Category Archives: Sky

Solar Eclipse

Eclipse_2017 (114 of 118)

Early
Ghostly
Brightly
Briefly
Grey clouds gave an early, ghostly glow
Sun and moon peeked brightly, briefly, though

Eclipse_2017 (78 of 118)

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The Edge of the Earth

Florida (552 of 555)

Gentle waves lap at the beach
Then retreat out to sea slowly
Eager diners, plovers and sandpipers
Scurry about for a quick bite

All at once, it seems, the sun disappears
Drawing a straight dark line on the horizon
Separating midnight blue water
From an ever-darkening liquid copper sky

No wonder our planet was once flat
Or so our forefathers thought
Because way out there lies that boundary
Between what we see and what we must believe
The verge of consciousness, present and future
Between today and tomorrow, now and infinity

Stretched out further than our eyes can see
The last discernible word on the page
Where sailboats must surely end their voyage
Bow rising on the final whitecap, the instant
Before floating downward into the unknown
Having reached the edge of the earth…

Familiar Sights

Montreal Skyline at Dusk
The Montreal skyline at dusk, seen from the south shore.

Some things you never forget…
At the edge of the Saint-Lawrence,
The shadow of Mont Royal at dusk,
Montreal’s skyline painted on the sky.
Bridges stretching over the river:
Mercier, Champlain, Jacques-Cartier.
Umbilical cords, life lines of every day;
Links to memories of our youth…

Where we learned to skip stones on the water
Under the watchful eye of my father.
Giant laker ships sailing by, steaming on
We’d jump when their horn blared, scared.
Cast a red and white spoon, treble-hooked,
Fishing for the biggest northern pike,
But settled for a colourful perch, or the crappie,
Hook, line and sinker swallowed forever;
Long walk home, fishing pole on our shoulders.

 

Rising of the Night

 

SD2_ (961 of 1361)A corollary to Setting of the Sun

It was the time when night would rise from the gray waters of the [Saint-Lawrence] river.
“C’était l’heure où la nuit sortait des eaux grises du fleuve.” Jacques Poulin, Chat Sauvage

We are, well at least I am, creatures of habit. Often, if not always, we see things in the exact same way, and it would take quite a shock for us to think they could be otherwise. Such is the case with sunsets.

We have come to know and describe sunsets as an end—the end of day—likely because of the events that the term conjures, as that time of day when the sun reaches for the horizon, its light dimming, the colours of the sky changing, the night approaching. That time of day could also be know as “night rise;” we could describe dusk with reference to what the night is doing, instead of what the sun is doing…

Night Rises
Colours slowly dissolve, giving way to darkness
Creatures of the night shift about, mostly undetected
Movements become more deliberate, almost tentative
Sounds travel long distances to reach attentive ears
Stars brighten, twinkle, night visions
The black shroud wraps itself around our world
Signalling a time for sleep… Sweet dreams.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Maui (959 of 2119)

We stood high above the clouds
Surrounded by silence
Until a soft whisper of wind
Pulled us from our reverie
Drawing attention to a scene far below
Where, at the foot of the volcano
Raindrops mixed with bright sunlight
Creating this indelible image
A soft ribbon of diaphanous colours
For a moment, if you listened closely
You could hear a familiar island refrain
Carried by the unique melodic twang
Only a tenor ukulele could make

Makena (Big) Beach; A Ka nāpo’o ‘ana o ka lā (sunset) story, Part 3

Maui (805 of 2119)

The few white puffy clouds provided little respite from the mid-afternoon sun. When I started to sizzle, literally, I ventured out into the salty Pacific water to brave the strong shore-break waves of Big Beach at Makena State Park, on Maui’s southwest tip. I was surprised at how warm the water felt. I swam, I floated, I let the powerful waves carry me back to the shore, again and again. The turquoise water so clear, I could see my feet.

A little later, the young lady sitting on the beach a few feet from us went for a swim wearing her wide-brim straw hat, never losing it, not even once. Her long, powerful, even strokes propelled her down the beach; she swam gracefully, gliding across the water, all the while keeping that large hat on her head. She smiled at us on her way back to her spot in the hot sand. A connection. Kindred spirits for a short while, enjoying the hot sand, the refreshing water, the beat of the surf, and later the sunset.

I set up my tripod on the dune at the edge of the brush, getting ready for daylight to give way to dusk. I returned to my beach chair.

— Getting some good shots? the young lady asked, shielding her eyes from the bright sun.

Caught by surprise, a little, I snapped a couple more of the beach, and of my wife sitting on her beach chair.

— I did, thanks! How about you? She waved her smartphone with a thumbs up.

It seemed people left the beach too soon, like fans flocking from the arena when the outcome of the game is already decided; the home team won’t come back. Maybe that’s how beachgoers felt as the clouds moved swiftly across the sun, convinced the game was out of reach. I could count on the fingers of both hands the remaining faithful bystanders who weren’t keeping score. The bright red ball appeared to slide down the Kaho’olawe Island slopes, into the jagged edges of the darkening ocean.

— Good luck with those beach chairs! she said, as we walked away with the chairs still open (I had fussed with them a few minutes—the bad news bears—and capitulated, afraid to break them), the connection about to be broken.

A few hundred feet up the beach, I managed to “unlock” the chairs and fold them, letting out a scream of victory, pointing my fist to the sky. A wave. Goodbye.

Maui (816 of 2119)

A Ka nāpo’o ‘ana o ka lā (sunset) story, Part 1

Maui (917 of 2119)

The warm sand  cradles our feet and fills the space between out toes…

The sun’s dip toward the Pacific Ocean attracts many spectators on Kamaole Beaches, and on the low brick wall separating the beach from the road. Chairs, beach mats, tripods, cameras: ready for the show.

We spot a column of white spray on the horizon—a spout—and soon a second, indicating the presence of whales; turns out they like sunsets too. Mores spouts, fin slaps, a big splash and a fluke bring a certain sense of elation at spotting these giants of the sea, right there in front of us.

Maui (152 of 2119)a

They disappeared from sight, maybe watching the sunset while floating and swaying to the rhythm of the waves.

The sun dove straight for the Pacific without a splash or a fizzle and left everyone who’d been watching in a good mood. Sunsets have that magical effect on people…

I told you I loved sunsets…

Haleakalā Frozen in Time

IMG_0321

I met Hiu Lai Chong at the top of Haleakalā crater, on a crisp and clear February morning. I told the story of our encounter in an earlier post. Inspired and awed (I imagine, as I was) by the volcanic landscape, endless horizon, colours, sharp edges, puffy white clouds, contrasts, and the sheer surrounding beauty, she was painting the scene. Over the course of several hours, the crater was frozen in time on Hiu Lai’s canvas. Visible on the horizon are the cloud-shrouded tops of the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes, on Hawaii’s Big Island. A surreal landscape…

Thanks, Hiu Lai, for sending me the picture of your finished painting. I wish you continued success in your art. Mahalo! Aloha!

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Maryland oil painter, Hiu Lai Chong, paints the Haleakalā Crater in Maui, HI