Every month I participate in a photo challenge with a group of (mostly) strangers.  We try to inspire each other to take better photos and to look at the world in a creative way.  This month, the challenge was “Thankfulness”.  Normally I post my photos to my Flickr steam, but this month, since there is a story to go with each photo, I decided that this would be a better platform to share just a few of the things that I’m thankful for and the images that go with them.

October was a good month to think about why I’m thankful.  Not only because of Thanksgiving, which is always a reason to reflect, but also, I think, because of the turning of the seasons and for other more personal reasons, which I’ll outline below.  Except for the last shot I didn’t take any photos this month specifically based on the theme, but when I looked through my photos from the past month a few stood out as especially illustrative of reasons why I’m thankful.


I’m thankful for little boys, and the moments like these. They found this big log in the forest and figured out how to work together to pick it up. I love the pure joy on their faces and how entirely excited they were that they managed to actually lift it and carry it along. I’m also thankful for the warm fall days.  There are warm days in the fall that are just perfection.  After the heat of summer it’s not so stifling, but the sun still has warmth, which is all the more welcome because we usually think that every warm day could be the last.  I’m also thankful that I was able to get out to enjoy so many of the warm days this fall.  Gatineau Park is only a 20 minute drive away.


Every fall I’m thankful for the beautiful colour of the leaves. Fall is such a special time of year (especially in Ottawa) because of the colours.  Also – coloured leaves are fun to photograph – so it’s always a great time of year to get out for a few walks with the camera.


I’m thankful for grand visions – The grand vision that led to the creation of this country, the grand vision to build a beautiful hotel that looks like a castle in the middle of nowhere.  I think that beautiful buildings can enhance our quality of life and it’s a shame that more things aren’t built with this standard of beauty in mind.   Although there are perhaps many reasons to not spend money on things like the Chateau Laurier and the Rideau Canal (and certainly many reasons like workers rights and health and safety that would cause these things to cost much more if they were built today), I’m glad they were built.  I’m also thankful to live in Ottawa, which has pockets of beauty like this that aren’t hard to find amidst a lot of urban ugliness and uninspired architecture and planning.


I’m thankful for every one of the people in this picture – my wonderful immediate family.  Every one of them is kind, generous, warm, caring, dependable and someone who I really enjoy spending time with. I feel very thankful to have a family that I really like.


For various reasons (which I will explain in my final photo)- I was very thankful to be able to take part in Ottawa’s “Plaid Parade” today – it was a group bike ride through Ottawa with a big crowd of people wearing plaid. Fun! (it’s supposed to be a Canadian take on the “Tweed” rides that happen in other places. The organizers figure that not as many people in Canada have tweed… but everyone has some plaid, somewhere in their wardrobe.) (if you have two minutes you should watch the video clip at the top of that link of last year’s ride… It’s beautifully done – How could you not want to participate?!). It has been a few years since I’ve taken part in any sort of group ride – I’d forgotten how fun it can be… It was a great afternoon. I brought my old camera… so didn’t get any wonderful photos. But enjoyed the experience.


Finally – I am thankful to be alive! Exactly a year ago I had a life-threatening medical emergency that required a trip to hospital in an ambulance and emergency surgery a few hours later. I couldn’t attend the plaid ride last year as I had just had the surgery a week prior and was certainly in no shape to get on a bicycle. So it was slightly symbolic for me to attend the ride this year – pretty much a year to the day after having the surgery. The photo is a cheesy selfie taken on my old camera, but the important thing is that I’m in it and I’m still here. And for that I AM very thankful.