Saturday night’s show

Aurora Borealis (panorama)

We went down to Bois­se­vain on the week­end to help out with the Dun­rea Flea Mar­ket[1]It rather out­grew the avail­able space in Dun­rea., and stayed over at our friends’ farm­house a few miles south of town. There were a few shows put on by the North­ern Lights that night; I caught one of them. They danced for about 20 min­utes while I watched. Here are some of the pho­tos I got.

I tried to cap­ture a panora­ma, to show just how much of the sky was involved. Unfor­tu­nate­ly my image-stitch­ing pro­gram balked at cre­at­ing a panora­ma; the auro­ra were mov­ing too much for the soft­ware to find sim­i­lar­i­ties in the pho­tos. I man­u­al­ly aligned them instead.

Aurora Borealis (panorama)

And I did up a quick time­lapse. The 33 sec­onds of video rep­re­sents about 33 min­utes of pho­tos, each one a 5‑second exposure.

When the show was wind­ing down, I turned around and saw that the Milky Way was high above the farm. One more pho­to, I thought, then I’ll go inside.

The Milky Way above the farm

Foot­notes

Foot­notes
1 It rather out­grew the avail­able space in Dunrea.

Writing Retreat 2022: Wrap-up

How’d I do against my goals?

  • write at least 10,000 words in “Dried Flow­ers”: Check. The nov­el went from 33,000 words to 45,000.
  • get some astropho­tog­ra­phy done. Check: see below.
  • read some books. I read the last chap­ter in Fugi­tive Teleme­try, the last 6 chap­ters in The Book of the New Sun, and made my way a bit over half-way through Catch-22. Also, I bor­rowed the next Sand­man col­lec­tion from one of the library’s online resources, and read a cou­ple chap­ters in it. 
  • ride my bike. A lit­tle; one 6km ride and a few quick runs across the dam into town to go to the cof­fee shop, so as to use their wifi.
  • go kayak­ing. I got out on the water on Thurs­day and Fri­day, for a total of about 8½km.
  • relax. Yes? I had a hard time sleep­ing past 7 am, but oth­er­wise it was a relax­ing week.

All in all, this was a good retreat. As always, I wish it had been longer, but you know what they say: so it goes.

Series: Writing Retreat 2022

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Goals; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Mon­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Tues­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Wednes­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Thurs­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Fri­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Wrap-up.

Writing Retreat 2022: Friday

In the morn­ing I wrote my 1,000 words after break­fast, then read a few more chap­ters in Catch-22. Man, that book is con­vo­lut­ed; I think it’s a good re-read, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that my cur­rent project is some­what non-lin­ear too.[1]It crossed my mind, as I was in the kayak, that Peace and Jacob’s Lad­der will also have inter­est­ing things to say to me, as I write this tale. But I think I’ll wait till the first draft is done.

After lunch I went to the cof­fee shop to post yes­ter­day’s mis­sive, then—since the weath­er was, if any­thing, more love­ly than yesterday—I took the kayak out onto the lake again. As I was return­ing, I checked my dis­tance, and found I’d gone 4.31 km. I decid­ed that anoth­er quick pass by the pub­lic beach/floating play struc­ture and back should eas­i­ly add anoth­er 0.69 km, and I was right—my final dis­tance as I beached my craft was just over 5 km. I can live with that.

I read a bit more, had supper—the last of the burg­ers I bar­be­cued, which leaves only 6.02×10²³ smok­ies, cool cool cool. And now I’m about to start writ­ing, with a glass of iced cof­fee[2]Made from the dregs of my morn­ing cof­fee, poured into a glass and stored in the fridge, where it devel­oped a thin skin of ice. beside me.

The sky was cloud­less after dark, so I packed my gear and head­ed north for a few kilo­me­ters. I found a nice dark spot on a side road just before the entry to the riv­er val­ley, and shot some pho­tos of the Milky Way again.

Sample

She walked toward the lake. Her san­dals filled with sand, fine and soft as talc, annoy­ing her. She took the san­dals off and car­ried them, loop­ing their straps over her mid­dle and index fin­gers and crook­ing her hand into a loose fist at her side. The san­dals’ heels thumped her thigh soft­ly with every step, which was a dif­fer­ent kind of annoying.

At the edge of the water the sand dark­ened, not because it was wet, she saw, but because words had snagged in it, lay flat on it: water-coloured sans-serif let­ters over­lap­ping in sense­less pro­fu­sion. A mil­lion thes and as and saids in blue and aqua­ma­rine and smoke grey were scat­tered as far as she could see, and tens of thou­sands of words less common—less invis­i­ble as one of her edi­tors had put it—were lay­ered below and above, fresh­ly deposit­ed or soak­ing into the sand, dark­en­ing, dis­ap­pear­ing: birth, house, joy, spar­row, rose, for­mi­da­ble. Soft wavelets made of bluish words capped with small white word­caps dropped new words as she watched, the white foam of win­dow whirl bribe fad­ing, dark­en­ing, becom­ing part of the great smear of words.

She set her san­dals down where the sand was still heart­break­ing­ly bright, where the waves had­n’t come in and crest­ed and crashed only to recede. Where the paper was still unblem­ished, the page still holy and blank. She walked into the water; no, the lake of words.

Water isn’t wet, she remem­bered some­one telling her, after some­one else had made the “water wet, fire hot, sky blue” joke at some TV report about a new dis­cov­ery that was painful­ly obvi­ous if you just applied com­mon sense. Water makes oth­er things wet, but wet­ness, he told her, jab­bing a fin­ger to make his point stick (and it must have worked, because here she was think­ing about it) is not an intrin­sic prop­er­ty of the water itself.

The words touched her and did not feel wet, did not wet her ankles or (as she pro­gressed) her calves. They clung to her as water would, mold­ing them­selves against her shapes. She felt tran­som and for­get and peace against the backs of her knees, in amid the whirling yeses and saids and thes. She walked fur­ther, deep­er. Her skirt did­n’t cling against her as it would in water, but the words crowd­ed onto its dark fab­ric too. The tail of her blouse was dec­o­rat­ed with now and togeth­er, dried and he.

She took a breath and ducked under the surface.

Series: Writing Retreat 2022

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Goals; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Mon­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Tues­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Wednes­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Thurs­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Fri­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2022: Wrap-up.

Foot­notes

Foot­notes
1 It crossed my mind, as I was in the kayak, that Peace and Jacob’s Lad­der will also have inter­est­ing things to say to me, as I write this tale. But I think I’ll wait till the first draft is done.
2 Made from the dregs of my morn­ing cof­fee, poured into a glass and stored in the fridge, where it devel­oped a thin skin of ice.

Colour photo of a greyscale world

Snow on the windowpane

Today was the start of the bliz­zard ’round these parts. I took this pho­to of the lacy snow on my front pic­ture win­dow at about 1:20 PM, after I’d shov­eled the walk for a sec­ond time.

The snow keeps com­ing, but not as bad here as oth­er places; I’d be hap­py, though, if the wind would just die down a bit. I guess that’s what I get for liv­ing on the prairie.

Nerdy details: 50mm, f/2.8, 1/4000s, ISO 100.

Aurora at the end of March

Aurora, March 30th, 2022

The auro­ra data looked good and the sky was clear, so I packed up my camera—grabbing, at the last minute, my 50mm lens, think­ing I’d maybe get some shots of Ori­on with it—and head­ed out to find a dark spot.

10 min­utes north­west of town, I stopped on the side of a grav­el road and got set up. There was a faint haze to the north which, to the cam­era, was green (my eye saw it as grey). The data showed that there should be a bit more activ­i­ty in about a half hour, so I start­ed snap­ping pho­tos. Ini­tial­ly I was tak­ing pho­tos at 10 sec­ond expo­sures. As the night wore on I dropped that to 5 sec­onds, then 2.5 and final­ly 2. (I took a few frames at 1 sec­ond with my f/1.8 lens, but they were a lit­tle dark­er than I like.)

Here’s the results.

It was even vis­i­ble in town, if you knew what you were look­ing at. This pho­to was tak­en on my street, just before I went back in the house.

Aurora, March 30th, 2022
It was even vis­i­ble in town.
A short timelapse
Panorama of aurora

Added: I took a few pho­tos for a panora­ma to show how wide the show was. This stretch­es from the west to the east; the road vis­i­ble on the far left and the far right is, in fact, the same road.

November bike ride

I went about 26km on my bike today. I sus­pect that’ll be the last ride of 2021.

  • Orange hearts on the hillside
    The site of Bran­don’s res­i­den­tial school
  • A broken tree
    Parei­do­lia makes me see a face in here
  • The Brandon water tower
    The ol’ water tower

Series: Bike Ride Photos

The entire series: Down by the riv­er; Bike ride birds; The ex-gar­den and the weir; Snap­shots of a ride; Across Town; Black­bird; North Hill cam­pus; Lilacs and coun­try roads; A pop of colour; Back lane flow­ers; More Breniz­ers; The riv­er is high; A bird and a reflec­tion; Rideau Park; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 7; Writ­ing Retreat 2020: The Num­bers; Storm dam­age, sun­flow­ers; Eleanor Kidd gar­dens; Scenes from today’s ride; All right, autumn can be pret­ty; Bike ride, April 10, 2021; Bike ride wildlife; Bike ride, May 16, 2021; Some flow­ers for you; Lilacs; Under the bridge; A fence, a tree, and the sky; Tur­tle Cross­ing; Ceme­tery crit­ters; On Reflec­tion; Week­end rides; Upon Reflec­tion; Deer and paparazzi; Sep­tem­ber Bike Ride; Corn & Sun­set; On Reflec­tion: Oct. 1st; Autumn Trees; A bit of graf­fi­ti; Novem­ber bike ride; Geese; Day 30; Quack quack; Skin­ny deer; Mon­day bike ride; Sat­ur­day snaps; Deer + Flow­ers; Bike Ride — July 17, 2022; The mead­ow.

Autumn Trees

Trees in autumn colours

North of ACC.

I can’t decide which I like bet­ter. Do you have a preference?

Trees in autumn coloursTrees in autumn colours

Series: Bike Ride Photos

The entire series: Down by the riv­er; Bike ride birds; The ex-gar­den and the weir; Snap­shots of a ride; Across Town; Black­bird; North Hill cam­pus; Lilacs and coun­try roads; A pop of colour; Back lane flow­ers; More Breniz­ers; The riv­er is high; A bird and a reflec­tion; Rideau Park; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 7; Writ­ing Retreat 2020: The Num­bers; Storm dam­age, sun­flow­ers; Eleanor Kidd gar­dens; Scenes from today’s ride; All right, autumn can be pret­ty; Bike ride, April 10, 2021; Bike ride wildlife; Bike ride, May 16, 2021; Some flow­ers for you; Lilacs; Under the bridge; A fence, a tree, and the sky; Tur­tle Cross­ing; Ceme­tery crit­ters; On Reflec­tion; Week­end rides; Upon Reflec­tion; Deer and paparazzi; Sep­tem­ber Bike Ride; Corn & Sun­set; On Reflec­tion: Oct. 1st; Autumn Trees; A bit of graf­fi­ti; Novem­ber bike ride; Geese; Day 30; Quack quack; Skin­ny deer; Mon­day bike ride; Sat­ur­day snaps; Deer + Flow­ers; Bike Ride — July 17, 2022; The mead­ow.