Today is the Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year and the official start of Winter. On the plus side, the days will start getting longer now. This picture is from northern Michigan, where they have been experiencing unofficial Winter for a few weeks already.
Went snow-shoeing at Fisherman's Island State Park in Charlevoix, Michigan today and saw several Bald Eagles. We got the distinct feeling they were glad to see us leave when one flew over our car, following the road in front of us but barely twenty feet overhead, as if it were showing us the way, or perhaps escorting us, out of the park.
Amazingly beautiful birds, whether they are glaring at the camera or soaring overhead.
A little pre-holiday getaway to the Little Traverse Bay area of upper lower Michigan. They've had way more snow than Chicago. This is the Charlevoix Lighthouse in the background and some cool icicles in the foreground. I'd never seen icicles form in a curvy pattern like this.
The Christkindlmarket is an annual event in Daley Plaza. German and American artisans sell their wares at little booths. They start after Thanksgiving and go until Christmas Eve. I'm pretty sure they have little heaters in their booths to help them through the cold days. These are just three of the many booths at the market. Now, I was there early in the afternoon so it wasn't as crowded as it gets in the evening and the weekends. The Gluhwein vendor is usually MUCH busier.
This little white-throated sparrow and several of his friends were enjoying Chicago's Official Christmas Tree in Daley Plaza. I guess the lights are welcoming (they're LED so probably do not give off much heat) and they have a steady stream of food from the Christkindlmarket that is also underway (brat bun scraps, pretzel pieces, etc.). I hope they stay out of the gluhwein, else they'll be flying a bit crooked.
The tree is a single 55 foot Blue Spruce tree. The city budget didn't allow for the usual jumbo tree (made of several tiny trees). The signs say that this is the first time since 1955 that the city has used a single tree. I like the natural and simple look of the single tree.
Yesterday was a winter blue sky day. Nice enough for a lakefront walk -- as long as you were wearing enough layers, gloves and hats. (Today, however, we have already gotten a light dusting of snow and temperatures are dropping.)
This is the gazebo by the Ohio Street Beach, it is between the Jane Addams Park and Olive Park so I'm not sure in which park it "belongs". It gives a nice frame to Lake Michigan, though, as it reflected that pretty winter blue sky.
This mural/sculpture is entitled Arbol de Vidal (Tree of Life). It is on the building that houses the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a research organization that focuses on sustainable urban living by looking at all aspects of a community - transportation, climate, energy use, technology, natural resources, and community development.
Two artists, Catherine Cajandig and John Weber, led the project, which was a joint effort of The Chicago Public Art Group, Youth Service Project, and Center for Neighborhood Technology. While the small artwork on the side are separate pieces attached to the building, the main Tree of Life section is permanently sculpted onto the building.
It's funny --when I first started this blog, I thought: "How will I find enough things to photograph for this blog?" Now, I think: "How am I going to be able to post all the things I want to photograph?"
These presents, kept from floating away with sandbags, were waiting to head down Michigan Avenue for the Holiday Lights Parade recently.