Spring Has Sprung!

I love winter. Not because I ski or skate or carve ice sculptures. I love it because, for me, it is a restful and most welcome season of recuperation, contemplation, reflection, meditation and hibernation.  Usually I watch winter’s retreat with some small measure of melancholy at the corresponding loss of my own inner quiet time, but not so this year.  This past winter, with its many dark-clouded days and the deep, relentless cold, was long enough even for me! Though Spring has been slow to arrive in these parts, arrive she did at last, just in time for Mother’s Day last weekend!

My husband surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and prepared a delicious gourmet breakfast. I enjoyed the morning with my family, but the warm sun outside beckoned, so in the afternoon, hubby and I went for a drive to Gatineau Park.

Flowers for Mother's Day

Flowers for Mother’s Day

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I am very fortunate to live so close to one of the largest and most beautiful natural conservation parks in the area. It covers 140 square miles of land and is located where the Canadian Shield meets the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Ottawa River meets the Gatineau River. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails, bike paths and cross country ski trails scattered throughout the park’s forests, as well as spectacular lookouts, beautiful picnic areas and clean lakes. I have been visiting Gatineau Park since I was a little girl and have very fond memories of driving the twisty roads in the summer heat with my Dad in his old ragtop corvette, and of walking with my mom in the crisp air to find leaves and pine cones to make crafts with, and of Saturdays spent x-country skiing in the winter with friends, and of hubby and me taking our own kids for walks and picnics there when they were younger. In fact, when it is time for me to continue on my journey after this lifetime, my family knows exactly where, in Gatineau Park, I would like my ashes spread from. 🙂

Me, 1976, Champlain Lookout

Me, 1976, Champlain Lookout

Me & my kids, 2001, Pink Lake

Me & my kids, 2001, Pink Lake

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This time when we went for our drive, we decided to visit an area of the park we’d never been to before — the McKenzie King Estate.  William Lyon Mackenzie King served a total of 22 years as Canada’s Prime Minister, from 1921 to 1930 and again from 1935 to 1948. Upon his death, the unmarried King left his country retreat as “…a public park in trust for the people of Canada.” It is around this beautiful country Estate that the government established Gatineau Park.

There are some walking trails that lead from the Estate through the surrounding untamed woods, but the beauty of this particular area of the park lies in the groomed grounds of the Estate itself, which is home to many transplanted architectural “ruins” that King had brought to his country retreat from old stone buildings that were being demolished in nearby Ottawa. On seeing these ruins, I simply couldn’t help myself — visions of maidens and Muses and Fates began dancing in my head! I knew immediately that I would have to find a model with enough courage to don a long flowing robe and brave the gawking stares of strangers to pose for me on the ruins while I snapped photos for my references! LOL, yes, I am serious! In fact, thankfully, I have someone who I think would be quite happy to model for me under such conditions, and I hope to be able to get the reference shots I want in the coming weeks. Here’s a little taste of some of the ideas dancing in my head …

Can't you just see

Can’t you just see her standing there in the centre? Artemis, with head tilted back in gratitude and arms raised to the sky in worship of the beautiful day?

Can't you just see

Perhaps this is where Gaia sat in contemplation of the beauty around her?

Can't you just see

Does a captive maiden look out longingly from one of these enchanted windows?

Can't you just see

I’m certain this is where the bereaved princess came to mourn her slain knight.

Can't you just see

Is this the home of the three Fates?

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I will be extra busy for the next little while painting up a storm to get ready for the largest outdoor art festival in my area coming up in June, The New Art Festival. Will hopefully have a couple of new paintings to show by next weekend. In the meantime, I wish you a happy, creative and sunny week! 🙂

The snapping turtle we rescued from the middle of the road on our drive through the park.

Snapping turtle we rescued from the road on our drive through the park.

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5 comments to Spring Has Sprung!

  • lynn robillard

    This is so nice Lissa!!
    Beautiful old pictures. Thanks.xxoo

  • WendyB

    wonderful photos..lovely words to view them by..
    will try to visit more often xx

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Lynn and Wendy 🙂 xox

  • ohhh yes, i can definitely see these ruins in some future artwork of yours!! they are VERY cool…especially love that first one!!

    that turtle doesn’t look very happy considering you saved him!!! 🙂

  • Kathryn, aren’t they cool? I was just completely swept away into fantasyland when I saw them! haha yeah that little fella was NOT at all pleased about being plucked from the middle of the road and placed safely on the grass for his photo shoot! Hubby let him go in the nearby lake once we’d taken our fill of pictures hehe