Friday, October 31, 2008

The Thinkers

Eckhart Tolle talks about quieting the inner voice, and sometimes, I think I've come a fair distance with that, but it's not letting me go to sleep yet, so I'll try to put some thoughts down here. These pictures are from the book, Jane Goodall: 40 Years at Gombe. I bought it tonight after her talk.
This is Frodo. His grandmother was Flo and his mother was Fifi. I don't know what he's thinking about, but his expression makes me want to ease his burden.
So, what am I thinking?

First, thank you, Dr. Jane Goodall. One of your books says of you: "The woman who redefined man." That was huge. But it's your honesty, your caring, and your willingness to walk the talk that leave me grateful.

Second, thank you Cate, who stood beside me in the line-up. You let me vent about the lady who sat behind us, with her camera beeping through most of the talk. Your lively warmth made the line-up fun.

Third, I was so angry at that camera lady that my heart pounded and my legs shook. I thought horrible thoughts. I see that I haven't come so very far at all.

And.. Thank you, Bill. My guess is that the audience was about 80% women. You quite often have to explain to me, "It's a guy thing," but you recognize and support my passions, and I know I'm blessed.

Finally, the ride home in the rain was good. It calmed me enough to acknowledge the voice and laugh at it a little.

Oh.. and I almost forgot. Happy Halloween, everyone! Check out IAMNEVILLE (in my blog list). He's a super talented photographer and he loves this season.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

Every evening, flocks of geese fly, one after the other, over a period of about an hour, across the water towards the school where I work.  I guess they're going to roost, just like the crows.  The crows are moving at about the same time, in the opposite direction.  A great photo would be the crows and geese crossing paths (in my dreams).  I tried once, a couple of weeks ago, to get a picture of the geese, but scrapped all the pictures.  Tonight was my second attempt, and I'm thinking, with a slight attitude change, it could be considered artsy fartsy, and so a bit more successful than the first.  My favorite of the 6 shots is this first one.  Number 5 sort of appeals to me also.  I love all shades of blue, and I can feel a sense of speed in those two.  
In this one, the middle goose seems bent on a race.
 I've never quite figured out what is going on in these buildings across the water.
I'm just realizing that in every photo except the last one, there are two geese neck in neck.  Mates or competitors, I wonder.

And yesterday, I watched birds and ducks on the little river near the school.  I liked the colors in this one.
Had to make lots of use of the zoom.  Bad photo but artsy fartsy quality again here.  Something about that flying crow..  at least I think it's a crow.

There were some white-bellied, smaller birds with a high-pitched call, flying very quickly in one direction and then turning together.  Very difficult to see it, but I think there is one of them in the middle of this photo.  Could it be a tern? 
And this is sort of artsy, so maybe it fits.  It was a gift from a Vietnamese student several years ago.  It sits on the window ledge in front of my desk and makes me happy.
Tomorrow, Bill and I will go to Vancouver Centre for the Performing Arts to hear Jane Goodall speak.  I'm very excited about that.  I first saw pictures of her in Life Magazine when I was a teen.  In my dreams (again), I would have done research with apes or chimps or whales or elephants.  Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Jacques Cousteau and Carol Buckley are all people that inspire me to dream.  Carol has a sanctuary for elephants in Tennessee.  Her web site is really worth checking out:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Autumn beauty is irresistible

Yesterday was again an incredibly beautiful day.  Although I had pressing work to do, I finally had to give in and pull out the camera.  My justification was that the perfect Fall days will end soon, and although I know Winter will present different opportunities to enjoy the bike route, it seems I'm not quite ready to let go of Autumn treasures.

I stopped here, because I saw a woodpecker.  By the time the camera was out of my bag, the woodpecker had disappeared, but this squirrel came along to save the moment.
This scene presented itself as I turned left from Denman Street, onto West Gerogia.
There were lots of these stunning red flowers around, but this one called to me.
There were lots of geese too, so close I could have touched them.  They didn't seem to mind me or my bike at all.  I liked this one for the intensity in its travels to find munchies.
As I came onto the Lions Gate, this procession of logs caught my attention.  I've often seen the logs gathered near the shore to my left, but this was the first time I saw them en route.  Here is the front end..
the back end..
..and a view of the entire procession.
I did want to hurry home after work, but the sunset and sky were magnificent.
One view including the bridge..
One view of the sparkling trees to my right.  They seemed to catch some of the purple from the sunset.
Each time I raised my eyes from behind the camera, the drama and emotion of the view intensified.  Honestly, I didn't quite succeed in remaining dry-eyed.
It was almost dark when I took this one, and my camera complained a little, but still captured the moment.
This one of the Burrard Bridge was taken a couple of weeks ago.  I was fascinated with the lights, and found out as I googled, that they were put there to remember the comfort cold and lonely soldiers found during the war, when they were able to gather around a fire.  I am also intrigued by that middle section with the lights behind the windows.  Wouldn't that make an amazing apartment?
Last night, I stopped, turned around, and took a few looking north.

Then, home to one of Bill's good suppers, some sleep, and finally to the sadly neglected work.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dogs in the park on Sunday

Today, I set out on the bike for the gym, but never did make it there. I stopped in a park, a new one for me, and by the time I convinced myself to leave, my original plan no longer seemed important. First, I noticed this King Charles Spaniel (I think that's the breed) romping with its playmate. They shared the same human, and could have been related or not. What I'm sure of, is that they were having a great time. When I asked permission to take photos, this sweetie approached, lay down, looked up and said, "If you need cute and adorable, look no further."

(*Click on the pictures to see them full size.)

With no possibility that the picture would be anything but perfect, it was time to play. I never did get the names of these dogs, but the mate, not to be outdone, allowed a full face view to make identification easier.

When I first arrived at the park, the romping spaniels caught my eye. However, it was Benson who convinced me that I was welcome. He came to greet me before I was even off my bike. He exuded an air of dignity, warmth and fun, all wrapped into one dear package. At eleven, he was learning a new life. He had come to live with a young couple, one of whom was the grandchild of his human, who had passed away. Clearly much loved in the past and the present, he was confidently adapting, meeting other dogs and learning about play for the first time.

He leaned against my leg and my heart melted. Difficult to get pictures from so close, but then he helped me out with some easy poses for my elementary camera skills.
Hearing and eyesight were slipping just a little but smell was fine. He nosed out my treats and utilized his "Could you give me one now?" expression with perfect finesse.
And a little socialization time with the Spaniels. No problem there either. Have a long and happy life, Benson. You are in great hands, and your human is in luck too, with the gift of you.

When the Spaniels and Benson left, there was still some faint hope that I might go to the gym. But along came Sisko. Another much loved, and very loving dog. Sisko's human was delighted to show off her handsome beast, and as long as there was a possibility of treats and attention, Sisko was willing to delay his walk for a little while.
"I bet you can't resist this debonair expression. Will you hand over the treat now?"
"No? Okay, how about this?"
Sisko was becoming a little concerned by this last photo, but I came through with the treat, and he obliged with lots of photo ops, before he finally headed off for more adventures. I loved meeting you and your human, Benson. You were another warm spot in my good day.

With gym now definitely out of the question, a latte seemed a perfect plan. I biked over to Burrard and 5th, to the Elysium Cafe. Very good lattes and lovely people there. I tried to walk by these three dogs and their humans. I even succeeded. I went in for my latte, but kept looking out the window at the three oh so handsome canines waiting out their humans' coffee fix. Finally, summoning my courage, I asked if I might try my hand at taking some photos. Very obliging and kind people. They did their best to help me out, but I never did manage to do these dogs justice. I think they were saying, "What? You want our picture, just like that? Don't you realize we need to get to know you, before allowing the privilege of a photo shoot?"
I persisted, and must say to the ever patient humans that I love people who take their dogs with them on coffee runs. Yes, it means sitting outside in a variety of weather, but it's worth it. And what a great family of dogs, all getting on just fine together.
As they were leaving, one more attempt was made to get this beautiful Shepherd to look at the camera. No luck, but thanks for trying. I enjoyed meeting all of you on this perfect Fall day.

No ride feels really complete without at least one crow shot, so here is today's best effort.
The bike route along 8th, as I headed home, was a blaze of color. I managed to stop only once.

Black Jack was sunning herself in the back yard when I arrived. Have I mentioned she originally came from California?
Only a thorough check for squirrels in the neighbor's yard can interrupt a sun bathing session.
With sun bathing and squirrel checks complete, Bill and I accompanied Black Jack up to 16th for a walk in the woods. Everywhere I looked, trees and leaves begged to be recorded.

And finally almost home. Just a quick stop for a few groceries. I held Black Jack in my arms, while Bill picked up the supplies at Safe Way. One lady commented after seeing Black Jack snuggled comfortably into my jacket, "I'm trying to arrange to come back as my own dog when I die. So far, there are a few technical difficulties, but when I figure out how to solve them, I'll post it." She left and I chuckled as I pondered her words. Thinking along those lines will make us humans perfect dog companions, don't you think?

P.S. I love the way Bill is striding out, and Black Jack is prancing, with her little paw raised, as they head into the lane behind our house. A good Sunday.