Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Word-less Wednesday, Taking My Mood for an Ottawa Morning Walk, With Camera

 Today's word-less Wednesday around here, and I'm trying to save the prose for posts I've already promised. But I'm going to share soon some of the approaches that are helping me move through this time of transition between homes, moving from island to city, living in a temporary small space, not easily able to begin new projects nor even easily continue ongoing ones.
As you already know, one of the best things we've done so far is building in a week's getaway to a hotel in downtown Ottawa where Pater was working on contract (and from where I headed out for a mini-trip to Montreal).  Still, during those lovely days, despite getting to meet up with friends old and new (again, that's coming soon in another post), I had some moody moments -- not grumpy, but unsettled and tending to melanchony. One morning in particular, I started trying to explain to Pater and quickly realised that talking to a distracted-but-trying-to-be-a-good-listener husband wasn't going to help. Instead, I dressed quickly, made sure my iPhone was charged right up, grabbed my Olloclip with the 2x telephoto, and headed into the downtown streets while they were still quiet. The sun wasn't fierce yet, but was already playing some fun games with the glass surfaces of the downtown windows.
 Looking back at these photos, only a few days later, I'm thinking of how quickly I was absorbed in the process of really looking, getting out of myself and back in, all at the same time, if that makes sense -- re-seated in myself maybe?
 At any rate, these are a few of the photos from that morning walk, which took me eventually to the Byward Market for "un café au lait, s'il vous plaît, en bol." And by the time I got back to the hotel,  the day's funk was completely banished. . .


 Trying to figure out what it is I liked so much and found distinctive about Ottawa's downtown mix of architecture. Many of the newer buildings are pretty close to brutalist, if with a late-20th-century's surface-of-glass twist. Nothing terribly exciting. But there's something about the mix, as it stands right now at least, with the reasonably wide streets, and the juxtaposition of heights (not too much sky-scraping, really, and quite a few buildings at nine or fewer storeys. So sky gets to play a large part, and there's some cool play of rectilinearity against negative blue space. I like that very much.
 And artisanal finishes on older brick buildings, and the juxtaposition of old and new. . .  Throw in a bird or two . . .


 A very individual view of Ottawa, one Saturday morning in June. . .
and there are quite a few more photos were those came from. . .

Hope you enjoyed!
Now I'm wondering what you have in your toolbox for quickly moving yourself out of those moods that really don't deserve too much of your energy (Some sadness and anger and crankiness does need to be worked through rather than pushed to the side, I hasten to add -- I'm not talking about that right now). . .
Or we don't even need to chat. It's supposed to be word-less Wednesday after all. I never manage that particularly well, do I? And I do love to read your comments. . . 

21 comments:

  1. I like seeing these photos and also knowing a bit about the ideas behind them. I'm a wordy Wordless Wednesday type myself so no complaints here.

    I agree that getting into some kind of creative flow can be a good way to move past those temporary negative moods. For me the tricky part is always finding a creative pursuit where I can be somewhat unattached to the outcome, so the effort won't leave me just as frustrated as I started out if I'm unable to execute my creative vision. Ah, perfectionism!

    Though, maybe just walking around is a kind of creative flow, too.

    My daughter was in a minor funk Sunday night; somehow the predictable struggles engendered by kid on a sugar high + parents needing to wind down for the day + time constraints of bedtime canceled out the day's family canoeing outing and dinner out in her mind and she wouldn't be talked out of the idea that "everything" was "horrible." But later I went in to tell her it was time to put her book down for the night and she said to me, "Mom, do you think authors are magic?" I do indeed, but I wasn't sure what she meant. She explained that there are some books you can open up and begin reading, and they immediately cheer you up no matter what. So. Thank goodness for Roald Dahl when we need help managing our moods.

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    1. I do think that walking around is creative in and of itself -- good point. Funny that the camera makes it more "purposeful" and "productive" for me. Why do I so often need that aspect?
      I love this anecdote about your daughter -- wonderful that she's learned this already about books!!

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  2. I have had a few moments to shake out myself this spring. Most of it has been done through running or busying myself with other things, such as loosing myself in blog reading :-) till the mood passes. At times I worry about "unprocessed" emotions but they will work their way through.

    I think you are going to have a remarkable time now that you are in the city. It will just be a different type of remarkable than your life on the island. Adjustment and happiness will find you soon!!!

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    1. Yes, those "unprocessed" emotions do seem to insist on making themselves known when they're ready.
      Thanks for the encouragement about the urban adjustment -- I think you're right, thanks!

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  3. A walk, a book, a bath. Triad of happiness.

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    1. that works for me. The walk was up to Peers Cave with a good friend. The book is Oryx and Crake.

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    2. So much we share in this community -- walking and reading and friendship. . .
      Diana, is that the Peers Cave in South Africa? And you're reading a Canadian writer there, and writing on a Canadian blog. . . ;-)

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  4. A walk with a camera is a very therapeutic way to get out of any grump I find. It makes you look so carefully and be absorbed in the here and now. I love your glass buildings reflecting blue skies with older brown buildings alongside. They work so well. Lovely play of light on the buildings. No wonder you felt better after that walk. I look forward to more photos :) B X

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    1. I think that's what it does, B, stitches me right back into where I am in the moment instead of fussing about what was or what will be.
      Thanks!

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  5. A walk always works for me. The longer and faster the better.
    I enjoyed the views of Ottawa, my home for 2 years in the 70's and five years (among the longest 5 years of my life!) in the 90's.I always found it to be more of a tourists' town than one for everyday living - full of desperately unhappy civil servants waiting out their purgatory between out of country postings.

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    1. I can imagine you're not the only one who feels this about Ottawa. Pater was there for three years just in the early years of the 21st, and our son (last one still at home then) joined him for one year at Lisgar. We loved it, although I was glad I didn't have to do the serious cold nor spend too long in the summer's humid heat. Perhaps because he was doing a fairly high-level project he found challenging (and there was lots of travel through Maritimes, plus visits home every few weeks), he was a fairly happy civil servant and he was hanging out with other happy ones. And there are so many cultural events to enjoy in Ottawa, plus great opportunity for outdoor activities. We went to great outdoor concerts, many of them free, took in fabulous foreign films at the Bytown Cinema, checked out all kinds of great exhibitions at National Gallery, heard Angela Hewitt , Daniel Taylor, and other wonderful performers at the NAC, saw numerous readings by renowned writers at various locales. And then sitting over coffee and a brioche at the market and hearing families effortlessly switching between French and English.
      Whoops! That's enough, isn't it? Someone's feeling a bit defensive about a certain city, and she doesn't even live there and couldn't stand the weather year-round if she did. ;-)

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  6. Otawa is an interesting city,have to read something more about it-I did't know actually a lot about Canada's diversities: a little from books,from school, a thing or two from the (mostly older )Trudeau times,there were cities,woods,wilderness....now I feel like visiting all those beautiful places!
    Walking (I'm afraid not long and not fast :-),but it helps clearing the thoughts and emotions),a book....going out or going home (it depends :-)on the situation)
    Dottoressa

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    1. And of course, as you've told me before, you have a Prime Minister with a strong connection to Canada through his university education. . . you'll have to visit someday!
      (I'm the same way: depending on the situation, I might need to get out of the house or contrarily, to stay in)

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    2. Funny,isn't it :-)?
      Technically Prime Minister,btw-in the meantime (really Mean Time!) the government fell down last week,for the first time in my country.
      Dottoressa

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    3. Oh, that's really too bad, Dottoressa, and I should have know that. I've just read up on the non-confidence vote and I wish you all well for some stability -- hopefully stability in the centre of the political spectrum.

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  7. Definitely a walk ...somewhere quiet with grass, trees and water, if possible :) I just need that feeling of fresh air blowing on my face. I'll often stop for a coffee, especially if I can take it outside. Otherwise, I have been known just to curl up on my bed with the windows open and a good book ...has to be cheerful and uplifting, nothing dark or stressful! I used to think a glass of wine helped but then I realised it was just the process of sitting down and relaxing .... water works as well ...it just doesn't taste as good!
    I'm really enjoying looking at your photos of Canadian cities, especially as I'll see them myself soon. I've been looking forward to visiting this area of Canada for years!
    Take care, Rosie

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    1. Grass, trees, water -- nature has a way of sorting us back into ourselves, slowing our hearts, returning our breath. . .
      The glass of wine -- your insight is useful, because a glass of wine can sometimes push a melancholy into depression. The relaxation we're hoping for might be better found just in the act of sitting down. I often brew a pot of tea, as much for the ritual perhaps as for the comfort of the drink.
      Can't wait to hear what you think of the Canada you'll be visiting soon...

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  8. A walk helps, or- I make something delicious. (Which of course you can't do in a hotel room.) I get absorbed in making it, and then the pleasure it gives those with whom I share it always leavens my mood. I go to the New York Times recipe section and pick something new and not super-challenging.

    Ottawa is a place I go fairly often because it's where Le Duc's family lives. At it's best in summer but also fun to skate the canal in winter.

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    1. Believe me, by the end of the week, I'd have loved to cook something up in the hotel room. And at home, I realise I sometimes work out a mood in cooking or baking as well. Satisfying on so many levels, and again, it's something creative, which I'm not sure we have enough of in our lives.
      The canal in winter is such a joy, isn't it!?

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  9. When I can't walk (the clear winner here), or lose myself and my thoughts in a good book, I have recently been turning to tai chi (at which I am a rank beginner, very much so, having only committed 30 seconds worth or so to memory). Slow, deliberate, careful movement crowds out annoying thoughts and emotions. But I think sketching, if I could sketch, would do the same thing.

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  10. A walk is good. Or doing something for someone, not necessarily easy in a hotel room. The emotions will out when they need to though.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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