Joyspotting Issue #5

Intro 1

CR21, Millbrook, ON.

Observation is a key element in so many of the sweet happies that crop up in our lives.  Very often, as we’re going about our daily routines, our vision is out of focus; we’re not expecting to see anything special so, even when it is right there, smack-dab in front of us, we miss out.  

One of my most tedious routines is travelling CR28 back and forth to Pbo and along that route my vision is, indeed, typically out of focus.  True that I often detour to the west (Baxter Creek, Cavan Marsh and the Millpond in Millbrook) or to the east (Squirrel Creek and the Marsh at Squirrel Creek) but, I’m ashamed to say, even those delightful venues grow boring with repetition.  

Intro 2

Williamson Road, Hamilton Township, ON.

One of the best tools, and best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is the lovely Ingrid Fetell Lee’s guide to Joyspotting.  It contains twelve opportunities to observe things that bring us joy whilst out on a walk or a hike.  Those twelve also make excellent prompts for photography outings.

I used mine yesterday, mostly around Squirrel Creek, along the 4th Line. I went no where new, saw nothing extraordinarily unusual, but I did, thanks to the guide, experience twelve sweet happies and had a perfectly lovely day as a result.  Here are my twelve moments of joy:

#1 – Look up!

Joy 1

Who’s watching who here?

#2 – Look down!

Joy 2

Squirrel Creek – lots of tracks. Selfie, Pam-styles.

#3 – Keep an eye out for colour.

Joy 3

Full corn wagons. I love watching winter corn harvesting.

#4 – Follow the curve.

Joy 4

4th Line, Pbo. The marsh at Squirrel Creek.

#5 – Go where the wild things are.

Joy 5

2 swans, 2 ducks and about 2 dozen geese. Rice Lake, Bewdley, ON.

#6 – Seek out symmetry.

Joy 6

Sackville Bridge, Cavan Road, Bewdley, ON. An utterly serene spot.

#7 – Search for signs of abundance.

Joy 7

Pine cones!!! Rice Lake Drive, North, Bewdley, ON.

#8 – Watch for weirdness.

Joy 8

“Love Seat” Ice bench, the marsh at Squirrel Creek.

#9 – Zoom in.

Joy 9

Alder Buckthorn. Frangula alnus, Rhamnaceae. A highly invasive species but somehow, against the snowy backdrop, the black berries aren’t.

#10 – Notice the invisible.

Joy 10

As you see, the tree is bare – not a bird, nor even a feather to be seen but the sound of birdsong was loud and clear. I waited, I looked everywhere but I never did see even a single bird. Williamson Road, Hamilton Township, ON.

#11 – Take the scenic route.

Joy 11

Bethel Grove Road, Hamilton Township, ON.

#12 – Use all your senses.

Joy 12

While I was out shooting the rising moon, the smell of wood smoke was drifting on the breeze. Nothing conjures the sense of warmth, coziness, hearth and home more than that smell. Evertsen Road, Hamilton Township, ON.

Last summer, on Healthy Parks Healthy People day at Presqu’ile, I hosted some underprivileged young boys from the city.  I guided them through the marsh, pointed out all the usual suspects – Blandings and Snapping turtles, a snake, ducks, swans, a beaver, a couple of minks plus oodles of dragon flies and butterflies.  I took my two older cameras  with zooms lenses attached and helped them capture the creatures they most liked.  I used the twelve Joyspotting prompts to encourage the lads to look all around them as we mucked our way through/around the marsh and as a result, a grand good time was had by all.  Oh, the things they noticed and “discovered”…

If you’re looking to kick your hiking experience up a notch, I highly recommend taking the Joyspotter’s Guide along, trying to find something to record in each of the twelve boxes.  You can’t go wrong!  

’Til next time, y’all… 


Williamson Road, Hamilton Township, ON.

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