Friday, December 16, 2016
We live in what is traditionally called the Snowbelt, just enough miles inland from the Great Lakes that the transformation from wonderland to 'where the heck is the land' is a harsh reality. From now until April the potential is there for snowsqualls to swirl around us at regular intervals. Normal routine changes significantly and travel is risky. Driving through whiteouts is like a sudden plummet into a milk bottle.
We know it's coming, but we're never really prepared. After a bit of a slow start compared to some years, snow began to fall about a week ago, albeit with a festive gentleness. Then yesterday the portals opened above and a deluge of flakes fell while a nasty bitter wind blew them into a frenzy. Life as we know it here pretty much came to a standstill as roads closed, businesses shut down and events were cancelled.
Tucked away, we listened as this late autumn blast raged outside. Then, this morning, while preparing for work, a quick glance out a front window revealed to me the beauty of the calm after a storm. A thick coat of snow had reshaped one of our younger maple trees into something more closely resembling a weeping willow. From the road it framed our front door with its Christmas finery, while strange clusters drooped from the roof above. It was the type of winter pattern that fascinates me. It's Mother Nature as Michelangelo.
She playfully displays her artwork, with a helping hand from Jack Frost, on windows and on hydro lines. She provides the palette on which animals and people create the abstracts. You don't have to like everything she does, but there's no question that when you look beyond her occasionally intense outbursts, she can give us a winter that's positively stunning.
I'm crossing my fingers that she has gotten all of this out of her system for a while. At least until Christmas is behind us. Too many loved ones on too many roads.
In the meantime, I will be able to take advantage of her creativity and have some photography fun. I was already inspired this morning with that quick look back at my home but had neither the energy nor the time at the moment to grab my camera. Hopefully it's still there when I get home so I can capture that particular bit of nature's artwork before it's gone. Just as the talented photographers did in these lovely collections of winter photos:
From icicles to footprints in the snow, here's 80 pictures that offer a closeup look at what remains after Mother Nature and Jack Frost have their fun.
At any time of year, we marvel at the splendour of a spectacular sunset or sunrise. Captured in winter, colours glinting of frost and snow, they're beyond beyond amazing.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Trees are glowing, lights are twinkling. Yet, much remains to be done to get ready for the holidays. There are less than two weeks left to finish up the multitude of tasks that are part and parcel of the preparations for the festive season. There are gingerbread houses to be made and cookies to be baked. There are presents to be bought and wrapped. Parents are scurrying, minds full of thoughts, arms full of purchases, as they tick off items from their lengthy lists.
Of course, too, with few spare moments in a day, there are long lines to wait in as little ones are anxious for their chance to whisper in Santa's ear.
Though Dec. 25 is still a little ways off, the parties and gatherings have already begun. From workmates to friends and extended families, everyone has social events to attend as part of the holiday celebrations.
Such a wonderful, crazy time of year.
One of things I've done to lighten the load a bit, and to put my money to better use, is replace the annual Christmas card with an e-Greeting. The cash I save is donated to charity and the message delivered is no less heartfelt. With the wonderful images you can find online to decorate your greeting, it's sure to be attractive and suitable for the season.
While you can set just about any tone with a static image — from formal and elegant to chipper and cute, there's another option that really puts some Christmas magic into your holiday messages or your website design. Images, such as those found on AnimationFactory infuse your work with life and colour. And the choice is as diverse as with any clipart. Here are just a few suggestions:
If you think you're busy, imagine how hectic it is at the North Pole these days. Adorable elves would add just a touch of fun to your mailings.
Nothing expresses the joy of giving and the magic of the season like jolly old St. Nicholas.
Santa's reindeer always bring delight to the faces of youngsters and truly convey the wonder of imagination.
The beautifully decorated trees that warm our homes during the holiday season represent life.
As said, these are just a few examples to be found at AnimationFactory Besides animations the website also offers video backgrounds, sounds and power clipart. Wonderful variety for this wondrous time of year.