Tuesday, September 4, 2012

ABC Wednesday - Letter G

This very late ABC Wednesday (well, Tuesday) post is another insanely long one.  For those of you with way too little time to read all of it, I've put some headings in bold caps.  Feel free to ignore all but a photo or two that may catch your attention.
Do you see a lower case "g" in the woods?  Bill says it's there, but he also saw an elephant.

This next one isn't the shape of a "G" but it does look like a goat to me.  That's a pretty fine "g" word, don't you think?  (Both these photos came from our hike at Brothers Creek.

The new-to-me composer for ABC Wednesday, letter "G" week, is Henryk Górecki.  I found him in 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.  His 3rd Symphony was composed in 1976 but became famous in the early 1990's.  The above link will take you to "Lento y Largo" from his 3rd Symphony.  The text comes from words written on the wall of  a Gestapo prison cell in Poland.  The music begins with low strings seeming to come from a long distance away.  When the voice came in, the hair on my arms stood up.  There is great sadness, but glorious beauty as well.  As one person commented: The only escape out of our damned and wicked culture built two miles form Hell, is through... Tears. Sorrowful especially sacred, music such as this has the power that few other popular music forms possess to break the heart and let loose the deluge of forlorn tears that shall purify us, transforming a monster of hell into a radiant angel of heaven.  (The photo below is taken from this site.)
The new-to-me artist is Rodney Graham.  Actually, he is most unusual in that along with his considerable fame as an artist, he is also a musician/composer.  You can listen to his band at this site.  This past Tuesday was pay-by-donation night at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Bill and I decided to go.  We had seen the Matisse exhibit, so I googled to see what other artists we could learn about.  I had already selected Rodney Graham for my ABC post, and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that he was one of the featured artists the very night of our visit!  The work below was on display at the museum and I also found it at this site.
The Old Bugler, Among the Fallen, Battle of Beaune-Roland, 1870
Rodney Graham often poses for his own work (look carefully at the soldier above, dressed in the uniform of the French National Guard). He is local (Abbotsford, BC), is known as a humorist, and is described in Canadian Art Magazine as a "sous-chef" of the art world.   This Wikipedia article will give you lots more information about him, but the very best would be to watch for one of his shows near you.  "His work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [He also] represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1997, exhibited at the international art exhibition Documenta IX in 1992 and at Sculpture Project Muenster in 1987." (Quote taken from the Art Daily site, linked above the photo.) He has exhibited in Canada (Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto), Switzerland, France, Germany, U.S. (New York, L.A. and Chicago), Spain, England, France, Austria and Mexico.  I think there is no substitute for seeing and feeling his art for yourself.  

The colour green comes up a lot in my posts and letter "G" week seems a good time feature it.  One day last week, I biked across the Lions Gate Bridge, and took this photo at the centre.   
Many textures and shades found in nature also glorify green.  This is at Minnekhada Park.

Here's a closer look at the beautiful moss.
And, another from that same hike.  It was a wonderland of greenery.

Another shot featuring the many faces of "green" comes from the hike at Brothers Creek.

Finally, I have not yet met a dog who loves green grass quite as much as Black Jack.  When we walk in the park, I have trouble to keep her going when we pass a gloriously luxurious patch of grass.  She just plops down, her eyes glaze over..

and she gratefully snuggles and gyrates until every inch of her has come into contact with its glossy softness.
"Grow" is another word that hooks up quite nicely with "green" and seeing the process a bit more closely as we walked by the blueberry fields near Deboville Slough was an eye opener.  I looked at the Wikipedia site for blueberries and learned that the genus, Vaccinium, includes most edible berries that humans (and bears) enjoy.  There is a machine that usually picks the blueberries, but we also saw humans doing that job on our last trip.  I'm wondering if their job is to get the ones the machines miss, or if there is another explanation.
As we walked along the Deboville Slough road, we gazed up at the rock face on the Minnekada Park trail, and felt quite gleeful, not only at the greenery, but for the giddy feeling that we actually made it all the way up there.  I guess that's not so bad for two seniors :)
As for finding ways to gather those delicious blueberries, the bears are quite gifted at grappling to find a method to get past the gullies and through the electric fences.  Below, the goal wasn't reached, but there is lots of evidence to suggest that other attempts work out in the bears' favour.  The six photos below show an unsuccessful mission that we watched from the other side of the blueberry field.  I think the bear at the right (almost hidden) may be stuck between two fences.

Perhaps this is the mother going back to help her cub?

Just guesswork here.  Maybe one cub between the fences, and Mom and the other cub trying to help it?  Or, join it?

Mom trying to get through?

I have heard that the electrical fencing doesn't bother them very much.  

Looking through the long lens from a long distance away, it was difficult to put the story together.  I just knew I was excited to be seeing bears and kept focusing on those little brown spots :)  We haven't visited for a couple of weeks, but I hope all the bears are continuing to thrive and that the blueberry farmers are managing to make a living.  (I think this is the bear that was trying to get through searching for a better point of entry.)

And, getting back to the "grow" theme, I can't resist posting this photo of flowers and fuzz taken near the roadside where we stood watching the bears.  I was so happy to receive identification help from Peter and Jean (thank you so much, both of you!) in the last post, and wondered if someone might enlighten me once more. 

Would this be Lupins?  Bill and I thought that soft white fuzz must make wonderful bird nests.  Do you think they use it?

I liked the glitzy golden yellow (with some hot pink for accent) of these flowers seen in a small garden near the beginning of the trail.

Moving on to Brothers Creek hike in West Vancouver, green (with a touch of blue) and growing ideas popped up again.  Below is a photo of Lost Lake, the first gorgeous viewpoint reached.

And, the second stop, at Blue Gentian Lake, wasn't bad either.

Bill was genuinely happy to discover these blueberries growing by the trail.

Here's a closer look at them.

Another "G" word that comes to mind every time I think of Bill is inspired by his gallantry.
A gesture of his made just before we were to leave for a hike is still fresh in my mind.  I had lost a spoon.  Not just any spoon.  It was one of two that had been given to me by Junsub, a former student. Any gift is appreciated, but those two spoons became my favourites - not too big, not too small, just right for cereal and soups.  I searched high and low.  How could I lose a spoon in my small apartment?  Now, gallant Bill had also put the garbage out the night before.  Living in an apartment building, the garbage is put in a very large bin, the kind you see homeless people rifling through.  Bill came to the conclusion that the garbage was the only place that spoon could be.  So, before we left for the hike, he tried his best to reach into that dirty, stinky bin.  He could see the white bag, but it was too far down to get.  Then, he found an old chair and stood on it, but still, he couldn't grab the bag.  I turned away for a second, and when I looked back, there was Bill, IN THE BIN.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Then, he dug through the vegetable peels and coffee grounds (no compost at my building) and lo and behold, there was my precious spoon.  Thank you, Bill!

Bill also carried Black Jack up and down steep stairs for the last 45 minutes of a hike that had become a little too tough for her.  We had been out for more than 4 hours, and Bill and I were both beginning to tire.  The deep steps going down were wearing on my knees and truthfully, there was no way I could have carried Black Jack.  She, in the mean time, must have been feeling the jolt to her shoulders when she jumped down from one step to the next.  I was following them and noticed she had been trying to find an alternative route around the steps.  When I mentioned that to Bill, he immediately began carrying her in the more difficult sections.  Pretty soon, she would check for a route around the steps, but if there wasn't one, she just sat at the top step and looked at Bill.  Tired but uncomplaining, he obligingly picked her up.  My heart swelled with appreciation and love as I watched them.  Going up.. 
..and on the way down, Black Jack was now comfortable and happy.
There are many good things about this story.  One was that Black Jack only took advantage of Bill's generosity when she genuinely needed it.  She's actually quite a gutsy little dog.  It was only at the end, and only in the more difficult places that she looked for help.  Another thing that makes me really happy is that she was absolutely fine the next day.  She had shown some pain in her shoulders a few weeks before that had healed.  Now, she knew to avoid hurting herself again. I guess she had learned to pay attention to her body's signals. 
Last week, we walked along the seawall from Granville Island to the ferry dock by the Cambie Bridge.  This lovely flower caught my eye and I still find it too irresistible to leave out of the post.  I, of course, have no idea what it is, so once more, id help is welcomed.  

It was a beautiful day, and I sat with Black Jack on the wall's edge, watching a cormorant with shiny feathers glowing in the sun .  I was surprised that it seemed unafraid.  Its front was not white, so it must have been an adult, but it watched us with calm curiosity.
After quite some time, it swam to the other side of the water and approached two kayakers.  Unfortunately, its grand gesture was ignored, but it made me giggle to see the way it gazed at them.  It was probably thinking it could teach them a thing or two about gliding.

A photo of the Granville Bridge, taken a few days later, concludes the post.  It used to be my least favourite Vancouver bridge, but this particular view is growing on me.

As always, my deepest gratitude to all who take time to read my posts.  For other thoughts from around the world about the letter "G" and its themes, do check out ABC Wednesday.


  1. you are an INSANE poster!

    sweet little blackjack. glad she got a carrier. :)

    love the green and moss and love the 2 tree shapes. i saw an elephant, for sure.

  2. What struck me in this post are the steps embedded so naturally into the forest floor to help people move upward. And Bill’s generosity of spirit AND the willingness to go through a lot of yucky GUNK in the garbage to find that spoon! That IS gallant in my books!

  3. This is an wonderful post and I'm glad you posted it. Late doesn't matter, especially when you have so many fantastic shots and words. I always enjoy how eclectic your posts are. Carver, ABC-W Team

  4. What a gargantuan post! Must confess I didn't read it all but did view all the pictures and loved the 'greenery' ones the best. You certainly should get the prize for the longest ABC posts.

  5. Beautiful pictures, Great adventure. I definately see an elephant and a goat too it those old trees at the beginning. The green and the glow and grow of the city arebeautiful. As always Blackjack is a star. Hope you have a great week.

  6. Great shots, so many textures and nice contrasts of light and tones.

  7. Glad I found your G post, I love the pics of the fuzz on the flowers. Your Bill sure is a gallant one. You seem to have so much enjoyment discovering new trails together!!!

  8. Glad I found your G post, I love the pics of the fuzz on the flowers. Your Bill sure is a gallant one. You seem to have so much enjoyment discovering new trails together!!! Ann