Monday, May 14, 2012

Visiting Maria

Last Wednesday, Bill and I enjoyed a wonderful time with Maria, of "Penelope Puddlisms: BC Life is a Whale of a Ride" fame.  She was kind enough to share a few of her favourite haunts with us, and though we had seen that world in photos, being there brought it to life in the richest sense possible.  Welcome to my contribution to Our World Tuesday, this week visiting the fabulous South Surrey and White Rock communities of B.C.

As we stepped out of the truck, we took in the vibrant greens..
 and trees with a sense of history wound into their limbs.
 Bill took a few seconds to smell the lilacs, and I was transported to a time of my youth when that fragrance (small village in rural Quebec) heralded Spring as none other.  
 These lilacs were the rich burgundy of barely opening buds, but we also saw..
 lighter mauves of more fully opened ones nearby.
A dogwood tree seemed especially beautiful against the perfect blue background. 
I loved the memories of childhood etched into several rocks.  Although my own memories were on the other side of the country, and my Dad didn't arrive home each evening by train, there was familiarity in the words.  
Maybe it was the idea of waiting for Daddy and the happiness of his arrival, or maybe it was the freedom of light clothes and bare feet on hot summer days that came back to me. 
One large rock had this sign in front of it.  Prehistoric inhabitants!  
We looked all around the rock, but neither of us could really pick out the petroglyph symbols. Perhaps those indents at the left, or perhaps the long flowing lines?  I have more research to do here, but..
the rock made its mark in my memory, as did this lone snail, clinging with such confidence to one side.  Perhaps it was pointing out the petroglyphs?
We met Maria at the Sunflower Cafe, a delightful place, not to be missed if you are ever in the South Surrey area.  Local residents with down-home, friendly expressions caught up on the news and enjoyed coffee and some of the best food you could ever imagine.  I had the vegan paté and they even made me a latte with almond milk.  Both were absolutely first rate. The service came with a huge smile as well.  No wonder everybody looked so happy!
Walking along the street to Crescent Beach, I thought of Gillian, of P S Whimsy - Behind the Brush.  Her most recent post had everything to do with one of my favourite flowers, dandelions.  The daisies in the background of this photo appeared willing, just this once, to let the dandelion hold the spotlight.
We walked by a store with bright colours displayed everywhere I looked.  I chose just this one basket of pencils and windmills to add a rainbow feel to my post.
My first view of the beach was breathtaking.  
A flock of Dunlins flew in a silver cloud that became black whenever they changed direction.  Over and over, silver to black and back again.  I caught just a few in this photo, but it really doesn't catch the magic in a scene you have to see for yourself to fully appreciate. 
Lovely old houses rested behind fences to our right.  The longing in this Spaniel's eyes as it watched us go by..
was impossible to resist.
We stopped to say "hi" and to run our fingers through soft, silk ears.
Clouds, mountains, forest, rocks and beach all squeezed into this photo.
At low tide, the beach felt endless, and I couldn't resist letting Black Jack run free.  We are always very careful, usually leaving her long leash attached so that we can hopefully catch her more easily, should she become intoxicated with her freedom.  But, the space felt somehow safe, and she had one of the best runs I can ever remember.
I so regret not getting this "racing" photo in focus, but will treasure it nonetheless.  Feet in the background stand testament  to the fact that Black Jack was happy to run like the wind while still keeping touch with her beloved Bill.  
We tested her loyalty with frequent treats, just to be sure :)
This might be the most seriously happy picture of Black Jack..  ever!
There were lots of other sights to see along the beach.  Riding a horse along an endless beach..
at low tide must be one of the classic dreams that entice many people to take up riding.
The dog was clearly enjoying the day as much as the humans and horses. 
Although the sun was bright, and hot summer days seem to go with this post, there was a significant breeze in the air, and we were perfectly happy to keep our jackets on over t-shirts.  In fact, looking at this young man really made me wonder if I have grown old.  Surely, he had to be freezing!
We stopped to ask him that very question, and he convinced me that he was entirely comfortable and having a great day!  Thank you, young man, for agreeing to pose for us, and for having a smile that would melt any heart.  "Strong & Free" indeed. 
His friend was equally gracious and also came with a huge smile.  Check out the tattoos on his forearms.  We learned that he is a violinist and I would guess from that wonderful shirt that he may like dogs just a bit, too.
Add children to  the horses, surfers and dogs at a beach, and my day is complete.  
With Mother's Day just over, I look back over these photos and a few mothers in my small family circle come to mind.  My niece, my sister, Bill's niece, Bill's sister, and another young couple soon moving back to Vancouver Island.  Nine lucky children of just those parents, and I take my hat off to the biggest and most overwhelming role that each of these Moms has taken on so willingly and so joyfully.
A late but heartfelt "Happy Mother's Day" to each mother out there in my blogging world.  I know you need no explanation of the wonders of your job.   
I included a few sky shots from our day in my previous post, so will show you only one for this entry, caught just as we were leaving the beach.  All day, I had been struck with the contrast of bright blue skies with sections of fluffy, rolling clouds.
Maria had told us how much she loves walking through lanes, and we could really understand that, as we viewed the sights along just one lane of many in her world.
This was attached to a gate by one house, and we were lucky enough to find the grandfather of the seven children represented.  He happily told us about his son with a propensity for sculpture, who had recorded each of the grandchildren's hands beginning with the 14-year-old on the right and ending with the youngest at the very left.  This is another of the day's tender memories that will stay with me.  
A few other sights in that lane were a green roof (intentional or otherwise, I am not sure), 
a Starling with a worm,
and a butterfly that I think I am identifying correctly as a Small White.
Back again at the parking lot, we jumped in the truck and followed Maria to Elgin Heritage Park, another of her favourite haunts.  Forest, meadow, marsh and mudflats set along the Nicomekl river yielded thrills at pretty well every turn.  For me, the outstanding memory of that part of our day will be a family of ducklings that we discovered in a pond.  
I didn't get a good capture of the parents, but think they may have been Gadwalls, a first ever sighting for me.  (The female would be at the right in this photo.)
A hawk (Red-tailed?) was circling high above, and I worried a bit for the ducklings' safety,
but they were a step ahead of me, scooting across the water and into hiding places with breathtaking speed.
We had to take our leave at this point, but oh how I hope that we will be able to visit Maria's haunts some day again soon.  I know she had barely shown us the surface of beauty in her part of the world.  I took this last photo of a park blossom through the truck window, perhaps symbolizing my appreciation for all that we had seen and experienced.  
Thank you, Maria, for taking time out of your busy life to share your world with us.  For lots more photos and stories about amazing places in other people's worlds, click here to go to "Our World Tuesday."


  1. Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  2. Wonderful post, terrific, fun captures for the day! Thanks for sharing it all with us today!!


  3. Looked like a wonderful visit!
    Absolutely amazing shots, I enjoyed them all!

  4. What a great way to describe the trees: “with a sense of history wound into their limbs”. Beautifully said and photographed, Carol. Looking at familiar surroundings through your lens, and with your passion for life, gives me a renewed perspective of why I love my haunts. Thanks so much to you and Bill for sharing your time with me. Besides the scenery, I love the clinging snail, the duckling skimming the water, horses on the beach, the butterfly, expressive pets, children and surfers. It really is a wonderful world when seen through your eyes! :)

  5. I was fortunate enough to grow up in White Rock (from ages 5 - 18), and my mother returned to White Rock/South Surrey for a further 25-plus years. It is still one of my very favourite places on earth, and you capture it beautifully. Thanks for a little cyber-trip 'home'.

  6. What a great outing, nice pics also.

  7. a glorious post with superb images and wonderful narration!! loved it!

  8. What a wonderful set of photographs. I enjoyed this sequence so much. The sights were great as was the photography and descriptions.

  9. Thank you for sharing your visit to this beautiful area through your marvelous pictures.

    Thanks, too, for visiting my site.

  10. Wonderful post, fun all the way.

  11. Wonderful post, fun all the way.

  12. so much in one day. So great. It is a very nice nature to visit it seems. From the photos I have favourites, the two riders in backlight. Gorgeous shots. :)