Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beach Walk

Yesterday, Black Jack and I took a walk along the Point Grey shore, as we have done a few times before, at low tide.  For the first time that I can remember, we did not see a heron.  There were still lots of things to explore and to think about.  Black Jack rarely appears bored on a walk, no matter how many times she has been over the same terrain. She may whine if I stand in one spot for too long, particularly if she sees something ahead she would like to explore, but often, she stands with me, silent, poised and mesmerized by who knows what.  
When she is particularly interested, one of her paws will sometimes be suspended, as though she has forgotten to put it down.
Black Jack detects life and investigates. I am reminded that, with every crunch underfoot, something breaks and/or dies.  I try to be respectful, but I feel clumsy.  
Buildings seem to hang from the cliff, overlooking layered terrain.  Boulders, smaller rocks, seaweed pastures, and then the water's edge.  Downtown Vancouver is off in the distance, another world.
A rear foot suspended this time. What does she see?  Her reflection? Shimmering light?  A fish?  I'm trying to keep my feet dry, so cannot explore from her viewpoint.  
Dainty little legs cross as she comes back towards me, but Black Jack has a strong, agile body and an inquisitive nature that motivates her to use it well.  Dry feet are not a consideration for her.
We come across a seagull, resting on top of a rock. How can those rough barnacles and shells be comfortable?
Black Jack is quiet, but I'm sorry to see that we have disturbed the bird.
It flies off...
.. but circles and comes back, toward us.  That, for some reason, makes me feel better.  
I think this crow is having a seafood feast.
It stops for a moment to check us out, but then carries on.  Black Jack is calm.  She is used to crows and seagulls.
I wonder if this would be called a sandbar.  I've never noticed it on our other walks.  Great place for things to hide.
I have no idea what this is.  Last night, I found some great sites explaining the BC coastline, but I didn't save them, and now, I can't find the one that I thought was the most interesting.  So, no identification, but I see a whale in the image.  Do you?
We come across some sandpipers (I think).  They are impossible to get close to, and I need all the help photoshop can give me to try and show their delicacy. Another thing I love about Black Jack is that she really notices new things around her.  She is silent, but stands on her hind legs, leaning forward with ears cocked and expression mystified. 
They fly away at first, but we stay for a while, and they eventually go about their business, ignoring us.
The two at the right (in the above picture) finally separated, each going their own way.  I found an excellent site about sandpipers.  This quote really endeared the author to me: 
Sometimes as I walk along a beach and watch the skittering sandpipers chasing the waves, I think about just how far each individual bird has traveled to reach the spot that it and I share the same sand. I suppose that is a bit too metaphysical for some birders but it was, for example, essentially the premise of Last of the Curlews, the personalized and fictional story of the last Eskimo Curlew on earth (Bodsworth 1954).

These ducks were also enjoying a feast, and were NOT impressed with our presence.
Off they go.  They are female mallards, and are supposed to be drab, but that navy in their wings is stunning, and worked well with the blue in the background (I guess you would have to click on the photo to see that.  My photos were definitely not spectacular yesterday, so apologies in advance.)  I always wonder about the people who feel the need to leave their mark on the surroundings.  I never see them at work.  Maybe they perform better after dark?
The ducks continue along the beach..
.. and over the water.
The second catches up to the first..
.. but they part again as they skid to a halt.
Black Jack and I were ready for lunch, so we left the beach, headed up the steps, and along a quiet street towards home.  I don't know what these flowers are, but I stopped for a moment to admire them.
This flower is in a garden at a 4th Avenue street corner.  I always feel grateful for the people who work hard to add a touch of beauty to an otherwise nature-starved spot.  The gardening lady saw me one day, and encouraged me to take as many pictures as I wished.  She told me this flower is called Hardy Hibiscus.   
I have been very self-indulgent for the first week of my holiday.  I still have almost three weeks left, but I'm feeling the need to organize my time a bit more productively, partly to prepare myself for what will be the heaviest teaching load in September that I will have had for some time.  Today is cloudy and cool and perfect for doing that sort of thing.  Maybe, if I post my intentions, I will feel obligated to carry through with the plan.  What do you think?


  1. If you find out the name of those red flowers, please let me know. I saw some the other day, interspersed with large white shasta daisies, and the combination was glorious! I surfed the net for a while trying to find the name but no luck.

    As for posting intentions, it only works if someone holds you accountable. So, Carol......what DID you accomplish today? LOL

    I am so happy not to have to prepare for a new semester now that I'm retired. In the past, I would watch the summer slip away, knowing I had things I should do before classes but unable to motivate myself to do them, and such guilty feelings dampened the joy of summer holidays. Enjoy this time - the fall workload will get done when the chips are really down. Tell yourself you work better under pressure! (And I'm an enabler.........)

  2. Oh Carol, thank you for touring me around Canada, by looking at your photos I have roamed around some secluded place in Canada and with BJ as my tour guide. The elegant looks so elegant and the thing on the photo that you are asking about, I enlarge it and I think that's a skull of a big snake, could it be? Happy weekend!


  3. Jean, I'll keep an eye out and let you know if I learn the name of those flowers. They are really striking.

    I accomplished absolutely nothing yesterday, unless you want to count that Black Jack (and I) had a great time at Spanish Banks at low tide (I'm going to post a couple of her pictures). The only thing achieved by posting my intentions was increased guilt, so I won't do that again, but thanks for trying to give me a little boost. It was nice to know that I'm not alone in the summer holiday joy-dampener. If ever there were an argument for staying "in the moment" that would be it, so thanks for enabling:)

    Al, you're welcome for the tour of my little corner of Canada. I always enjoy seeing your photographs of the Philippines. The access to far away places is one of the advantages of internet that I am most thankful for. A snake skull? I'm not so sure, but you have definitely got me thinking. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. You saw a whale in this image but I see a giant toadstool. Funny how visual impressions are quite subjective which makes for an interesting world.

    "I found some great sites explaining the BC coastline, but I didn't save them, and now, I can't find the one that I thought was the most interesting." Have you tried searching your browser history, command-option-b in Safari?

  5. Somehow I missed this post until today, but I must add that I think the explanation for Black Jack's raised fore paw is that, somewhere in her ancestry, she must have a pointer!! ;-)

  6. Bill. I think we were talking about different pictures, but I love your "giant toadstool" suggestion for the sandbar photo. I see it too.

    And thanks for the suggestion. Sometimes I go back over my google searches, but I think the mac doesn't understand command-option-b (just tried it). Or maybe, it's because I try to avoid irritating pop-ups by deleting search history.

    EvenSong, I have thought more than once that she may have pointer heritage. Nice that you saw that too:)

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