Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As we're nearing the end of 2012, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.  I believe that this day is important because we are reminded that God sent his Son, Jesus, to show Their great love for each of us, individually.  My prayer for you this Christmas Season is that you would be blessed in a real, tangible way that you alone would personally recognize.  A blessing that would give you peace and you would know that you know, that you know that you were blessed beyond measure.

On the evening of Christmas Day, I accompanied my son, daughter-in-law, and their children to Redondo Beach (near Los Angeles, CA).  On the next evening, my son drove his family and me to the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood in Torrance in which a friend lives.  As we entered the first block, we were met with small white Christmas tree bulbs draped over almost every bough of every tree in each yard.  It was a beautiful sight.  Actually, it was like driving through an arbor.  Each property owner, while matching the draping light effect of their neighbors, decorated the rest of the yard in unique ways.  My son and daughter-in-law's friend had little figures of Dalmatians on their lawn. The displays were varied from candy canes to inflated Frosty the Snowmen, as well as other characters.  Although most decorations were too numerous to remember, one house had a strikingly beautiful Nativity scene.  Another had a Ferris Wheel bedecked with lights.  As we drove around, we must have covered 6 or 8 blocks.  Apparently, the residents of this neighborhood been decorating their homes  for years.  While we drove around, I wondered it they had planning meetings during the year with some residents adding more decorations year after year.  I don't know the answer to that.  We were there around 6 p.m. so we avoided what I've read to be a traffic tie-up.  I think that walking would provide even more enjoyment.  While I've seen some beautifully decorated houses over the years, this is the first time I've seen what appears to be a concerted community-effort, providing joy to others.  An Internet search on Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights in Torrance CA will display 2011 pictures of the event.

Last weekend I returned to Famosa Slough.  Below is a photo of a Herring Gull flying over a Western Gull.  When I lived on the East Coast, I thought a seagull was just that.  However, I'm now learning about the different species.  As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I identify the birds by research on the Internet.  In the second photograph is a gull taking off....just can't identify it.


I did spot a few Gadwalls.  Then, all at once, they took off.  I was able to get a photograph of one in flight (shown below on the left).  Someday, I'll get a Canon Digital SLR and then, I'll have more success since I love to take photos of birds as they take off.  The Great Egret is included (below right) because of its lovely reflection.

Gadwall in flight

Great Egret

 Happy New Year!

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