Thursday, October 30, 2014

All kinds of fences

Theresa's Good Fences meme is one that has inspired some thinking, this morning, about the symbolism of fences.  

There are the pretty ones like this hedge separating cyclists from walkers.. 
that Bill spontaneously stopped for last evening because he saw that..
the colours are just about to cross the line from at-their-peak of beauty to still-lovely.
While we were stopped,
we took advantage of the moment..
to enjoy some playtime..
with Black Jack.
I took off her collar and leash for a few moments to make myself feel that she has a modicum of freedom in her life, but one of the downsides to living in the city with a beloved but prey-motivated beast, is that there are always fences, some the kind that you can see and others less obvious but there nonetheless, as demonstrated by the way we choose places where she can run safely.  I love this photo of her.  Fences or no fences, she is a very happy dog.
We rode to Stanley Park and then to the Coal Harbour route where we stopped by this pond. The gentleman at the right of the photo talked with me for a while.  He was terribly unhappy, in spite of the magnificent day.  His concern was that it would be raining tomorrow.  He was right.  It is raining as I write.  I tried to convince him that he shouldn't waste that beautiful day on despair for something in the future, but my words were wasted.  He had erected his own fences against any positive thoughts I could offer.  I hope he found some pleasures, nonetheless, in some part of the rest of his day.
We usually see mallards in this pond, but yesterday, there were these ducks that I haven't yet identified (though Theresa suggested a name once that continues to escape me..  sorry, Theresa!).  To me, they look like American Wigeons but without the green markings.
Hooded Mergansers appeared as well.  I haven't seen them for the entire summer, so it was a nice surprise.  I'm thinking they may spend the winter here.
I zoomed in on the Blue Heron that I'm pretty sure lives full time..
at that pond.
Then we continued on our way.  The cloud and mountain patterns brought about the next stop, again decided upon by Bill. 
It strikes me that mountains are fences too, natural dividers of the strong who can make it to the top, and the somewhat weaker who may only enjoy their lower altitudes, as well as the geographical dividers separating provinces and states and countries.  Though individual peaks have names, we call these the North Shore Mountains, and having commuted between the North Shore and Vancouver, I can tell you there are subtle differences of attitude that can be felt between these two distinct areas of The Lower Fraser Valley.
It was beautiful Bill who pointed out the fences along these steps and suggested they would make a good photo for the "Good Fences" meme.
My big lens had to be twisted and turned to fit Bill and Black Jack in the photo, but..
I did try to give you a straighter angle as well.  Fences to keep us safe, and with a handrail to guide us are the ones most commonly found in cities, 
but I'm happy to see that Vancouver's priority of preserving green spaces has meant..
that many of our fences are designed to please the eye of our outdoorsy populace. 
Sea planes were taking off and landing as we stood, soaking in the day and the surroundings, but just as I was about to put the camera away..
I spotted one more fence.  This is a memorial set up after a formal apology..
was made to the 376 passengers from Punjab, British India, most of whom were..
not permitted to disembark from the steamship, Komagata Maru, in 1914.
These words are part of the memorial.
The expression on the child's face really struck me yesterday.
I am not expressing an opinion here.  There are just too many facts that I don't know and must explore further.  What I am saying, once more, is that there are many kinds of fences, this one erected as a mark of respect and remembrance.
The rest of the photos were taken a few days ato at a Yaletown street corner.  
I am always awed by the many lines and angles.
I'm not sure how many fences..
there are in these photos, but perhaps the issues of keeping people out, 
guiding people safely, and appealing to the eye were all part of the planning.  No earthshaking conclusions to all of this.  Just some of the travelings of my mind today.  Thank you for coming along for the ride, and most of all, thank you, Theresa, for coming up with a unique idea  has stretched across countries and continents.  That has got to be good :) 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Letter P Plays Again!

Well, I think I have written at least a couple of letter "P" posts for Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday meme, now carried forward by a loyal team of volunteers, and the word "play" has come up more than once but it is the theme that seems most important to keep alive this morning, so here are a few of my thoughts about that concept.

First, Bill begins just about every one of Black Jack's days with a play session that includes.. 
 spontaneous pats and massages, 
 and lots of games..
that give them both a mix of physical exercise and fun..
and provide plenty of laughter, too, for their happy photographer.
Part of my play, as well, comes from learning new words.  The Phrontistery site, with its unusual and sometimes totally obscure words, has provided lots of entertainment.  Here are three words that caught my attention for the letter P.  I'll try to use them in the post at some point though I don't want to be too panglossian in thinking I'll remember to do that.
1. paysage - landscape
2. perce - dark blue
3. panglossian - overly optimistic
  
We have been reading "RIght Ho, Jeeves" by P. G. Wodehouse, and I love the strong sense of play and humour purveyed in his writing.  

A Wikipedia article has filled in many details of his life story that surprised me.  One sentence described him as "profoundly uninterested in politics" and that unfortunately led to his being interned in Belgium in 1939 when WW2 broke out.  Though a citizen of England, he had been living in Paris at the time, and since he had no idea of the seriousness of the circumstances, he made no effort to return to his homeland.  He ended up in Tost (now Poland) where he was known for entertaining other prisoners.  He was accused of some very serious offences at the end of the war by his home country, and though they were later disproven, he was provoked enough that he never returned to England, choosing to settle in New York instead, and becoming a U.S. citizen in 1955.  It is a pity that only two months before his death, his accomplishments were finally recognized in his homeland with some well-deserved awards, but he wasn't well enough to travel.  It strikes me that even the most well-ingrained sense of play is not immune to pugnacious disputes and misunderstandings, but the many popular quotes taken from Wodehouse's prose, poetry and musicals is testament to the laughter he brought and continues to bring to the world posthumously.    Here are a couple that made me smile this morning, but you can find many more at this link
“It isn't often that Aunt Dahlia lets her angry passions rise, but when she does, strong men climb trees and pull them up after them.” 

"The least thing upset him on the links. He missed short putts because of the uproar of the butterflies in the adjoining meadows."

"Her pupils were at once her salvation and her despair. They gave her the means of supporting life, but they made life hardly worth supporting."

“What ho!" I said.
"What ho!" said Motty.
"What ho! What ho!"
"What ho! What ho! What ho!"
After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.” 


Moving on to a few more "P's" that give me pleasure, one would certainly be paintings.  J. Dougall's poppies struck me yesterday in the wake of the recent murders of two Canadian soldiers, 
and "Martha Downwind" by Mark Heine also caught my eye for the first time yesterday.  Though I haven't been able to find "perce" used in any context indicating colour (except for the Phrontistery site), I wonder if the dark blue shadows under the boat might be an example of  that shade.  I do love the water textures and reflections in this work.  
Riding our bicycles is another form of play for us.  Yesterday, the rain stopped just long enough for us to make our way to Olympic Village.  We stopped at this spot by False Creek because we saw a couple of photographers with tripods set up.  They were young art students and had no particular project in mind, but were just playing with their cameras as they took in the paysage.  I enjoyed a short conversation with them and decided to take a few pictures myself (shocking, I know :)  
The low light gave these scenes a preternatural aura..
that piqued my interest, keeping me almost as fully entertained..
as Black Jack.
She was happy to sniff the air and waterside for critters, and when it seemed that wouldn't pan out, she was perfectly pleased to resort to edibles in Bill's pockets.
I loved this shot of Bill walking toward us with purposeful stride..
and both of us found the stadium's ever-prominent lights and reflections interesting, 
even as they peeked from behind the prodigious high-rises.
My camera performed well to capture these mallards making their way through a maze of algae in the small creek behind us (not False Creek), but with that, the light was gone, and we decided it was time to make our way home.
We dropped Black Jack off and then headed to Salsa and Agave, our favourite Mexican restaurant.  Our palates are so pleased by their tostadas that for months now, we haven't been tempted to explore the rest of  their menu.  As we ate, a racoon appeared at the top of a small tree outside the restaurant.  How it could have found itself there perplexed both of us. 
The restaurant is on Pacific Boulevard, a very busy street.  An unleashed dog paced back and forth under the tree and that perturbed us, since the dog's human appeared unconcerned,  but hopefully the racoon was able to make its way to a safer location later in the evening. 
I know stereotyping is never advisable, but I always noticed a particularly strong sense of play in my Mexican students, and we could feel that in some of the Hallowe'en decorations in the restaurant.  My preference was for some of the more whimsical ones on display,  
and I did think this dancing doll with the happy smile deserved some recognition.  Perhaps you will be persuaded that she makes an appropriate conclusion to this ABC post.  Many thanks for stopping by.  My gratitude goes to all who keep that meme going so successfully, but special mention must go to Roger Green and Reader Will  for their persistent faithfulness to Mrs. Nesbitt's original idea.  A very pleasant and playful Wednesday to you!