Sundown

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

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Sundown II

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One evening, on a drive from Edmonton to Calgary, my brother and I encountered the tail end of a wicked storm and the most spectacular sunset. While he drove the car at highway speed I poised my Nikon D70 through the rolled down passenger-side window and let the shutter fly. Needless to say many of my captures are spectacularly out of focus. Still, I did manage a few that caught the intensity of that broad Alberta sky after a storm at sundown.

This image features elements of Edmonton International Airport in the foreground.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

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©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Where Light and Shadow Falls

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

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poppies

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This is top of mind right now due to the tragic events in Ottawa and Montreal this week, and the senseless killing of two members of Canada’s military by rogue terrorists. And, of course, with Remembrance Day around the corner, the plight of our military is certainly held more in our hearts at this time of year.

This image reminds me of the great sacrifice members of our military make in the name of peace. And not just the ultimate sacrifice of life, but often the loss of vitality in mind, body and spirit and the toll it takes on their families and relationships.

Equine experiential learning is also top of mind for me at the moment as I participate in, and learn to facilitate, this healing modality.

Programs are available to help military veterans manage their PTSD and return to civilian life. For instance, Can Praxis out of Alberta, Canada and sponsored by Wounded Warriors of Canada is just one of many.

If I were to write a book about this it would be an inspirational collection of stories showing how the healing power of the horse has helped veterans reclaim their lives. I would put this image on the cover, perhaps with a superimposed image of a horse quietly grazing to illustrate peace and vitality and call it ~ “Where Light and Shadow Falls: Veterans’ Journeys of Healing by Way of the Horse” or something like that. The bulk of the proceeds would go toward supporting programs such as this.

It’s about reconnecting with the heart.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the poppy has the symbolic colour of the heart.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

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©Dorothy Chiotti …  Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

Waiting

 

Waiting

 

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My submission to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Week 27 takes us to sunny Spruce Meadows just south of Calgary, Alberta.

These children waiting with anticipation for the next horse and rider to appear for a big show jumping class in the main grandstand remind me of when I was a little girl with an insatiable passion for horses.

I started riding lessons at age 10 at a stable in north London, England. When I wasn’t at the stable I was reading horse books, leafing through the Moss Bros. equipment catalogue ad nauseum, making copious lists of horse names and colours and temperaments, and playing show jumping in the back yard with my best friend, pretending we were horses and launching ourselves over home made obstacles constructed from brooms and buckets and anything else we could find that would serve.

And certainly, I was daydreaming of having a horse to call my own one day ~ one I would keep in the shed in the back yard and gallop around the local park. 😉 (I had to wait 33 years for my dream to come true ~ minus the shed, etc. See my blog Musings of a Horse Mom for more about my experiences with my darling Shakespeare aka Bear.)

In the summer I would watch televised broadcasts from Hickstead ~ the main outdoor venue in England for the big show jumping events at the time (it still is, I think). In the fall I’d get special permission to stay up late the week the Horse of the Year show which, at the time was televised from Wembley Arena, not far from where we lived.

Occasionally, I even got to go. Oh the sights, the sounds, the smells … pure heaven!

I lived for the thrill of just seeing a horse (when I wasn’t at the stable) and being with the horses when I was there.

During the roller coaster of life I’ve fallen off the equestrian wagon a few times and had no contact with horses at all. It can safely be said that those were among the most miserable times for me. Separated from my passion I was denied an important part of my Self.

Official Portrait 2013A death in the family 20 years ago brought me back to the horse and, as it turns out, this free-spirited animal in all its beauty and wisdom has proven to be a catalyst for positive change and an important partner in my healing journey.

And it’s all because I was a little girl with a passion for horses.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

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©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

Prairie Relics

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

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For this challenge we’re visiting two locations in the Canadian prairies ~ the ghost town of Rowley and Heritage Park in Calgary, both in Alberta.

Since my family has roots in the prairies and I remember some of these things from when “I was a girl,” (I’ll differentiate ~ I’m not that old 😉 …), it’s fun for me to be able to share this with you.

Alberta Relics

These I do remember. There was a time when grain elevators could be seen all across the prairies ~ markers of the next town so you were never lost. As a child I found them very romantic and loved scanning the horizon for them whenever we were going for a drive. Their actual business was to collect and store grain until the next train rolled into town to pick it up.

Sadly you seldom see these wooden sentinels anymore. Most have deteriorated over the years and been demolished. In Rowley, however, these grain elevators have been restored and are a tourist attraction. Similar elevators exist in Heritage Park as well.

This CP Rail caboose is also a relic of the past. Up until the 1980s these manned rail transport vehicles were coupled to the end of freight trains as shelter for the train crew and as lookouts for safety issues.
I can remember what a thrill it was, as a child, to wave to the engineers stationed in the caboose as the end of the train went by. They always waved back.

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Relic II

No, I’m not old enough to have used one of these!

Captured at Heritage Park

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Manual Typrewiter

While this typewriter on display at Heritage Park does somewhat pre-date me, I am old enough to have started learning to type on a manual.
Carbon paper to type things in triplicate and no “auto-delete” button.
Those were the days. 😉

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Kitchen Relics

Stuff in the kitchen of the old rail station at Rowley.
This kind of shelf liner I recall from time spent at my grandmother’s.
Look at that wallpaper!!

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Tractor Relic

When I look at one of these old tractors (this one in Rowley) I always wonder how they got any traction.
Hmmm … guess this predates me too. 😉

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Relic Stairwell

Lots of relics here, but I’d like to draw your attention to this relic of a staircase nailed into a tree! You’ll find this in the middle of the old bank in Rowley, if memory serves.

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Team

Living relics of the past. You rarely see wagon teams anymore.
These beauties captured at Heritage Park.

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Thanks for visiting these old relics with me …

Dorothy

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©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2014

Shout Outs

The Quiet Image

The Rider

@The West Gate

@vanilla

six degrees photography

Threshold to Achievement

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

Standing on the threshold can mean a lot of different things. The threshold of a new career; new role in life; new home … and on.

For my interpretation I have opted to show a sequence of images depicting the threshold to achievement. A specific task lies ahead and before one can move on the task must be completed.

These images were taken at the Spruce Meadows Masters, Calgary, Alberta, a few years ago, and show an equine athlete and his showjumping partner mid-course negotiating one of the more challenging obstacles ~ the Derby Bank.

Here goes …

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 On the threshold

At the top of the Derby Bank the brave pair prepare to cross the threshold …

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 On the threshold II

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 Boldly they go …

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On the threshold III

Touch down!

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On the threshold approach

But there’s more …

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Over the threshold

A picture perfect leap over the threshold and then on to complete the course.

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Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

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Shout Outs

The Gravel Ghost

Exploratorius

Uncle Spike’s Adventures

Abandoned

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Hollow. Empty. Derelict. Broken. Unloved. Sad.

Feelings of abandonment reflected in imagery.

With a structure it’s possible for beauty to be found there. To use our imagination to create a place and time that tells us what life might have been before it disappeared.

With a person or animal abandonment produces a far more tragic result.

Sad stuff.

I don’t like to dwell on it.

Black and white

Let’s end with two abandoned kittens I rescued in 2012.

Where there’s life, there’s hope.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Shout Outs

A Busy Life of Leisure

ArtizenImages

Lost in Translation

Treasuring Inner Beauty

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

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Treasure

I’ve been collecting labradorite for years.

It is a beautiful and mysterious stone which, at first, appealed only to my eye. But when I learned of its healing qualities as well I realized that I was drawn to it because of the way it also spoke to my heart.

I have labradorite in almost every room of the house. Wherever we travel I look for a piece, either in jewelry or a rough or polished stone, to bring home with me. It’s only been on the rare occasion that I haven’t been able to find it.

The stone depicted is  one I purchased in a rock shop in Banff, Alberta. I always gravitate to the labradorite section of such a shop (in Banff there are many). Unless a person is aware of the qualities of the labradorite they’ll usually just walk by it because at first glance it looks like a grey stone with a bit of colour in it. But it is so much more.

I will spend several minutes oohing and aahing over each stone that tempts my eye. I will pick them up one at a time, cradle it, hold it to the light and watch as the stone comes to life, the luminescent colours dancing and playing between peacock blue and green and mauve or orange or whatever its particular essence holds. It’s totally mesmerizing.

I am a child again, searching for special rocks in a mountain riverbed that I can take home and add to my ever-growing collection.

In this shop I inspected a number of stunning pieces of various sizes and opted for this one because I liked that it was polished on one side and rough on the other. It’s about two inches high by one inch wide and another inch deep and can be held comfortably in my hand. As I didn’t have one like this in my collection I decided it would come home with me. I think it, along with another stone I selected, cost about $40. Now it’s priceless to me.

It wasn’t until I got it home to Ontario and had a proper opportunity to inspect and meditate on it that I realized what an incredible find this was for me. In fact, I have thought since that it wasn’t so much that I found the stone but that it found me.

I discovered that when I look at the polished side of the stone at a particular angle under a light source the impression of the head, neck, shoulder, chest and a raised front foot of a horse magically appear. If you look at the image here you’ll see it. I had to set the stone up carefully against the base of my desk lamp and cradle it with a lace doily to make it work, but it is clearly visible. Maybe you won’t see it right away, but it’s there. For reference, the nose of the horse is blue.

When I first noticed this it took my breath away. My passion has always been horses. Horses are an important part of my life journey. I couldn’t believe that a simple stone I’d picked up for one reason ~ its appeal to my eyes alone ~ actually spoke to me at a much deeper and more spiritual level.

So, as you might imagine, what might seem an incredibly boring chunk of Mother Earth to one person is actually a treasured piece of her inner beauty to me.

Perhaps this simple stone also illustrates the notion that beauty is not always obvious and is to be found in the most unusual places. All we need to do is open our eyes, and heart, and see it.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Shout Outs

Nature on the Edge

The Best Years Are

Living In The Moment

The Tonsorial Parlour

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

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Barber shops and beauty parlours ~ hubs of community gossip for as long as there’s been hair.

Calgary’s Heritage Park, Canada’s largest living historical village, depicts the history of Alberta during pioneer times.

A few years ago a barber shop/snooker hall (referred to in olden days as the “Tonsorial Parlour”) was moved to the Park from the village of Barons, Southern Alberta.

This building has been restored and outfitted to resemble the look of such an establishment in early 20th century Alberta.

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The image below is from our family archives and features my great grandfather, Steve McDonall (leaning on the counter), and two clients in his Tonsorial Parlour in Youngstown, Alberta in 1912. No doubt in the middle of a good chin wag.

Maybe discussing the sinking of the Titanic?

The Tonsorial Parlour

Of course, I cannot take credit for this image, but it was fun to show it for the purpose of this challenge anyway.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Shout Outs

roastbeefandrakija

Through The Luminary Lens

This, That and The Other Thing

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected … Times Five

A few things have unexpectedly caught my eye during the past year or so …

Light Fantastic

Early morning light casts its rays into the front hallway and mesmerizes our feline family members.

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Contemporary Art

While standing outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney last year I caught this parading Australian White Ibis stretching the point on contemporary art.

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Back to the Future

During a re-enactment of 1940s Britain this young woman steps back to the future.

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Back to Nature

A bottle, but no message.

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Ring of Hope

An unexpected sun halo, caught on my cellphone in late May 2012 while I was in Calgary to visit a loved one who’d attempted suicide.

I remember looking up while taking a walk and thinking “It’s a sign!”

A sign of hope, indeed.

My loved one survived, and is thriving.

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Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy 🙂

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©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Shout Outs

Snapshots & Smiles

ThatTimeIn.com

Zeebra Designs & Destinations