Beaver Canadian National Animal

Beaver

Canadian National Animal

 

Canada’s national mammal, the North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) is prepared for the job.

Dressed up in a slick fur coat, this furry creature is amply armed for a night out after a day of damming up the local slough or felling wetland poplars. Anywhere in Canada that has water from sea to sea to sea and all of the wetlands in between are beaver chomping grounds. With a lot of territory to cover under diverse conditions it needs more than a thick skin to represent nationally.

You may not know our soft coated mascot beyond the destructive nature of the North American Beaver:

They have Eurasian relatives and introduced South American ones.

Their kids, called “kits” hang around for two years picking up survival tips from their sage parents. They mate for life. Everyone likes a steady soul.

They can be destructive with tree kills but they supplement with cattails and other water vegetation necessary for wetlands.

Dams are predator protection. Who are they trying to keep away from? Wolves, bears and coyotes primarily.

What self respecting national mammal doesn’t like the publicity of world fame. The world’s largest beaver dam is in Wood Buffalo National Park. It is twice the width of Hoover Dam.

They were nearly extirpated during the fur trade era. It seems it was not just the beaver who liked their cozy fur to cuddle up in. Before that they lived form the arctic to Mexico.

They are smart architects. Dam building requires planning and unique adaptations such as paddles.

Beaver trade is intricately woven into the history and colonization of North America. So as this Canada 150 anniversary rolls along, be sure to salute our national mammal, busying itself in the wetlands and streams and the occasionally park, steadfast and progressive, forging into the future together. We are a better nation because of it.

Occasionally beaver flex their power (see wedding article below).

For more on Canadian wildlife and the North American Beaver, see also:

Foxy Photography

Moose Musings

Life in the Woods

Marmot Magic

Beaver Bites Down Power Pole

 

©heather simonds Beaver
Beavers Are Curious and May Swim To Check You Out ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

©heather simonds Beaver
Fresh From The Pond                                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

©heather simonds Beaver
Paddle Strong                                                        ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

 

Photographer Haven Havana, Cuba

Photographer Haven Havana, Cuba Wins

 

Hanging out in Havana, Cuba is getting easier every year.

Rustic, historic, charming and crumbling, Havana is a city of contrast. Take architecture, ranging from every era since Columbus landed over 500 years ago. Streets marching out European colonial, Art Deco and mid-Century modern, deteriorating gracefully as locals eke out a living in a world caught in the past. And then, there is transportation for every speed from horse pulled buggies to “American cars” and variations in between. Vestiges of the flight of owners who did not agree with leftist rhetoric of the mid century coup. And the people, except for the odd hustlers who usually take the first “no” as a definitive answer, Cubans are “mind your business” and “make do” kind of people.

And here lies the contrast. When Cubans have access to colour they apply it with a heavy brush…youth meandering down the Prado (a wide boulevard built in the late 18th C) in sexy, current, bright attire- chatting vigorously, they dress as well as they can. Where paint is desperately lacking in the architecture vivid colour is applied liberally in the recycled cars, the street costume/attire and the street art. And the rest have been making do as best they can. Cubans are the ultimate recyclers. Most travellers expect interesting sites, activities that miles of sandy beaches will satisfy, friendly people, good food (well, 3 out of four isn’t bad). Cuba offers what a lot of developing countries offer but they don’t have …, well, almost all, the cuisine is sketchy. Havana deserves more than a daytrip for those willing to slip down a few side streets, take in live Cuban music at the Café Paris.

The traveler to Havana has something to learn resourceful.

For more on Havana and Cuba, see also:

Eye On The Ball In Havana, Cuba Streets

Cuban Faces

Cuba Street Photography – Who Says Tropical Must Be Colorful?

Everyone Is Playing Games In The Cuba Streets

 

 

 

Havana Cuban Dancing
Cubans Dancing In The Streets Happens Anytime          ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana travel photography
Cuban Art Displayed on El Prado                                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana street travel photography
Where Did It Go?                                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Cuba street photography
This Havana Man Can Fix Any American Car                ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Cuba street photography
Not Everyone In Havana Drives An American Car ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana Cuban Dancing
Cuban Children Preparing For A Street Show ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana Cuban Dancing
Evening Performances Of Cuban Music And Dancing ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Havana travel photography
Smiling Cuban Girl Dancing In The Street                    ©heathersimondsphotography.com

She Stands Alone in Sao Bento Train Station, Oporto

 

She Stands Alone In Sao Bento Train Station

The Power of One

 

The masses scuttle by. A single one whimpers to a halt.

Pondering, then mesmerized. Engrossed. Halting amidst the train station rush. Meditation battles helter and skelter. Calm fights confusion.

Why the hesitation? Embarkation or journey’s end? Burdened only with a purse and small bag she is not destined for a long trip. Should she board or retreat from Oporto station? On to her ticketed destination or home?

Her body language suggests a calm reluctance to venture forward.

At a crossroad with no immediate direction. Why the pause? She has time to gaze, reflect while the crowd hammers by in military formation. Organized haphazard marching. No one else is tempted to gaze at art and be late for their meeting.

A train station populated with haste and removal, absorbing nothing beyond one moment in time. All else delineated as before and after, early and late.

Lunging lurid locomotives. Panicky passengers. Agitated agents. Engrossed conductors. Whimpering children. Transportation chaos spews amid organized

timetables.

Sao Bento Railway station, Oporto Main Terminal. A dead artisan’s lifework seeps into the meditative. A cavern of white and blue porcelain. Azulejos flickering in the daylight that has wandered into the station bowels. Artistic juice has been splayed on the walls, a two dimensional history lesson.

She scours the Portuguese porcelain walls, a frozen focus on blue and white. Glazed fragility commands and art from the past speaks. Artistic admiration invites a pensive mood to sideline her focus and invite a change in schedule. Old world murals become a history book standing vertical on the station walls. The record of Portugal in 20 thousand pictures, each one inspired by a Carlos, master of a long extinct kiln. The entire country in two dimensions lies before her. Crafted, creative, cultural icons of a colonial superpower. She hesitates in the light and shadow falling from the skylight, her limbs straddled between yin and yang. Hesitant in the blazing light, wavering in the foreboding darkness. Tracks lead everywhere from central yet she has been disabled, unable to move on without examination. And then, she moves on.

For more on Portugal, Oporto and on the Power of One, see also:

Alone But Not Lonely Madrid

Portugal Street Photography Oporto

Portuguese Folks of Northern Portugal

http://nautil.us/blog/loneliness-is-a-warning-sign-to-be-social

 

 

Oporto Portugal Portuguese
She Stands Alone, Sao Bento Station, Oporto, Portugal                                   ©heathersimondsphotography.com

Alone But Not Lonely In Madrid

The Power of One

Alone In Madrid

 

High and dry and chilly. That is Madrid.

If it is people watching you are after you can find local crowds in the markets (Mercado de San Miguel, Mercado de la Pas) and tourists in the squares (Plaza de Espana, Plaza Santa Ana, Plaza de Paja). Wander the market or try to find a seat and take in the worldwide observational pastime of people watching. Noting body language, relationship interactions, facial expressions, curious attire, in the moment documentation while you sip on a latte or Madeira. But if you do not want an audience you can easily find singles in the corners and the crevices of this plateau city. After working the historic centre, museums and requisite landmarks, widen your scope into the side streets where subtle human stories reside. Loners refine their craft, hone their schedules, and some hardscrabble existence.

What do the flea market vendors thrive on, camaraderie among other collectors or the solitude of watching passersby? Would they rather you stop and chat or do they hope you pass them by, uninterrupted? Would the antique collector be happier if truly alone with their hard sought goods? Do they cry inside when parting with a long sought collectible?

Madrid may chillier than its Mediterranean sea level coastal cousins, Valencia and Barcelonia, but not in people watching, whether it is crowds or singles. Keep your wraps handy and your eyes open.

For more on the power of one and Spain, see also:

Barcelona, Spain On Wheels Tips To Capture Motion Blurs

Get Thee To Zaragoza (Spain)

Santiago Calatrava in Valencia, Spain

Cordoba, Spain A Catholic Cathedral Inside A Mosque

Timeless La Alhambra, Spain

 

Madrid Spain Europe
Walking Alone                                                                                               ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Madrid Spain Europe
Creating Alone                                                                              ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Madrid Spain Europe
Walking Alone                                                                                           ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Madrid Spain Europe
Working The Market Alone                                                                            ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Madrid Spain Europe
Stoic Lady Stands Alone                                                                        ©heathersimondsphotography.com

 

Spain Barcelona people
Spanish Coin Collector Examines The Goods Alone  ©heathersimondsphotography.com