Tag Archives: stress

“Beauty in Stress”

“Beauty in Stress”

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” 
― Steve Maraboli

Some strange things happen when plants are stressed. One of those is a switch to dormancy and loss of the chlorophyl that gives the leaves their green colour. The result, is fall colours and shedding of leaves.

In one particular patch of forest, some of the poplars have started to drop leaves due to the recent heat and drought-like conditions, littering the ground with brightly coloured leaves, which really stand out against the dry, sandy soil. They are quite stunning, and even more so because they are so spread out and out of season.

For humans, stress manifests in different ways, and in most cases, they are far from beautiful. So, I need to spend some time, in my stress filled life to appreciate the beauty I find along my journey, where I find it, and seek out more, to balance my own life.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400

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“Fence-row Foliage”

“Fence-row Foliage”.jpg

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” 
― Fred Rogers

Many times, I find these ‘secondary’ photos. Meaning, photos I had not set out to make. In this case, I had gone out to photograph local wheat fields, see yesterday’s post “Abundance“. As I had completed the photos I had set out to make, I was greeted by this lovely scene along a fence row, late day sunlight penetrating the shadows.

The first thing I noticed was the beautiful soft light and then, as I considered the scene further, the bright reds of the woodbine vines held my attention.

It’s late June, and we have been in an extended period of hot and humid weather, not quite a drought by definition, but close to it. One of the effects of this weather is that plants become stressed from lack of water and that stress often manifests in a colour change, similar to autumn. Only a few leaves have changed here but I have seen other plants go completely yellow, such as is the case in another recent post, “Grounded Sunlight”

The whole scene here gives an impression of lush summer growth and belays the reality of a hot and dry evening at the edge of a wheat field.

iPhone 7 back camera



“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”
― Steve Goodier

I made this image this past weekend and tucked it away, not sure when I would post it. Then this past Tuesday evening, a fairly extensive ice storm passed through, bringing back memories of previous ice storms, a phenomenon quite common to this part of the country. The Tuesday storm was tame compared to other storms we’ve experienced, especially the one that occurred in the winter of 2015.

The 2015 storm was unique in several aspects: it lasted a long time, covering everything in about  50 millimeters of ice, breaking large limbs from trees, damaging power lines, and creating a thick, impenetrable glaze of ice that was impossible to walk on. Then, something unusual happened. Freezing rain generally melts off mere hours after it falls, that’s the nature of these storms. In this case, the temperatures plummeted, making the ice harder and locking our world in a frozen wonderland. Many people lost power for days, as power lines snapped under the weight of the ice and vast patched of trees were completely obliterated as the ice literally tore them apart. We also experienced a unique phenomenon that became known as ‘frost quakes’. As the ground, laden with water from the freezing rain, froze rapidly, it contracted, booming and banging as it continued to cool. This was especially noticeable on roof tops, covered in close to thirty centimeters of wet snow and encased in ice. It would make the whole house shake.

Such was the dynamic of the 2015 storm and the cause of the damage to this tree, which, despite the extensive damage to its trunk, still lives. I recall the first time I saw it, a few days after the storm. The sheer weight of ice in its limbs and some fairly intense winds had created enough force to twist and split the tree almost all the way from the ground to the lowest branches. Frankly, given the damage, I would have thought it was going to die.

It still will die in the next few years, as the wood, now unprotected by the bark, is open to water damage, rot, and insects. Despite this, I am still amazed at it resilience.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

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“Red Leaves on Rocks” – Peterson Road, Maynooth

“Red Leaves on Rocks” - Peterson Road, Maynooth

“Where’d the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn’t stress at all just a run and a jump into a harmless fall”
― Paolo Nutini

While travelling the Peterson Road outside of Maynooth, Ontario this past weekend, I stopped along the road to make some photos of a roadside lake, a swamp, and some local wildflowers.

As I stood on the roadside, a flash of red caught my eye and I looked down to see this bright red vine, clinging to rocks along the road. It seems strange to see what would typically be fall colours at this time of year, but it has been extremely hot and dry here this year and some plants respond to stress in their own unique fashion. This one displayed its stress by turning bright red. That bright colour against the granite boulders made for a nice composition, in my mind.

It looks like this plant has been growing here for a few years, as you can see several dead tendrils in the background.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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“Black-Capped Chickadee on Branch” – Lynde Shores

Black-Capped Chickadee at Lynde Shores

There’s something strangely calming about these little  birds, so common in Southern Ontario. Which strikes me odd, since they are constantly flitting about and are rarely still.

In fact, they seem a bit nervous most of the time. Perhaps it’s moments like the one, captured above, where the chickadee is resting briefly on a branch that gives that sense of peace? A bit like many of our days, where we move rapidly from task to task and take a brief moment to pause.

Do we appear calm to our peers who also long for rest, or does our outward appearance betray the fact that, as we pause, we are only considering our next task?

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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