Tag Archives: Adventure

Dusk to Dawn

lake-superior-44-of-50Copper-coloured Skies and Crashing Waves

I took these two photographs on the eastern shore of Lake Superior, at Agawa Bay a few weeks ago. The first at sunset, after a particularly violent storm raged for several hours, with high winds and heavy rainfall. The second on the following morning.
I have a special affection for the lake—Gitchee Gumee they call it—and its power…

How Long

The fury of the late afternoon storm hangs on
Reluctantly giving way to more peaceful conditions.
Not calm. Not yet.

Waves continue their pounding
Polishing millions of coloured pebbles
Shaping the shore mercilessly
As the sun sinks below the horizon.

Exhausted, I lay my head on the pillow
A lullaby, the west wind in the tall pines.
The surf softens, its energy waning.
With the rhythm of your heartbeat, sleep comes.

Morning arrives, your music still fills my ears
Drawn to the edge, I shiver. My breath hangs in the air.
Calm and serenity returned, but for how long?

lake-superior-19-of-32Mist shrouds Agawa Bay at sunrise


Superior Trek (263 of 297)
Daybreak on Union Bay in Ontanagon, Michigan, USA

What time is that exactly?
Dawn. Morning. Really early.
Your eyes deceive your mind,
Excite your imagination, awake your fears.

Stars twinkle in the western sky
Unaware of the oncoming wave.
Night will soon be a distant memory
Revealing the scenery, painting a new canvas,
Irradiating the landscape, warming the air.
Sun and shadows, collaborating artists
Exposing nature (life) once again.

I slept peacefully when
The rhythmic sound of the waves
Drew me to the shore, barely awake
To spy on the lake and the sky.
Why not call it “Nightbreak?”



Swallowed by the Ocean

SD2_ (368 of 1361)

Surf’s thunderous crashes, deafening
Crests lit by waning rays, shimmering
You ventured ever further, terrified
Stood, fell, emerged, froze, petrified

Held your breath, closed your eyes
Disappeared, an instant
You were gone, a moment
Lost, an eternity

On the sand, the wave died at my feet
On the edge, gold sliver, incomplete
We both watched with emotion
The sun sink in the ocean.

New York, New York


I spent a week in New York City in the middle of April, taking little bites from the Big Apple. I had been there once before, in July 2008, on a zoom-zoom visit with my two favourite ladies. Back then, we stayed in a fine hotel on East 64th, and took big bites; no time to waste. This time, we rented an AirBnB apartment in the East Village, took our time, and allowed the City to wrap itself around us. New York can do this very quickly.

I was a tourist—I surely looked like one—but never felt out of place. I soon realized that nobody pays too much (any?) attention, at least not in the areas I frequented. Everybody blends in, at least that is how I felt, free to take my camera with me wherever I went, free to wear whatever I felt like wearing. So I did! Loved it!

We walked until our feet ached…then we walked some more; that’s how I remember my first visit as well. It seems we only looked for a subway station when absolutely necessary, as a last resort, afraid to miss something on the surface while we whizzed by underground. We took the subway (and the bus) from the East Village to LaGuardia Airport on our last day. Daring. Again, something that seemed adventurous to my wife and I—a little out there maybe—proved to be a common occurrence for everyone else around us.

I love the New York architecture. There is nothing quite like it: an eclectic potpourri of cultures. The old and the new, the grandiose and the subtle, where brick and limestone meet steel and glass, where it seems every square inch of land is occupied, yet another structure emerges. So many contrasting epithets to describe it: bold, dingy, trendy, old-fashioned, artistic, practical, opulent, economical, functional, ornate, colourful, drab, bright, dark…

Born in a small town close to Montreal, and living in a relatively small city (compared to New York), I still find crowds a little intimidating, but very interesting. New York never disappoints from that perspective. A bit of a statistician, I choose three broad categories to  describe people I saw (on weekdays): going somewhere in a hurry, standing still, and tourists. Early on weekends, two new categories emerge and often combine: out for a jog/stroll, and walking the dog. While strolling in Central Park, a young jogger with bright pink runners approached me, handed me a small camera, and asked me to take a picture of her, pointing at the lake and the buildings she wanted in the background. She smiled, thanked me, and as she jogged away I added a new subset to my categories: people not from here, who live here, and who post/send photos to friends and family.

The trees lining the path had provided some protection from the elements, but as the rain intensified, we set out to find shelter. Eventually we made our way into The Met. What an experience! So much to see in so many galleries on four floors. One better leave a trail of breadcrumbs to avoid walking in circles, and to ultimately find the way out. I could not remember ever seeing such a collection of art and historical artifacts: pottery and coins, statues and paintings, furniture and sculptures… I don’t think a week would have been sufficient to take in all that the museum had to offer. Three hours left me a little dizzy, my sponge full, art saturated. Nevertheless, my visit to The Met made a lasting impression.

One World Trade Center also provided an unforgettable experience of a different kind. At 1,776 feet, the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere, the tower dominates the Manhattan landscape. Standing by the reflecting pools of the National September 11 Memorial, frozen in time, the waterfalls brought a flood of emotions and left me speechless. We then decided to make our way up to the Observatory; not for the faint of heart, the 60-second ride (that’s almost 30 feet per second) excites the senses. In a flash, we emerged at the top only to realize that the motto See Forever is very fitting. The view was absolutely breathtaking! The light-and-shadow combinations from the sun sinking towards the Jersey horizon and the clouds created an ever-changing panorama. Two hours flew by and soon we made our way back to the ground, the elevator ride virtually taking us away from the building, only to bring us back in a rush through glass and steel columns, just before the doors opened.

Back home and a few weeks removed, our visit to the City that never sleeps almost feels like a distant dream…

Here is a small sample of the hundreds of photographs I took, from the East Village to Central Park, the Guggenheim to the Met, Battery Park to Bryant Park, World Trade Centre to Empire State Building, and back. By foot or by subway, we criss-crossed Manhattan and wore out our soles, and truly enjoyed a week in the Big Apple.

Training Wheels


To be the proud owner of a new bicycle—one’s first brand new bike—sparks feelings that had been unknown up to now. Few events  will evoke such an overwhelming sense of freedom for a child. I still recall my first bike was a plain red CCM, equipped with a wire basket, that my mom had purchased with Gold Star stamps (an early incarnation of today’s more sophisticated customer loyalty traps, uh, I mean programs).

My first two-wheeler! Actually, it had four wheels when we were first acquainted. You’ll surely remember the two small wheels added to the rear axle to provide stability to the vehicle, and confidence to its rider… Their sound seemed sharper and louder than any fire truck or ambulance siren and thanks to them, your friends could hear you coming for miles. The bugle announcing the charge of the cavalry: “Look! Here he comes with his baby wheels,” usually followed by much pointing and jeering. The noise created by those two metallic discs rolling on the pavement, each with its own rubber outer belt designed to dampen the sounds, was deafening. They seemed to have been a design engineer’s mean way of inflicting deep shame to new young riders. At the time, I was convinced that the geometry was totally wrong: why would the two training wheels never touch the ground simultaneously? I figured it out soon enough.

Not surprisingly, young riders quickly learned to do without training wheels. A matter of pride and survival. A rider old or capable enough to do away with a tricycle soon learned that one more wheel simply would not do—not for long anyway. I soon learned to use my dad’s crescent wrench to loosen the bolts and remove these rackety accessories, although I had not mastered the tool sufficiently to avoid scraping my knuckles on the spokes as I tightened them back. Never mind, I was free! I could now join the two-wheeled “biker” patrol. Time to make a different kind of noise.

Soon, a much sought-after roar replaced the clatter of the training wheels. We fastened hockey and baseball cards, and even attached inflated balloons, to the bicycle’s forks using clothes pins in such a manner as to contact the spokes when the wheel turned. Children proved their imagination and capacity to innovate, replacing wet, mushy, worn-out cards with colorful waterproof pieces of plastic. What elation to feel like a rebel; what joy to ride in formation up and down our normally quiet street and around the neighborhood, rumbling, from street to street. Neighbors heard us coming. Our rolling thunder sowed panic and fear in the hearts of the kind folks who asked only for a little peace and quiet as they enjoyed their afternoon tea on the balcony. We were ready to conquer the world. Well, seriously, not really. We were just being kids.

Today, I chuckle at the thought of using my hockey and baseball cards to such an end. Surely I never used my Montreal Canadiens or Expos cards for my bicycle’s noise mechanism, but more likely doubles and triples of players from teams I did not care for.

Take those training wheels off and ride!

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Where it all started.
Where it all started.

Just over a year ago I decided to leave a consulting and leadership job I had really enjoyed for thirteen years (I had spent six years previously in management and nineteen years as a Canadian Forces air navigator). It was time for a change. I planned to continue consulting but I knew I wanted to get involved in other activities, give in to my passions that included photography, writing, music, motorcycling, and RVing. In search of happiness maybe. A little scary…

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