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Saturday 24 February 2024

Now and when

It was an eventful week as I had the first major dental procedure in over forty years. Over those years I always had two dental check-ups a year and cleanings but I didn’t have fillings or any other work. I have had a sensitive area of my teeth for some time which is normal as gums recede with age. Finally the sensitivity became aching and required expert attention.

It took some time for the dentist to discover cracks in a molar which had been filled over 50 years ago. I was glad not to have that huge mouth contraption holding my jaws open as was the case all those years ago. Apparently dentists have them to use to this day but not that day.

Age often draws attention to our senses. Cataract surgery repaired my eyes. Spice combinations added to food, awaken worn out taste buds. My teeth, an important part of oral health, are next obviously while my husband swears my hearing needs help too. That may be selective on occasion! Such are the joys of old age!

I remember a recent shopping trip and a couple we saw in the last supermarket we visited. We were at the check-out where my husband always empties the cart while I begin packing the groceries which he completes as I pay. I didn’t see the couple at the next check-out initially, busy with the regular routine as we were. I smiled at her then at him, as he maneuvered the wheelchair and his purchases. He was focussed on the task at hand.

She was fragile, wearing a mask over the years time had etched on her face. He spoke to her kindly, asking if she was alright as he laid the groceries on the conveyor belt. As he pushed the wheelchair ahead of him, one could see his hands were full.

Was it a stroke, cancer or any of a myriad of conditions which can disable us as we age? I imagined her in better times, when she was vibrant and busy, days not long enough to accomplish everything she planned. Her partner at her side, they may have raised a family together and would have worked hard to provide for them. All was in the past as he packed up the groceries and put the bags over the handles of the wheelchair and in a pouch on the back. He maneuvered all as he pushed the chair away from the check-out. 

While I live in the reality of an aging body, every day I am capable of participating in life is a gift. Despite the sensory issues and whatever else lies ahead, I will enjoy what is as long as possible!

Saturday 17 February 2024

Picture perfect

It was a picture perfect day, with the blue-grey overcast winter sky and calm winds which made it possible to hold the zoom lens without shaking. We were past due for a visit to the head of the bay this winter. We’d spent hours there last winter watching a convocation of Bald Eagles make lunch of geese who were unfortunate enough to fall prey to the gathered raptors. 

Along the bay, we paused at a couple of areas where I’ve been meaning to stop all winter. One wharf has a fishing boat tied up for the winter, encased by the ice which has frozen it in place. 

Owners of the Iron Horse are not concerned about her being crushed by the ice. This time next month, she will probably be free of the icy grip on her hull. A fishing vessel left in the winter ice is a rare sight here.

We also stopped at the new swing the city installed last summer which is popular with tourists and residents alike. No one was swinging that day as I aimed for the lighthouse through the swings. 

The expanse of ice which stretches atop the bay looks vast and barren, dwarfing the lighthouse at the entrance to the bay.

A smelt shack sits on the ice near the shoreline, offering shelter and a heat source by the look of the propane tank at the back. Fishers will sit in comfort as they catch smelts in the bay.

It is the only shack in this part of the bay this year, probably due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, going from mild to freezing so quickly. The little shack should be secure for the next week.

Island birding sites are abuzz with news of Bald Eagles nesting already this year. At the head of the bay, we can see that area’s nest across the bay on the opposite shore. 

Sure enough, a pair of mature eagles are in residence atop the nest, scanning the area.

I missed the shot of one taking off but later discovered it having a rest in a nearby tree. 

It didn’t stray far from its mate.

At the mouth of the Wilmot River nearby, a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneyes dived for fish as they enjoyed their island holiday. They are fun to watch among the geese and black ducks as they quickly dive into the depths.

We will return to the area soon!

Sunday 11 February 2024

A rare day

We had a three day storm last weekend and it took another day to dig out. Here is western Prince Edward Island, the wind was the worst part of the storm. While we didn’t have as much snow as the remainder of the island, the high wind caused drifting and white-outs. 

It was Wednesday before we walked the boardwalk again, and we weren’t surprised to see that the wind, which had been out of the northeast during the storm, had blown off-shore much of the ice, except that at the head of the bay.

By Friday, slushy ice was forming over the bay again. 

Before long all of the bay would be frozen again.

However, Sunday was a sunny day with 3 degrees C and it provided the look and feel of spring.

A pair of Mallards floated by the bridge 

and a small flock of American Black Ducks lined the banks of the stream, enjoying the rare February day. 

The weather is turning cold again this week but the taste of spring this past weekend was lovely.

Sunday 4 February 2024

Blue on blue

February arrived calmly, without the howling wind, so we had two pleasant days walking the boardwalk. Saturday the high winds arrived and with just a few centimeters of snow, it made our walk impossible. Since then, exercise has been relegated to indoors . This is the third day of the storm and while the western part of the island didn’t have as much snow, the drifting from the high winds with what we did have, resulted in white-out conditions which continue today.

On one of the calm days this past week, the Blue Jays put on quite a show along the boardwalk. Two of the regular walkers brought a supply of peanuts they left for the birds and squirrels at the birdhouse overlooking the salt marsh. The Jays wait nearby for them every morning.

That morning, walkers stopped to take in the scene as Jays hurried to the rail of the bridge. 

The birds lined up for their chance at the raw peanuts and those in shells. 

After each acquired peanuts, raw or shelled, they flew off to stash or consume them.

Black-capped Chickadees waited in the trees for any peanuts the Jays might leave. No chance of that! The Jays took all the peanuts but a Red Squirrel came by to check for himself anyway. He ate some of the birdseed from the feeder.

Meanwhile further down the stream, two American Black Ducks were mere silhouettes in the bright sunlight. 

On the other calm day this month, the view from the bench was peaceful with the Confederation Bridge visible at sea level on the left. The winter sky was barely distinguishable from the frozen sea. 

We wonder about the animals through all of this bad weather. We will take peanuts with us when we can return to the boardwalk.