Sunday, March 29, 2009

Light, Changes, & Ned Sighting

I looked out the staff lunchroom window (in North Vancouver) just before I left work on Friday evening.  The ballast (not sure if that's the right word) where the Bald Eagles often rest, seemed to be gleaming white against a turbulent sky.  It also seemed to be closer than usual, and as my camera was handy, I took a photo.
A few seconds later, I took this from the same window.  I wondered if it would be a stormy ride home, but it turned out to be one of those grey, light rain rides that are quite comfortable.  

Bill and I met at Heaven and Earth India Curry House for only our second time (ever), and agreed again that the food was good, but overpriced.  (I see from the link reviews that we are not alone in our opinion.)  It was quiet at peak time on a Friday evening, but when we chatted with the owner, he didn't seem concerned.  He said it was always like that when there was a hockey game on. His eyes shone with quiet pride, as he told us the business is a family run one that has been in operation since 1975.  34 years at the same job, in the same place.  I imagine there have been many changes over the years, but I wonder if he wakes up some mornings, and dreads the thought of curry and customers.  
I've been teaching music for longer than that, but have had the opportunity to learn from different situations in four provinces (Que, NB, NS, and now BC) and at least ten different schools.  And, there have been lots of jobs along the way to help with education and other expenses. 
I've worked as a waitress, made muffins, done telephone sales and even worked on a conveyer belt at a Green Giant canning factory. These jobs all include some horrible memories blended with impressions of people met along the way who made a mark in some way or another.  I remember a young ballet dancer making muffins, and a fellow from Chile who talked of throwing live cattle in the river to distract the (I think it was crocodiles) so that he and his brother could make their escape and eventually wind up in Canada.  I remember Mr. Belson, owner of a restaurant in Ste. Agathe, who ran his business for over 40 years.  I taught during the school year, and waitressed for Mr. Belson in the summers, making, with tips, at least as much money as I did teaching. Some of these jobs pushed me to continue my education so that I would never spend a lifetime doing repetitive and back-breaking (try making 1000's of muffins if you don't believe me) work, but they also inspired appreciation for many of the people who do so-called menial jobs.  Bill and I talked about that last night.  It's quite the eye-opener, sometimes, to see just how many skills can be involved in work that the more academic/white collar crowd might, as my mother used to say, turn their noses up at.

Hm..  off on a tangent here.  On to a walk with Bill, last night, at Jericho Park, after a great supper at The Foundation.  I had spent Saturday afternoon with one of my students, working on a slide show/movie presentation to highlight our band trip for an assembly this coming Friday.  I should say, I watched, and my student did all of the work, kindly asking my advice, but secure in his knowledge that he knew way more than I will probably ever know about such things.  I biked back over the bridge in a non-threatening but strong-against-me wind, at one point being passed by a runner, the ultimate indignity, I think, but have to admire the fellow, who kindly commented on the strong wind, trying to make me feel better (the ultimate run-on sentence).  To assure you that I have not completely deteriorated physically, I did pass the fellow on the next downhill:)   Needing reeds for the clarinet players, I had to stop by Northwest Music at Main and 4th.  Ever patient Bill met me there, Black Jack with him.  We loaded the bike on to the back of his truck, tucked Black Jack into her little bed on the seat of the truck, and enjoyed "Final Option" (Bill) and "Sesame Society" (me) at The Foundation.  Bill has been nursing a terrible flu bug, and is just getting over it, so I felt a bit guilty to suggest at stop at Jericho on the way home.  Something about the light was drawing me.
It was Bill who first saw Ned, so named by EvenSong.  True, I'm not absolutely positive it was indeed Ned, but I've only ever seen one heron at a time at Jericho, so Ned, he must have been.  Ned eyed me, and then slowly walked away, choosing, just as I snapped the fourth picture, to fly away.  I couldn't catch his beautiful wingspread, and missed most of the flight, searching in my zoomed lens to locate his image.  What I find interesting about the next four pictures, apart from the two ducks trying to sleep in the second one, is how much the light changed from second to second.

Although one would think I would know myself by now, it's still strange to me how addicted I've become, in such a short time, to catching pictures.  I'm aware that my ability is humdrum at best, but there's a rush of adrenalin that completely takes over when I feel a photo opportunity.  Bill was freezing, and I would normally have been as well, as the wind was cold, but when he suggested waiting in the truck for me, I knew I was going to be a while longer.  He left with my bike, panniers, helmet, and gloves (darn it:) while Black Jack and I went off in search of rabbits.  We did find some, which made me happy, as I know they are in peril with hawks, eagles and coyotes all around.  I snapped a few photos, but none were worth keeping, let alone posting.  That doesn't seem to matter in my photo-taking craze.  I guess it's just being out there, seeing and trying to record the moment. 

The light did seem perfect for these last two shots, before Black Jack and I headed through the military grounds, up the hill, through the hole in the fence (I will take a picture of that one day) and up the rest of Point Grey Hill, my bladder at the bursting point, and Black Jack happily at my side.  EvenSong, she is really making progress with her (my) problem of picking up stuff.  Twice, we have had breakthroughs, where she has spit something out, and been rewarded with a great treat from my pocket.  Thank you for all of your Thursday posts, and great dog training ideas.  They are much appreciated!

All the way up the hill, I thought about my addictive personality, and how patient Bill is.  When I reached home, he had brought all of my stuff into the house and had put my bike away in the garage.  THANK YOU, BILL!  We spent a quiet evening together, turning out most of the lights, but continuing with a certain amount of surfing, blogging and napping (yours truly only), in our token effort to recognize Earth Day.  

Today is sunny, and I've sat here at the computer for way too long, so off I go.  Where?  I'm not sure.  I guess, somewhere where I can enjoy the light, while appreciating that I have a free day to do whatever I want, and Black Jack can find entertainment.  Thanks for reading:) 


  1. Thank you, BJC, for your kind comments, but I think you give too much credit to me for my "dog training ideas"--it was Oregon Sunshine that had the original "leave-it" suggestions, I just shared my successes with Sandy.

    Glad you liked the "Ned" name for old man heron!

    I, like you, have worked many a blue collar job, all over the US, before I got into education (at 49). It gives me much appreciation for the "other gal" and the struggles of just surviving in today's world. I cringe a little when the teachers' union talks about how poorly we are compensated, as it is well over what I would ever have made otherwise; (of course, I still have decades of student loans to pay off, too). Education has given me the opportunity to build my dream here at EvenSong Farm (tho I'm not sure it will ever support my retirement, as once hoped!).

  2. And what a Sunday it is! I have an abstract to write for an upcoming conference, but I delayed until now just to be outside with the animals.

    Despite being raised in a solidly middle-class family and receiving everything on a relatively silver platter, I also know what it's like to work hard at menial jobs thanks to my parents. It was always understood in my family that you got a part-time job by the time you were 14, and that you were expected to pay your own way after you finished high school...that included putting yourself through university. My siblings and I were always expected to earn our own money for the things we wanted (an education, a car, a horse...) and I learned to work hard at "crappy" jobs as a result. Such a history makes me keenly aware of how lucky and privileged I currently am, and also makes me fearless about the future. If push comes to shove I know that I can pick fruit or muck stalls to get by.

    And it was the same for most of my middle-class friends, possibly because our parents had all worked hard to make better lives for us. I don't want to sound like an old lady at 33, but I get the sense that parents do not have the same expectations of their teenagers these days. I rarely hear anyone of them say "Oh, I can't. I have to work tonight" when they are are talking on their cell phones...

  3. I really enjoyed these comments, EvenSong and dp, and couldn't agree more with your thoughts. No, dp, you don't sound old-ladyish, just wise:) You're right. There's a different mindset with today's teens, probably a result of the pendulum swinging back. Sometimes, I wish it could just rest in the middle.

    Thanks for setting me straight, EvenSong. I apologized in the next post to Oregon Sunshine.