A Lovely Little World

Adventures in Southern Ontario

Dunnville Mudcat Festival

If you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls, you have a pretty good idea of what small town life is like. Not in the sense that small towns are quaint and idealistic, but in that small towns are full of unusual people and quirky happenings. When you go to a festival, you will run into dozens of people you haven’t seen since high school, other than when you ran into them at the festival the year before. Nothing really makes sense, particularly the parade, which definitely has quite a few tractors, but if you watch it for the kitsch factor or you’re a very small child, you’ll enjoy it. The parade actually runs the Saturday of the Mudcat festival, and although it’s not the first major event, I’ll start there, because I laughed a lot. Honestly, most of the people who turn out put a lot of work into their floats and so forth, and that is too be applauded, but no matter what, it’s Dunnville and I love it, but it’s weird.

Here are a few of the good and bad moments of the parade. I didn’t capture all unfortunately. I was too enthralled, then I was like, “oh no! I’m missing preserving this!”, and started snapping, even though there were people standing in front of me and I’m short.

 

Mudcat Parade 2016

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The Mudcat Festival also has a Midway, Street Dance, Fireworks and Live Music. The fireworks are always really good. The park on the river is jam-packed with people and that’s always fun, although sometimes it’s tricky to get good seating.

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I’ve just realized how photo heavy this post is, so I’ll break it into two posts! I’ll save the photos from my favourite event until last. What other small town festivals are good? Are there events that are different? Maybe I should try to hit up a few for comparison.

 

Being Alone, even with faith

I haven’t been able to take much comfort from the assurance God will always be with me.

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“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” – Hebrews 13:5 doesn’t have meaning when you feel like you’re on your own facing the challenges of daily life, or at the very least, that God is distant and His direct presence requires some kind of faith I don’t have.

Also, I kind of just want a husband and family of my own, so it’s hard to get peace out of the thought God is present when you want a flesh and blood human beside you.

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My dad died when I was seventeen, and I was grossly aware of his absence and how much I needed him still. At that time, I clung to God’s promise to be a father to the fatherless and although that thought provided temporary relief – it never sank deep enough into my soul to cause life altering change.  Plus what made me so special that God would see me as a prized daughter?

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And I’m not saying that I’ve since got it figured out. I just feel like if we could really grasp the intent of God’s heart, we wouldn’t ever feel alone.

We are alone because we don’t fully appreciate how present He is and use that to our advantage. We are alone because we don’t have a relationship with Him the way that the He offers. We keep Him “on high” instead of beside us.

Isaiah 45: 2 says “I will go before you and will level the mountains”, but instead of providing comfort, verses like “levelling mountains” that make me feel extra alone. Why doesn’t God level mountains for me? Only nothing even that massive, much smaller stuff.

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But I think he wants to.

I think God does want us to trust Him enough to turn to Him. He really is beside us every second. We don’t fully turn to Him because we don’t fully grasp it. God, THE GOD, is right there with you every second and you can turn to Him and talk to Him and He will LOVE it since that’s why He created you and He’ll help you and give you “hugs” in the sense of comfort and all that you need.

But somehow, you have to fully understand, to fully grasp, that you are not alone. And that thought may not make up for your lack of husband, but at least it makes the void smaller and the journey less lonely, and more than that, you can focus on being who are you are meant to be and the beauty all around you because you have to worry or feel pathetic or empty.

Some who’s love is perfect, who will never infringe or hurt you or steal your independence or take all your space is right there loving you. You are in the spiritual presence of the divine any second of any day and the possibilities for that are endless, not based on anything YOU can do, you just have to see it.

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Overlooked Places: Abandoned building in Port Maitland

So many times we visit a place over and over and miss the secret things that exist there. You can pass a bright orange building more times than you can count, and not even know that it’s an abandoned treasure. Finally, a friend of mine decided to look in it, and he snapped some photos and then I saw it for the first time. It’s like when you see a quotation or read a book, and it doesn’t speak to you, until suddenly it does. Sometimes I wish I could speed up those revelatory moments, but it just doesn’t work that way.

james 02 james 03  stove suitcase window  SarahjamesdoorwayThe best part about this place was the light. It streamed it through the empty door off the river. It wasn’t the easiest building to photograph from that standpoint, a wide dynamic range, but it illuminated the old stove and our faces when we stepped near the doorway.

I know that we can’t force revelations to happen, we can’t find perfect places that we don’t know exist, but somehow we need to find a way to be open to new experiences and not miss the chance when they come our way.

This spring has been full of abandoned places, and I love how you are transported back to the past for the length of time you are there. Yet, even there, time doesn’t stand still. Nature takes back the space. People visit and stay over night, or have parties there, and leave their drinking cups or water bottles. The dust is disturbed, the mattresses are moved. No place is untouched by humans, but it’s nice to venture into places that are neglected and discarded. There are so many, but you have to look. You have to be ready to slam on the brakes. You have to be willing to see beauty in unlikely places. Hopefully then, the overlooked places and knowledge will be easier to find.

Hamilton Art Crawling

This is an out of date post. That’s how behind I am on everything. On a positive note, in part it’s because I’ve been adventuring more and not sitting editing at my computer.

I love the Hamilton Art Crawls. They take place on James Street North on the second Friday of every month, and they’re ideal for people watching. All the artists, hipsters, hippies, and gypsters show up in full force and full-fashion, and it’s wonderful to mingle in the crowds on a warm summer evening.

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I took less photos this time, I’m not sure why. I do remember I was really tired. For more Art Crawl scenes, see my post here and check out the big art event Super Crawl too!

The Garden of Proof

Springtime makes it difficult to feel negative about earth and humanity, at least for me.

We live in a world where flowers grow on trees and in the cracks of cement sidewalks and somehow I am supposed to believe that our world is somehow flawed? It’s hard to focus on “evil” when all you can see is the triumph of beauty over decay. It is true that humankind is determined to destroy all of this beauty, for gain and wealth and progress, and it’s good to remember that although nature and the earth can flourish without humans, we cannot progress without it.

God, as our creator envisioned a beautiful world for us, and made humans in his own image. It’s silly to believe that He didn’t design us (and our world) for good things. Even though we, in our own strength, our flawed and imperfect, that doesn’t mean we were designed to be evil or mean. We were created to be beautiful and to love and that’s what I see when I spend time in the garden. Dirt, dusty walkways, and fresh blooms growing towards the sunlight.

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St. Jacob’s, Ontario

If I lived in another country, and was visiting Canada, I would want to know about these kinds of places. That’s how I justify thinking of my blog as a travel and adventure blog even though I rarely go further than a few hours from my hometown. I’m preparing myself for when I can take bigger adventures. You’ll be the first to know.

I love exploring this Antique Shop. It has so many random items and fun kitsch. There are legitimately nice antiques too, but I don’t really care about that stuff. The building is divided into stalls, and an assortment of vendors rent the space, so you may see an over priced mason jar in one section that is much more affordable a few units down. Often times the stalls are decorated or styled, so they’re interesting to look at even if you don’t purchase anything. I always check out the vintage cameras.

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I didn’t go into the town of St. Jacob’s this time, but I checked out the Farmer’s Market. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and people were EVERYWHERE just enjoying the day, chatting and eating at a leisurely place. There is a great variety of food. There are other vendors too, but I never feel the need to purchase anything from them. They tend to sell more assembly line type products rather than real handicrafts. I can purchase tupperware and cell phone cases anywhere, you know? But check it out for the food, definitely!

 

 

Adventures in Tick City

I finally got a new bike, and it’s actually a really old bike, and a really ugly colour, but it rides better than the old bike, so all is well. I really wanted to take it for a long run, and Joe had a free day (he and his fiancee are planning a wedding, so that rarely happens!) so we set out around the town. I saw a pile of junk off the side of the road, so naturally I wanted to check it out. (Who doesn’t want to look at old piles of garbage?) The piles of garbage lead to a trail and two really dead and flattened and dismembered opossums but I thought we should still check it out. Joe sent photos to Trina, who is usually the voice of reason in situations and she didn’t seem alarmed, so we set out. It was really pretty and for the next two days, random ticks kept appearing in our lives. One climbed down his suit jacket at Church. The moral of the story is, if you’re going to explore creepy junk piles, be prepared for ticks. The junk piles were cool though. See below.

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Joe happily texting Katrina, oblivious to the ticks clinging desperately to his clothing.

 

All over Niagara


I think photographers everywhere are obsessed with abandoned buildings and places that nature has taken back. A few weeks ago my cousin visited and he loves urban exploration probably more than I do, so he came prepared with a list of sites to check out in the Niagara Region.

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We started checking out the old canal/lock systems. One of them is right in the middle of a Battle of Beaver dams park and is used as a seating area in front of a bandshell. This part of the old canal is really crumbling, and very beautiful. It’s part of the Bruce trail if you want to check it out.

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I don’t actually remember where it was in Niagara, but we walked down a trail and checked out this private estate train station, which now just looks like an old pavilion. It was pretty run down and so were the walls surrounding the property. The old gate is pretty nice though, and so was one of the neighbours who provided us with the history.

(I just took these on my cell phone and didn’t straighten all the horizon lines so my apologizes but you can still see how lovely the area is, even in early spring before anything is really in bloom.)

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Lake Ontario from a park in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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We drove all the way down along the Niagara River, and randomly just found this monument as the sun was setting. A few kids were sitting out there with skateboards, and randomly started talking to us about the weather.

These aren’t the usual places you explore in this area, but I really enjoyed myself. Anyone know any other interesting places in Niagara Region?

Bonfire Weather

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People always say “don’t take photos in the heat of the day. The light is too harsh”. Usually it is, but sometimes you just have to do it. Sometimes the day is so beautiful and the weather just perfect, and you want to preserve the washed out tones and the bright glare because it feels good and the moment is good. You can’t always follow the rules with Art and life. Sometimes you have to follow the direction of your heart.

Joe and Katrina Engagement Session

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