Monday, May 12, 2014

Trillium Woods - 1969

Forty-five years ago today, I was waiting for surgery.  I had been scheduled for a cornea transplant due to an eye disease, and I had reached the top of the waiting list.  I was 21, finished 2nd year university, and couldn't get a summer job, because I had to be ready on a few hours notice to be at a hospital in Toronto.  But I was otherwise healthy, so I didn't have to just sit around home waiting!

I spent those days exploring the woods around Woodstock, Ontario, especially the Trillium Woods Nature Reserve, known for it's carpet of trilliums in the spring.  I had several years earlier been part of a successful letter-writing campaign to get the provincial government to protect this woods - my first foray into the political world, at age 14.

These pictures are all scanned from 45 year-old slides, so they're pretty much terrible photos, but they can immediately bring back for me the days I spent in the woods, including the sound track of the spring birds.  I think the sounds in fact are a more visceral memory than the sights.  I clearly remember the day my father came walking through the woods whistling for me, and we were off to Toronto.

This woods was known for its unusual trilliums, with green stripes on the otherwise white sepals, apparently a result of a protein deficiency.  I had a good camera, and a tape recorder, so I spent my time taking pictures and recording the sounds of spring in the woods.

I even got this picture of a young Great Horned Owl - by putting my binoculars in front of my camera to take the picture!!  No wonder it's a little blurry.  I write all this because I'm convinced that my love of the woods in springtime goes back especially to those days in May 1969 when I had the chance to immerse myself in spring in the woods for two solid weeks.  The experience has never left me.

And the transplant was successful; I've been able to see not too badly ever since.

 I've been posting on this blog almost daily now for a year, every since my wife gave me a macro lens for last year's 'big' birthday (I think she was feeling guilty about her new sewing machine, which was worth about 3 macro lenses!).  I'm not going to try and keep this pace up all the time, and I may make a few other changes too, adding some other features once I get my ideas sorted out.  In the meantime, the past year of very regular blogging has brought me enormous pleasure, inspiration, and a network of fellow bloggers who I now consider friends.  Thank you all for the encouragement.


  1. They're lovely images. Trilliums bring such a sense of peace when I see them.

  2. You are a true wonder, after surgery all those years ago, and now we see your photos from those years. A whistle to be off to Toronto, what a welcome call. I so enjoy your blog, and like you, my blog friends have opened up a whole new world of landscapes, wildlife, photography, quilting, and friendships that have taken that word to a whole new meaning. Trilliums, beautiful. Cheers, Jean,.

  3. It's always fun to go down memory lane. Thanks for sharing yours.

  4. You've done a pretty good job of scanning those old slides and what they may lack in definition they make up for in atmosphere and meaning. I really like your blog so can I encourage you some more?

  5. Interesting story. Really interesting trilliums with the stripes. I always look forward to seeing what you'll bring us next, so don't back off too much!

  6. Well, you have done very well with your blog. I always enjoy visiting and feasting my eyes on what you've been photographing!

  7. So you are from Woodstock, too! But I don't remember any Trillium Woods there - I will have to ask my sister who still lives there...
    I love the green stripe on the trilliums! Too bad it is a protein deficiency, or I would suggest they keep it...

    1. Judy, I've noticed a post or two about Woodstock on your blog too. Trillium Woods is a Provincial Nature Reserve a mile or two west of Sweaburg, southwest of Woodstock. It's across the road from Jakeman's Maple Sugar operation. It's a beautiful place to walk this time of year.

  8. How wonderful to see the carpet of white trilliums in the Trillium Woods! Down here you might see a clump of 5 or so scattered about. I like the green veining in them - very pretty. What a blessing that your eye surgery has kept your vision good for such a long time! Losing vision when one loves nature and loves to take photographs would be very sad indeed. Looking forward to see what you'll be blogging about and the changes you'll make.

  9. I'm not always the best for checking other blogs because the time gets away from me, but I always enjoy yours when I manage to see it! I'm glad your wife gave you that lens! Those trillium are just gorgeous! I've certainly never seen one like those. And it's great that the surgery was successful all those years ago.

  10. I think the pictures are quite good having been scanned from slides!!
    It was nice walking down memory lane with you.
    Sure glad the transplant turned out so well. Amazing that they can even do that!!
    I always enjoy stopping by here and hope you continue to be around. : )

  11. Those Trilliums are beautiful! I have enjoyed your blog, I hope you continue. :)

  12. i am excited to hear that your blog has brought you so much joy!!! mine has as well!! one of the best things i have ever done for myself, it's just wonderful!! i enjoy my visits here and i hope you continue to share your love for blogging!!

    such good news about the transplant, advanced medical procedures can be real life savers at any level!!