The Water Garden


TheWaterGarden3The steady persuasion of spring where the trees meet overhead and the water divides below. You can sit in the freckled sun here, beside the water garden, and the birds will taunt you, posing only for a second before flitting off and then returning to a new perch. There are no other voices.

From the series Surface, Submerge.
© Karen McRae, 2013

What Water Does

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
― Loren Eiseley

MosaicSeedhead_LollipopAbove and below: Seedheads covered in ice from freezing rain – the patterns develop as the ice starts to melt away and break up into smaller pieces.


FrostFeathersFrost flowers develop when it is very cold and the air is quite moist. The ones pictured here formed on thin ice at the edge of the river near open water, on a night when the temperature dipped to -25C.
FrostLeafAbove: A tiny branch with phantom ‘leaves’ on a cold winter morning.
Below: A small frost formation on a window. WindowFrostFormations2

CandleIce4The Ottawa River shifting through the seasons.

Rapids1I sometimes find it difficult to shift my visual thinking/creativity away from the winter landscape in the spring. For me it holds a bit of magic like no other season. The key to these transformations is water. From raindrops to snowflakes, to ice and frost, is there anything with more imagination than water?

The landscape is mostly shades of brown now with small bits of green trying to emerge through the damp earth. The river has lost its ice. Most of the photographs here have been posted on these pages before, some even from the previous winter, so I guess this is a bit of a recap (or an ice cap), but together they attempt to illustrate, and to let go of, the season that has just passed.

Also, on Monday April 22nd it will be Earth Day! In 2013 the focus is on climate change and how it is impacting people, creatures and environments the world over. You can learn more (and participate) by going to the Earth Day website. It is our collective voices and actions that make changes.

What are your plans for Earth Day?



© Karen McRae, 2013

Residuals 2



LastIce8A little extra winter here the past few days but I don’t think the remainder of ice on the river can last too much longer. The coming days look to be shifting into real spring.






BearTracks1The footprints made by a black bear who has been walking near the river were quite distinguishable in the fresh snow. It’s not too often a bear would be wandering in this area so close to the city but there are corridors of greenspace and waterways that are well used by wildlife. It’s one of things that makes this city so interesting.

© Karen McRae, 2013

We are all longing

…to shed our winter coats.WinterWraps5





WinterWraps3Wrapped trees found along a highway. Sometimes you will see the newly planted trees wrapped like this to protect them from the harsh weight of winter. I really don’t know how effective it is.

I documented some smaller and very different looking ones last year. You can see that series here. After the drought that occurred here last summer many of the trees along the highway look as though they are struggling.

© Karen McRae, 2013