Sunrise on a Crisp December Morning

Back in the early 1990s, I was working at a camera shop, developing film, printing photographs, taking pictures of the mall Santa Claus with kids and doing general duties of an assistant manager of a one-hour lab. I began working there because of my love of photography.

While I learned a lot about this area of the art, I wanted to expand my skill with my 35 mm camera. At that time, night courses were all the rage. I’m not sure if they are now, but even 15 years ago, they had been, and I had been an instructor on several of them.

Anyways, Dartmouth offered a wide-range of night courses for fall, winter and spring. This included photography. Ryerson Clark, who I believe lived in Halifax, was our instructor. I signed up for all three courses he offered, completing one then going onto the next.

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Snow, Snow and More Snow for “A December Knight”

Yesterday, we woke to about 8 inches of snow that had fallen over night, and it was still snowing. Roads were covered, wind was blowing, car accidents were happening. It’s winter weather in Nova Scotia even though winter doesn’t officially arrive for almost two weeks.

Schools were closed, and highway plough trucks worked to clear the roads, throwing it 20 feet into the air and spreading it over the front yard. Private plough truck operators were also out, some probably since midnight.

Snow, or should I say, snow storms play a major role in A December Knight. After all, it takes place in December in Nova Scotia. The province can go from one extreme to the next, one year having only a few small snow storms in winter to having a few feet fall in one day. In this Christmas romance, it’s a very snowy December.

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Our First Dusting of Snow

Winter is on our doorstep and creeping into the garden. Earlier this week, I tucked in the garden for the season. The only thing left to do is cover up a few plants with evergreen boughs when the temperature remains mostly around zero degrees.

On the morning of November 18th, we had the first dusting of snow. It didn’t stick around long, but I captured a few images in the garden. I’ll share them here.

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What could go wrong if I block out the sun?

What do you think? Is this a good premise for a short story? Is it believable or science fiction?

The story opens with the population on planet Ragstone worried their planet is getting too warm to support life. For millions of years, the temperature had risen and fallen, at times being completely tropical and other times being gripped by an ice age with thick ice across the land.

The climate on this planet is constantly changing. Core samples taken at various locations reveal that sometimes it’s warmer than it is right now, and sometimes it’s colder. Still life goes on. The humans on this planet have been around in their current form for more than 200,000 years. That’s a pretty long time, and they’ve survived the heat and the cold because humans adapt. It’s one of the things they excel at. The weak succumb, but the strong adapt and thrive.

Most people on Ragstone don’t know about the planet’s climate history; they just believe without questioning those making claims the temperature is rising and all life is at risk.

Along comes a man, who is known for his intelligence but not his wisdom. He’s a geek and has been bullied in his early years because, let’s be honest, he’s weird. Let’s call him Will.

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A Snowy Saturday in Pictures

Several inches of snow fell yesterday and into the overnight. Here is what New Scotland looks like on a snowy day. The morning was crisp at -14 degrees Celsius. That’s 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The sun was just below the horizon and rising quickly.

Five minutes later, the sun crest the horizon and bathed the land in warm light.

The thick clouds sharpened the rays.

By the time I had fed the critters and started on my walk, the sun had risen behind the clouds, leaving the heavily-laden branches under grey skies.

The clouds were expansive and with lots of texture.

The donkeys were more interested in hay than they are in me.

The fresh snow revealed the many visitors that had passed through during the night, including one busy fox. Or maybe it was more than one. There were an awful lot of tracks along the trail, in and out of the woods, around the hayfield and through the donkey pasture.

Happy Saturday. Stay warm.

Thoughts on Plants and People

As I strolled through the garden, I admired the deep green leaves of the thyme, parsley and creeping phlox, indeed some strawberry leaves were still vibrant and green. They contrasted sharply with the bare branches of plants that had long lost their leaves when temperatures dipped below zero.

I wondered what allowed some leaves to survive while others succumbed.

Then I wondered if people were like plants: some endured and thrived in hardships while others perished in a light frost.

The pansies still blooming beneath a thin layer of snow on December 10th.

Thyme, strawberry and dandelion still green on December 10th.

Winter is only 11 days away, yet these plants are still green. Given the lack of daylight, they’re probably not growing at any rate. They’ve endured temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius, freezing rain and snow.

My lettuce — the first time I planted a fall crop — is doing well. I cover it with a small frame with plastic. It’s doing fine, but there’s not much growth. I doubt it will survive the below -10 temperatures we’ll get soon.

Lettuce undercover. Photo taken December 8th.

The lettuce under the cover.

The garden never fails to entertain. I love being in it in every season.

Winter in the Land of Ath-o’Lea

Winter, or as they call it in the Land of Ath-o’Lea Forstig and Wintertide, is a rough time to be travelling The Trail. The group wakes up covered in snow on more than one occasion, and the wind whips into their face while they’re riding.

While writing a scene, I always have to be aware of the weather. The big question is: Is there snow on the ground? It can change everything.

For example, a scene in Revelation Stones, book 3, has Isla wearing a cape that makes her invisible. She arrives through a portal and steps outside to learn where she is. The snow complicates things:

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Seasons in the Land of Ath-o’Lea

In the Land of Ath-o’Lea, there are six seasons that make up one succession. In general, the seasons correspond to the northern hemisphere months as such: Wintertide (January/February), Spring of Leaf (March/April), Springan (May/June), Sumortide (July/August), Harvest (September/October) and Forstig (November/December).

The longest day of the year is called Sumortide Solstice. The shortest day of the year is Wintertide Solstice.

winter
Wintertide in the Land of Ath-o’Lea

Winter is the Night

Sun shineWhen I was young and snow covered the ground, I walked into the woods and listened. The stillness fascinated me. It was as if the world had stopped, as if I were the only one walking Earth.

Is there night when snow is upon the ground? Is there darkness? I don’t ever recall it being too dark to explore. It seemed as though the snow lit the forest and provided enough light to mark my way.

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