Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our World Tuesday, Season 1, Week 52

This is the final week of the first season of the "Our World Tuesday" blog meme.  My thanks to the people who work hard to keep it running.  It is a wonderful way to feel in touch with people and their worlds, and although I joined it only a few months ago, it is turning out to be a most enjoyable venture.  I look forward to posting regularly for its second season.  My apologies for a very late contribution this week, but here are four events that I have enjoyed.

Black Jack and I walked over the East side of the Granville Bridge for the first time, and I gained quite a different perspective on some of the places where we walk regularly.  At the front of the picture below are the docks where the fishermen and charter boats come in, and where two seals, a heron and a seagull love to be fed .  The path on the left leads to Vanier Park where I have watched an eagle pair and their chicks.   
As we walked along, I gained a better appreciation for the big picture, with Granville Island underneath, the walking path to Vanier Park at the left, the mountains behind, False Creek covered with boats in the middle and stretching all the way to the right side, and the ocean in the background, mostly hidden by the taller buildings.

Below, you can see the ferry landing near the front of the picture.  The rainbow coloured roof belongs to one of the larger Aquabus boats.  It is an especially spacious boat with room for bicycles and an open design that is great for taking pictures and for catching a lovely breeze on hot days.  At the back of the picture is the Burrard Bridge, where False Creek and the ocean meet up.  I loved seeing the walkway from the ferry dock. We have been over it so many times, but I had never really thought of how it appears from above.
There are many places along False Creek where Black Jack loves to stare at mystery spots in the water.  It is difficult to see here, but she is staring at a tiny white feather.
She likes to do the "mad zoomies" when she comes out of the water.  She spins around and around, getting dry and working off a bit of her excitement.
On Wednesday, the 15th of August, Bill and I saw Handel's Orlando, an opera-in-concert performance at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.  The photo below, by Jan Gates, is taken from a glowing Vancouver Sun review of the concert.  In it, you can see conductor, Alexander Weimann, counter-tenor, Owen Willetts, and concert mistress, Chloe Meyers.  Bill's niece, Glenys, and her husband, Paul, both accomplished musicians (same link as Chloe Meyers) and longtime members of Pacific Baroque Orchestra, were members of the unbelievably fine orchestra assembled for the Early Music Vancouver Festival.
It was one of those evenings that I think will stay with me forever.  I came home, and the next morning, posted my gushingly enthusiastic thoughts to Facebook.  Realizing a few minutes later that I should have taken time to voice my appreciation less emotionally and more concisely, I deleted my post.  I will try here to describe a few of the pleasures of that concert:

  • Every single voice was magnificent, with difficult technical passages seeming to flow effortlessly.  
  • Alexander Weimann is a gift to Vancouver. His passion and energy burst from his limbs as though too full of the music to be restrained.  He jumps, he dances, he prances, he dives into every musical happening with sensitivity, relish and love. That enthusiasm is immediately absorbed and delivered to the audience by his thrilled-to-be-on-the-same-wavelength musicians. 
  • The emotion and lyricism in the soft passages from.. again.. every single performer.. was at times so electric, I felt I could barely breathe for fear of disturbing the magic. 
  • Glenys and Paul expressed what I believe was a common sentiment of wonder, that they got to perform this unbelievably rich music with such a stellar group of musicians. There was a connection that was alive and pulsing through the orchestra and soloists.  The audience felt their closeness, their pleasure in each other, their collective respect for Alexander, and their passion for the music. 
  • The tight ensemble in the delicate passages and the gusto in the exuberant ones. 
  • The facial expressions. Character emotions and musical focus played back and forth, often interspersed with moments of total serenity.
  • The horns, when they came in, were truly celebratory.  And, in tune!! 
  • The oboe and recorder parts were exquisite.
  • The beautiful playing of Chloe Meyers and Linda Melsted on viola d'amores and the way their connection to Orlando was so palpable. 
  • As for the singers, I will just mention the richness in Allyson McHardy's voice throughout her entire range right down to her very lowest note, the pure effortlessness in Amanda Forsythe's voice, her high notes lifting over the top with never a moment's strain, the glorious emotion in Karina Gauvin's expression and the feeling that her voice could move mountains, the dramatic power in Nathan Berg's voice and the sweet depth in his low range.  Owen Willetts, as Orlando, was technically and musically so assured, his voice flowed through the most technically demanding passages as though guided by a silver light taking it where no voice should possibly be permitted to go.   
  • My thanks to everyone who was a part of this performance.  It truly was a delight.

Since I couldn't take pictures of the musicians, I satisfied a long-held desire to take photos during intermission of the Chan's lobby and surrounding forest.  The lighting on the trees, with blackness at the center, always seems to inspire the imagination to go a little deeper than usual. 
Trees, twisted and gnarled, weave ancient stories into the modern (relatively) surroundings.

The lighting on the shrubs brings out the rich textures and varying shades of green. 

This tree feels like the entrance to a magical kingdom.

People outside, see in..

..and those inside, look out.  It is almost as though there were no dividing wall. 

This painting/mural is titled, "Silent Woods," and it seems to reflect the forest onto the main wall of the lobby.  Somehow, there is a feeling (for me) that the trees, humans, and lingering sounds of the most recent performance blend together. The artist is Gordon Appleby Smith.
After the concert, Bill noticed this spider.  It too, seemed to blend into the atmosphere.
My camera worked quite hard to finally catch a little of the web.

Thanks, Bill, for taking me to the concert, and for holding the camera bag too :) 
(Don't you think he looks like a young boy, here?)

I love the way the green of the forest makes its way even to the roof and walls of the Chan.
CBC broadcasting station has been running a series of FREE outdoor noon concerts on the plaza.  This is Bic Ngoc Hoang, a Vietnamese musician playing on a traditional instrument.

I cannot name all the instruments but loved seeing and hearing them.  This one was very versatile.  Either end could be played solo, or the two ends could be played simultaneously.

Bic Ngoc held the end of two strings in her mouth while bowing at the same time.  it didn't look very comfortable, but the sound was beautiful.  

After the concert, people could try the instruments. Here, Chi Khac encouraged a little girl to make some music (and she did).

He was so friendly and outgoing that many children were eager to learn from him.  

He joked with the little boy below, hitting the instrument (gently) on his head.  There was laughter, learning and a warmth to the atmosphere that I remember fondly.  No picture, but even Black Jack was welcomed into the midst.

Here are some of the sights and scenes I enjoyed during a trip to Port Coquitlam with Bill and Black Jack:
Standing on a little bridge and looking down (or up?) the slough.  

Mountains and greenery in the distance.
Cedar Waxwing

Young Bald Eagle

Same eagle, looking the other way.

Green heron (quite a rare sighting for me).

What does it see?

"Oh, yes!" says the heron.  "Poor frog," says Carol (At least, I think it was a frog.)

The second trip was on my bike (more about that in the next post).  After a bear crossed over the road only a few feet in front of me (will show him next time), I calmed myself by watching this bee.  I thought it had an endearing posture, rather like someone about to jump into water.  

After biking around the blueberry fields, I decided to go up the other side of the slough (again, more about this in the next post).  This bear (my second sighting of the day) was in the grass by the slough, much further away than it appears, since again, I used my long lens.

It's possible it was the same bear I had seen earlier, but somehow, in my mind, the first was male and this one, female.  No facts to back up that assumption.  Just a feeling.  I also thought she was totally enjoying herself.  The sun had gone down a bit, and the grass by the slough may have not only tasted good but felt good too.

A gentleman was sitting on a park bench watching the same bear and we talked a bit.  He thought the bears hit the grass in the later afternoon as a digestive aid after feasting on blueberries all day.  I guess that could be a plausible theory.  As we talked, I glanced behind me, and could not believe my eyes.  A cub was crossing over the road.  I managed to get this quick shot and was amused later to notice the cub's long feet.

I looked behind the cub, thinking there must be a parent with it, but none appeared.  Perhaps, the cub wanted to be closer to the Mom, if indeed that was its Mom in the slough.  She had disappeared off into the brush and I didn't see them get together at any point. So much is guesswork unless one observes the same area for many more hours than I am able to do.  But, again, there is no question that bear cubs have long feet :)

It headed down the bank and into the grass by the slough. The cub at one point, began to run and gambol through the long grass.  Here is the best I was able to show of its "playful" mood.

It was time to head back to the parking lot.  Bill (bless his heart!) was coming to pick me up.  It had been quite a long ride from Vancouver to Port Coquitlam (approximately 31 kilometres by car - not sure by bike, plus another 10 or so around the slough) and there is no way I wanted to ride the long uphill portion that had been such an enjoyable descent on the way.  Bill, in the meantime, was dealing with a worrisome light on his dash, so I had some time to watch this King Fisher on a telephone wire by the parking lot.
I was hoping to get its "take-off" if it should spot food in the slough, but it managed to outwait me.  I would never be able to count the times I have finally put the camera down only to see my subject then do my bidding.  Part of the consequence, I know, of being too lazy to carry a tripod.  Still, I did get this straight-into-the-sun shot before Bill arrived.
Since I know some of the caring people who read this blog will be wondering, Bill and his favourite mechanic have since found and solved the cause of his engine light worry, expensive from my perspective, but from his, far less than it could have been.  Miss try-to-be-green, nuts-and-seeds-earthy-lady has benefited immeasurably from all that Bill's greatly loved (by both of us) truck has allowed me to discover.  I never forget that and never stop recognizing how lucky I am.  That is the end of my impossibly late Our World Tuesday post.  I hoped to get another one published today (ABC Wednesday) but that one will be even later.  Thank you for stopping by, and as always, I encourage you to take a look at the enlightening and entertaining "Our World Tuesday" blog meme.    


  1. i like the heron catching the frog, and of course the bear sightings are so cool!

  2. Wonderful load of photo stories ... quite captivating! One made me miss the summer outdoor symphony concerts in NYC. The bear story was quite startling.


  3. I like this new perspective of the city from a bird’s eye view and the theatre with its sophisticated inside/outside forest. That is also a rare shot of a bee doing what looks like a delicate dive off a flower. Lovely! The heron and frog is a drama played out every second in nature and I sometimes wonder why it was designed that way. Thanks as always, Carol, for sharing your world. :)

  4. Chan's garden is absolutely beautiful - what a treat! And you are on FB -must try to find you. I'm going there under my artist name Jesh St Germain.

  5. So many beautiful thing sin this post. You have been busy!

  6. your day sounded supreme - what with a concert and beautiful surroundings, not to mention being with your loved one (who looks like he's holding up a strange fish!)

  7. What a marvelous post!!! Would you mind sending your excellent "review" of "Orlando" to my family? They will love hearing (reading) your thoughts! I love the bee hovering and the cub playing in the grass!

  8. This was a great post. So many different beautiful sites. All the shots were great but the bear was my favorite. I use to see bears occasionally when I was in the North Carolina mountains but I haven't lately although I know they are still there. There is something about bears I love although I keep my distance.

  9. Thanks for sharing your week on 'Our World Tuesday'. I loved that photo of the cub ambling across the road. You did so well to capture it with your camera.