Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fear and Sadness this morning

My "O" post for ABC Wednesday was to focus on the word OLD in the most positive  sense, but right now, after learning of a shooting this morning in Ottawa, my heart is full of fear and sadness.  Fear for my sister who lives in Ottawa with her family (though she has confirmed they are safe, she at home with her grandson while her son, daughter and husband remain in lockdown), and heartbreak for the family and friends of.. 
the young soldier/reservist killed as he stood guarding the National War Memorial.  As I write, the situation is ongoing, with at least one killer believed to be still on the loose and Ottawa schools and offices in lockdown.
 These photos were taken two years ago when I visited at Christmas time.

I do not have solutions to lessen the anger around us.  All I can do is reach out to the things that comfort me and that I hope will help to soothe aching hearts today ..  love and laughter with family and friends, knowledge that most around us want only to live in peace, music that calms, art that stimulates and inspires, gifts of pets, wildlife and nature.

The other photos in this post were loaded yesterday.  A lithograph in an art book at Harrison Galleries by graphic artist, Charles Dana Gibson had the title, "Never Too Old To Yearn" and that made me smile yesterday.  This morning, its poignance as I contemplate that thought hits home.  One young man has forfeited the privilege of growing old even as he did his best to guard a memorial to others who also lost their lives too young.  I hope those of us who do have the opportunity to grow old will never stop yearning, and will continue for as long as we are able to do what we can to make the world a happier place. 

I took this photo last evening to share with my sister.  This plant was on the window sill in my mother's Montreal apartment.  When she died, my sister and I walked through her rooms and  I took a few small slips from the plant to bring back to Vancouver on the plane with me.  The plant was neglected at times in the years after that, but I have always made sure to keep at least a few slips rooting.  That connection is important to me. 
My thanks is extended to Mrs. Nesbitt who started ABC Wednesday and to the team of volunteers who keep it running.  We can never underestimate the power of bringing people from across the world together.  Stay safe, my friends.  Thank you for stopping by. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jim inspired this post.

Some thoughts yesterday include a few that I'd like to share (in amongst the day's photos) with Our World Tuesday.  Many thanks to ArijaGattinaLady FiSylviaSandy and Jennifer for carrying Klaus Peter's fine meme forward. 

One of the best things about blogging is the wisdom that arrives from people around the world, and sometimes, it appears just when our minds are ready to take it in.  Last evening, I read Jim's blog and saw that he is exploring the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, as found in this book.  This quote on Jim's blog struck me as meaningful at the time, but this morning, after a good sleep, it really hits home: 
"Around us, life bursts forth with miracles----
a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops.
If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere."
We rode our bikes along the seawall yesterday, stopping by this walkway-bridge that runs..  
down the centre of False Creek.  Across the water, Granville Island's gardens and trees glistened.
A small garden behind us..
had many delights.  The back of this flower was as lovely as the front.
This bee had died, perhaps, just as it searched for nectar. 
I looked at it closely.  It didn't seem to slip off the petal, even as a fairly strong breeze made the flower sway.  I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the image is beautiful to me. 
It was Bill who chose the stopping place as we traveled along on our bikes. I think he was..
most taken with this basket of flowers.
The long strip of grass was perfect for Black Jack to have a run, 
and I enjoyed the reflections in the water..
as well as this three-petal (he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me..  phew!) bloom.
"Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors,
shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; 
a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos;
a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings."
The quote above is also from Jim's post.  Though it seems audacious to altar those words in any way, I might change the word "human" to "living" being.  One brilliant red leaf floated in the water..
as we began happy Black Jack's.. 
 running game.
She was full of energy, something I never take for granted.
Colour across the water, a couple in deep conversation, 
the two bridges caught in one shot (as in yesterday's post, but this time, the Granville is first and the Burrard behind it),
topsy-turvy angles as perspective put the Granville directly over the Burrard,
topsy-turvy legs dangling and pointing every which way, 
and Black Jack as content as any dog could be with her day and her Bill.
We got back on our bikes and rode to Granville Island where I again..
found reflections to admire..
and again spotted some floating leaves.
Here is the bigger picture.  It is a scene I come back to again and again.  
Later, when we were home, I noticed a leaf's shape.  They are different, this year, in spite of the fact they fall from the same trees as last year. A fellow blogger-photographer noted in one of my tree photos that it appeared to be edited to create an impressionistic mood, but that shot hadn't been edited.  I think something about the leaf shapes in our part of the city is creating that effect this year.  I tried to rest the leaf on Bill so I could take the photo.
That made us laugh.
Laughing with Bill is another thing I never take for granted.
What are some of the things in your life.. 
that you recognize as being full of wonder?
"When we are tired and feel discouraged by life's daily struggles,
we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there."
I added definition to this last photo of the leaf, wanting to show some details in the beautiful process of decay around it.   We had found it on a cement walkway, but I thought it might be happier in the company of earth and leaves.  Thank you so much, Jim, for inspiring this post.  Thank you, Our World Tuesday, and thank you, dear readers, for stopping by.  I like to think you will find at least one small miracle in your day today.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chance meetings and Vancouver's Blues

On Sundays, I try to keep an eye for at least a few "blues" to share with Smiling Sally's Blue Monday meme.  The blues yesterday weren't dramatic, but since we had a late start to our outing along English Bay, around Stanley Park's Lost Lagoon, and then along the Coal Harbour bike route homeward, there was a blue cast to many of the photos.  

If I look back on a few highlights of the day, one would definitely be a chance encounter with a beautiful family from Manchester.  I didn't ask their names, but they sure left a warm impression.  Their photos appear about half way down the post.

Another memorable event in our day was the crossword puzzle we struggled to complete. I'd give us a 2.5 on 3 for three clues that were related and particularly fun to (almost) solve.  Here are the clues.  I'll put a few letters in as hints and will give the answers at the end of the post for any crossword addicts.

1. Vincent's "rah, rah" team?  15 letters.  
_ _ G _ _ _ _ _ _ A _ _ _ _ S

2. Salvador's order to "Move it!"  13 letters
_ _ _ T D _ _ _ _ _ A _ _ Y

3. Claude's lucrative sideline business? 15 letters
_ _ N _ _ _ _ U _ _ _ _ i _ _

And now, to our day as it unfolded, with at least a little blue in almost every photo.

We stopped along English Bay so Black Jack could have some running time.  Bill clowned..
 around after he locked up the bikes..  
and walked toward us.
 I think he was trying to prove he was just as agile as this seagull.
 Black Jack took him for a good walk while I..
 marvelled for the umpteenth time that two bridges (Burrard closest and Granville behind it)..
can be captured in one shot.  In this one, you can just barely make out a bus on each bridge.  I think at least one of them is an example of Vancouver's articulated buses.


You can read about them at this site (where I found this photo).

 Another crazy two-bridge shot.  The girder is from the Burrard Bridge, but the ironwork behind it is from the Granville.  You can see two False Creek ferries under the bridge as well as one Aquabus ferry that takes bikes.  You can also see a bit of the Os Gemeos mural, the cement plant behind the ferries, and a restaurant on Granville Island.
 But, back to Black Jack's run.  We chose a spot right along the beach.  Bill settles her here.. 
 before letting her take off.
Bad shot, but this one makes me laugh.  No, she isn't this fierce.  She's just trying to chew her treat and run at the same time.
 Our bikes, with the blue towel that Black Jack rests her chin on when we are riding, waited behind this lovely driftwood.
 We were back on our bikes and heading to Lost Lagoon when we saw more seagulls than I have ever seen gathered in one spot along English Bay.  Just as I got the camera out, 
 they all took off.
 We wondered if there was a hawk or perhaps the eagles from Vanier Park were harassing.. 
 them, but couldn't spot the source of their concern.  Here, some of them were returning to the shore line.
 A lone leaf stood guard against the edge of the seawall,
and I took a moment to catch the blue hues in the Inukshuk that you can see just to the left of the seagulls (2 photos up).
 By the time we reached Lost Lagoon, we needed our bicycle lights.  HIgh iso caught some of the feeling of the darkening sky.
 The light through that tallest tree caught my eye, 
 as did the layers of pinks and blues.
That's when we met the family from Manchester.  Hands reached out to Black Jack in her basket, and she lapped up their attention most gratefully.
The parents told a beautiful story of coming to Vancouver years ago, and loving it so much, they promised when they had kids, they would bring them to see where their Mom and Dad had had so much fun.  
The young men are now college students (presently on a semester break) and our short conversations with them were memorable.  We were on our bikes, and passed them twice, but each time they caught up with us when we stopped, and each time, we learned a little more about them.
 Of Italian heritage, music is a big part of their lives, and wildlife..
also was something they thought about and understood.  As we watched the swans together, they told us that swans are also pinioned in England.  I was shocked to learn that, but interested that they were so aware..
 of this cruel practice.  Many have no idea, simply regarding the swans as great entertainment and not realizing the bone in one wing is broken (a comparison would be to break a bone in our forearm) so that they are forced to live in a small pond, unable to protect themselves or fly to a spot that would better accommodate their need for space.
 Poor photo here, but this swan became afraid (not to do with us, as they are fed by humans) and awkwardly tried to lift out of the water, but one wing flapped uselessly behind it.
 Mute swans are so extraordinarily beautiful, but forcing them to live this way is wrong. I hope one day, there will be no more in Lost Lagoon.
 We bid the family good-bye at this point.  I hope one day, we may hear from them again, perhaps when the young men bring their own families back to Vancouver for a visit.
 Our final stop was along Coal Harbour's bike route.  We stopped by a community centre, and for the first time, ever, I used the flash on my camera.  It caught the spray from a water fountain, though both Bill and I wondered why the fountain continues to run at this time of year when most children would find it too cold to play in.
I looked past the fountain to the waterfront, 
 and then played around with setting, trying to capture my beautiful Bill.  His blue eyes showed in this photo..
 but I lost them in this one.  I would have deleted that one, except that Black Jack checking out the action beneath her made me smile.
 The trees lining the bikeway took on a warm hue in the lamplight, 
 but I came back to a blue light that I could see in the distance, shining through the trees.  It wasn't identifiable..
 but it was one of a few building signs like this one..
 that kept the blue theme alive to share with Smiling Sally.  As she says, blue is all around us.  You can affirm that by clicking right here to visit her meme.  

Oh..  I almost forgot!  The answers to the crossword puzzle are: 
1. goghgoghdancers 2. dontdillydally 3. monetlaundering (We got numbers 2 and 3, but thought number 1 was goghgoghvincent) 

Special thanks go to the Manchester family for brightening our day yesterday, and many thanks as well to you, my much appreciated readers. Have a very happy Monday!