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A couple of years ago, I took my small family on a short drive just north of Edmonton. We drove into the countryside where we came across a small creek and some old abandoned houses. We got out and stretched our legs and because I found the place interesting, I marked it as a waypoint on my GPS system. Waypoints let you mark a spot so that you can find it later on.
I had the day off of work and wanted, for a break, to go for little photographic excursion. I hadn't used the GPS system for quite awhile so I put in fresh batteries and started it up and found that my waypoints were still recorded.
I searched around the GPS system's map and came across a waypoint labeled "creek". I was pretty sure that this was the spot where we had seen the abandoned houses. Since I didn't have anywhere else in mind to go, I thought this might be a good place to visit again.
It was a beautiful day. It was neither to hot or too cold. The sky was full of beautiful classically puffy clouds like the one usually only sees in poorly done paintings. They were so perfect they almost didn't look real.
Since the weather was so nice out and I wanted to go do some photography I made my five year old boy get off the computer and come with me. He loves playing on the computer, but we have a short summer season and one has to take advantage of nice weather when it happens.
To get to the creek we had to go through a park. In the park is a number of lakes. While driving by one of the largest lakes we noticed that there was a swan in it. The usual lake birds here are geese, ducks and gulls. But this was a trumpeter swan - the largest and rarest swan in the world.
We got out of the car and walked up to place one could see through the branches of trees along side the lake and see the swan. I took several reasonably good pictures. It was actually swimming along side a flock of equally white pelicans. It was an almost amusing contrast between the grace of the swan and the practical bulkiness of the pelicans with their huge beaks.
This was a great way to get warmed up for photography. We got back in the car and I put the GPS system beside me to guide us. We drove out of the park and into the countryside to where the little arrow on the LCD display met the waypoint symbol that I had called "creek".
And there the place was: exactly as it had been two years ago. The property was for sale then and there still was a for sale sign. However, there was no "no trespassing" signs, so we got out of the car and started to investigate.
We walked down a short road to where there was an old house that is now a home to a flock of pigeons. While looking around, being careful not to stumble on any old piece of lumber or trip on any holes, we noticed an airplane going by and to our delight it was towing a glider.
We stopped to watched. The plane towed the glider higher and higher and then finely let go of it.
As the airplane went back to the airport the glider made a couple of huge circles above our heads. In a few minutes, the airplane was back towing yet yet another glider. We noticed the contrast between the noisy airplane and the absolutely silent gliders and wished that we too were high in the air dancing in the winds.
The airplane released the glider and flew away and did some celebratory dives and turns in such an acrobatic way that we thought it was probably showing off for us.
The gliders circled around and around each other against the puffy white clouds. We watched and watched until they disappeared in the distance.
After they were gone, my little boy decided to chase butterflies in a large green field that was beside the abandoned house. He actually had the patience and stealth to catch one of the butterflies, a white cabbage butterfly, in his hands. He walked around carefully holding it as we explored the abandoned sheds and other buildings and cars that were around the place.
We finally came to the creek and to our joy discovered a newly emerged dragonfly sitting on a blade of grass waiting for his wings to dry out and became hard so that he could fly with the vigor that dragonflies fly with.
My little boy carefully picked it up and examined it. He told me later that it had scratched its head 'like it was trying to think something out'. After he put the dragonfly down, we stopped and watched the swiftly flying swallows dive in and out around a little bridge that went over the creek.
As we were just about to leave, the airplane towed in yet another glider and let it go high in the air. We watched it as we left and knew that we would come back again on another wonderful summer's day.
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