in 1835. Fancy Mechanical Valentines (cards) were available for a price. Produced with real lace and ribbons they could be signed with one of the many sentimental verses found in the ‘Young Man’s Valentine Writer’ that had been published nearly 40 years before.
But it was by inventing the postage stamp and reducing the postal rate in 1840 that Britain gave birth to the popular practice of mailing a valentines card, often anonymously, that has lasted to this day.
With 400,000 cards sent the first year alone the Hallmark Holiday was born.
Today this mostly commercial celebration has expanded to include roses, chocolate, diamonds and almost any heart-shaped piece of plastic you can imagine. Not to mention the untold millions of e-greetings and animated gifs.
And so ..in honour of the saint of good health, the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims, we wish you the warmest of Valentines Greetings.
“Until people found a way to light the darkness, they could do little once the sun went down …Gaze up at the stars that fired the imagination of your ancestors. In that darkness, in that quiet, you can hear your heart beat and your breath move. After you let time pass leisurely, light one lantern — that lantern that welcomes the spirits, that is brave in the darkness, that welcomes people home. That light is the beginning of the human.” Deng Ming Dao
The planting of trees and eating of their fruit connects and restores us to our ancestral home. And now that the winter rains have passed and the new fruit has begun to form, we distinguish between last years fruits and the fruits of the coming year.
A festival that could easily have faded away with no system of offerings nor priests to receive them when the Temple was destroyed. Yet like a tree, it continues to produce sustenance if we attend properly to its growth.
Whether you are off to fly a kite, begin to write your first words or a month of letters, this festival heralds the beginning of spring.
Nature at it’s best, shedding itself of lethargy and ignorance to chart a new course for the year. Bursting yellow fields and happiness light as air. We wish you friends as solid as diamonds and success as bright as gold as we welcome the spring season and Saraswati’s light of hope and peace.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks here in the real world. I decided about a month ago that it was time to have a real computer to deal with my photographs now that digital is apparently here to stay.
I decided to build it from the ground up. This way I could be sure it had the combination of hardware that I wanted without it being a massive compromise. This will be the first computer I’ve owned that hasn’t come from an electronics recycling bin, the side of the road, or cost more than $200 from the store. An exciting prospect to be sure.
Unsurprisingly, computers have become a primary tool for photographers. As important as good meters, reliable batteries and excellent studio lighting. I’m looking forward to life in 2017.