Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for May 2010


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The sun is warm on my back. I am sitting at a picnic table at the edge of the Visitor’s Centre of MacGregor Point Provincial Park. It is the day before the beginning of The Huron Fringe Birding Festival. I’m here to help set up the Registration Tent…actually it’s more like one of those large steel-framed-plastic-covered garages that pop up on driveways all over town come fall. What with all the volunteers, though,  it was up in no time.

Now, I’m whiling away the morning until N. finishes with some organizational details for opening day tomorrow.

The Chickadees are feeding out of my hand. They stay in the park year-round and have no fear of people baring food. Actually, they expect handouts.

It is a spectacular day. Cool and sunny. Traces of wispy cirrus clouds are lying high in an unbelievable blue sky. I walk the trails just to waste time. It is forest-quiet except for bird sounds and bellowing bullfrogs. A turtle sunning itself on a log plops into the pond as I attempt a stealth approach. Overhead a red-winged Blackbird chases a crow. They dive, wheel and bank out over the water in tight formation…aerial acrobatics. The Blackbird wins.

Looking down I spot three brilliant yellow Lady’s Slippers. One must tread carefully out here. The spring wildflowers are starting to show.

Over the next two weekends I won’t be looking at birds. I will be spending a lot of  time looking at nature and the land, hiking the Huron Fringe coastline of Lake Huron and the Bruce Peninsula and trying to learn all about nature photography.

If my pictures are any good, I’ll show them to you. And if this beautiful country shows me anything special, I’ll tell you about that too.


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A long line of muddy water flows out from the harbour into the lake making its way to Chantry Island. It blends with the variying shades of blue and turquoise that line the lake – lighter near shore and darker off towards the horizon.

There is a hint of wind. Just enough to rustle a little surf near shore.The Big Flag isn’t up yet. Next weekend probably. The small flag that’s been there all winter just droops around the pole.

Cars and motorcyles are parked around it. People are out walking. A few chuildren are playing. The odd sunbather is getting an early start on their tan.

The shadow of a gull glides across the freshly raked sand. Following its path eventually leads to a view of it circling in for a landing. It lowers itself effortlessly to the beach and immediately begins to call and scream as only gulls do. It spreads its wings and struts along the sand. They like to announce their presence. You would think that the beach was cleaned and graded just for him.

Not so.

May 24 holiday weekend in only days away. This first official pre-summer holiday will bring in the out-of-towners. And that’s why the snow fences are gone…why the board-walk has been sweep clean…why the benches have been dug out from under the winter sand drifts…why the barricades are up around the few dunes with new beach grass. The “No BIkes – No Dogs On The Beach” sign warns of a $!50.00 fine for transgressors. But, as in seasons past, people will ignore it.

We are getting ready for the summer influx. The crowds with come. Our simple little town will probably double in size. The quiet will disappear and the sound of tourists and summer people will dominate. Good for business…but you’ll have trouble finding a place to park on HIgh Street.

Right now, though, the folks we meet are all smiles. The sky is an unbelieveable blue. The sun is warming. Life will change…but only for a few months.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

May 16, 2010 at 4:29 PM