Black and White

Each December, I employ several tactics to counter the likelihood that I’ll be sucked into the vortex of Christmas chaos. You know what I mean…that self-imposed pressure to create amazing meals, balance all the different branches of the family tree, to find “just the right gift” for everyone on your list, and to reach the end of the holiday season without expanding your waistline too much. The way listening to “Here Comes Santa Clause” on the radio can suddenly go from something jolly and seasonal to a noisy irritant. How the desire to keep up with the neighbour’s light display can drive you just a little crazy.

One tactic that works for me is watching the stars and satellites from the quiet of our backyard hot tub. Another is reading for at least 30 minutes each evening. Exercise (even just getting out for a walk) is a big help. I’ve also discovered that practicing black and white photography can be very calming, so I opted for the simplicity of monochrome while out walking on Christmas Eve…

Mount Rundle viewed from the east bank of the flood-ravaged Three Sisters Creek. The fence line marks the boundary of the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park.

Mount Rundle viewed from the east bank of the flood-ravaged Three Sisters Creek. The fence line marks the boundary of the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park.

The line of clouds scudding along the Bow Valley captured my attention as it swept past the shoulder of Canmore's distinctive Three Sisters mountain.

The line of clouds scudding along the Bow Valley captured my attention as it swept past the shoulder of Canmore’s distinctive Three Sisters mountain.

What are your favourite ways of countering the stress that all too often seems to accompany the holidays?

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