Friday, December 18, 2009

A Matter of Framing

As we get closer to Christmas I am pleased to report that the weather here in Calgary has moderated, due to the recent arrival of one of the locally famous "Chinooks" - a warm westerly wind that causes a dramatic change of temperature, in this case from minus 30 to plus 5 degrees in 24 hours!

In spite of the change of weather, I still feel homesick for Loreto Bay and so I am grateful for the contribution by this weeks Guest Blogger Linda, who is a neighbor and friend that I met on the first visit I made to the future development over 6 years ago. Linda is offering her unique perspective as a Homeowner, returning to Loreto Bay after a long absence. She also is sharing her gift for photography, with the beautiful pictures that illustrate this posting, and inspired this week's title - enjoy!

November 26th we returned to Loreto, 18 months after our previous trip. Much has transpired since our last visit and we were eager to visit our home and to see firsthand the state of the Villages of Loreto Bay.

As we flew into the airport we could see the new terminal and were impressed by its size. The terminal provides open well lit functional spaces. Although the building is new, we were welcomed by the warm and friendly smiles of staff we have met before. Shortly after arrival we had our luggage and were set to go.

We picked up our rental car and were soon approaching Aqua Viva, the newest phase of the development. We were delighted to see the large number of homes in various stages of construction, with many near completion. As we drove through Aqua Viva we were reminded of the unique architecture of the homes and were drawn to their rich colors framed against a striking green mountainous backdrop.

Before we knew it we were in the Founder’s Neighbourhood and were pleasantly surprised by the level of activity. People were milling about, a number of offices were open along the Paseo, and cars and trucks were coming and going. We picked up our keys from the Security Office and headed off to our home. Although our Property Management provides us with monthly pictures of our home, it was reassuring to see that things had been maintained as anticipated. The garden was well tended and the various repairs we had requested had been completed and we were happy with the work.

It didn’t take long to begin to relax and enjoy the Loreto lifestyle. While family and friends back at home in Calgary endured bitter cold, icy roads and mounting snow, we enjoyed clear blue skies, relaxing times in our courtyard and warm walks along the beach. As we strolled through the community we stopped to chat with homeowners we knew from previous trips, and met others for the first time. We were happy to hear their comments, reflections, and the odd rumor. We found the homeowners we talked to were positive and passionate about Loreto and their community.

With my camera in hand, I spent time meandering through walkways, soaking in the beauty of the homes, the carefully tended vegetation and the picturesque settings. It was a pleasant surprise to find the majority of Village homes complete with landscaped areas filled with exotic plants of all kinds. Each new street, house and surrounding garden provided inviting photo opportunities. As often is the case, I found myself challenged to compose images that capture the true beauty of the area.

The completed Village homes border and surround custom homes that are in various states of completion. The custom homes are each truly unique, reflecting the personal vision of the owners. Each home complements the surroundings through it’s beauty and attention to detail. The completed homes demonstrate thoughtful design, quality materials and subtle elegance.

The scattering of unfinished custom homes and empty lots is understandably a frustration for those around them. Fortunately signs are evident that more and more custom home owners are positioned to initiate or move forward with the completion of their homes. We were surprised to find the custom home in front of us was still under construction, because we had understood that it had been finished some time ago. Our concern quickly diminished when we learned that the owners had decided to upgrade some of their previous selections. It is a positive sign to see people spending more on their home versus looking for ways to cut back.

As we spent more time in the Village we continued to see more signs of true community - neighbours walking their dogs, stopping to chat with friends, minor repairs being done to homes, children riding their bikes and playing in the sunshine, golfers heading off to the course and kayakers making their way to the beach.

One of our daily walks led us to the Community Pool. It is beautifully landscaped and seems to be well used. We were warmly welcomed by those sitting by the pool and we found it to be a fabulous place to relax, meet neighbours and enjoy a swim.

During our stay we met and chatted with homeowners who are spending increasing amounts of time in Loreto. Many of these homeowners have become active in the community and have taken on various roles on different Boards and committees. The time and commitment they contribute to making our community a better place is admirable. The residents within our community represent significant knowledge, expertise and determination. They are the driving force behind the many ongoing improvements that are evident to those of us who are returning after long absences. We extend our true appreciation to them for their efforts.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I have chosen to include a number of my photographs in hopes they act as a reminder of the beauty of this very special place and to affirm that this is a community that we are fortunate to be part of.

David du Chemin, author of "Within the Frame - The Journey of Photographic Vision", writes about the choices that photographers make; “If it is in the frame, it’s because you allowed it to be. If it’s missing, it’s because you chose to exclude it, or you neglected to include it.” In life, each of us chooses to frame our world in certain ways, just as photographers frame what they see in different ways. We can choose to focus on those things that are positive, future oriented, and where we can make a difference, or, we can dwell negatively on those things we cannot change. I choose to look for the positive and the beauty that exists.

Our return trip to Loreto provided ample opportunity to frame a future of optimism and an affirmation that this is a great place to be. All it took was a walk on the beach, a quiet moment looking up into the star lit sky, a breathtaking sunset over the mountains, the gentle flutter of a hummingbird’s wings and the warm smiles and welcome of the local people and our friends and neighbours. There are many reasons why we chose Loreto and why we will continue to return.