Friday, December 21, 2012

ABC Wednesday - "W"

"W's" have whooshed willy-nilly through my world this past week.  I hope you enjoy the post and if you do, you may also love the amazing ABC Wednesday web site, where other thoughts about the letter "W" will be expressed in witty and wondrous ways. 

Wags, wiggles and lots of sniffs but no whines, whimpers or woofs ensued..

when wee Black Jack welcomed these two well-wishers into her space the other day.

One of the dogs got a whiff of the treats in my pocket and used his winsome brown eyes to suggest that I share the goods.

When we walked under the Cambie Bridge a day or two later, the warm light wrapped itself around the pillars in a whimsical and winning (in our book) design .
You saw photos from that walk in my previous post, many of them inspired by Bill, and since he and Black Jack make my world wondrously happy, here they are in all their worthy glory.   
On the weekend, a horse and buggy team offered rides around my apartment block.  Each time I heard the clip clop of hoofs, I ran to the balcony, hoping to catch a photo in spite of the  rainy weather, branches and poor light.  I was feeling quite woebegone with my poor results..

but was finally happy to catch one of the horses whispering a secret to the other.

On the day of the high tide (previous post), I witnessed a wildlife story that reminded me that it is okay to work hard for the things we want.  These cormorants, with the white breast markings of adolescents, were sitting on the False Creek sculpture, Brush with Illumination.

Here is a photo of the whole sculpture (taken a while ago) to help you with the story details.  It is interesting to me because of its response to wind, wave and weather conditions, but most of all, I love it for the respite it provides to birds, and especially, to the local cormorants. 

One of them did a wobbly take-off..
and a rather wonky landing.  

The floating ball at the base of the sculpture seemed a weird place to want to land, but s/he was determined to settle there. 

S/he tried many times but always slipped off.  I was impressed that this gritty whippersnapper had such a strong will.  

I would have been woozy after so many failed attempts, but s/he didn't waver in his/her effort to figure out a solution to the problem.

Believe it or not, this wriggling scramble is the one..

that won out..

in the end.  Whoopee!

These watchers witnessed the entire saga, but didn't appear to be impressed with the young cormorant's willpower.  I guess, for them, such persistence is an everyday occurrence.

Other wildlife sightings over the past few days had me, 

yet again, gazing in wonder..

into the eyes of a sparrow, a duck in the water..

and a wise juvenile crow.  

And then, yesterday, Yaletown became a Winter Wonderland.

Well, to be honest, it was a wet snow that must have felt quite heavy on this seagull's wings,

but it created wonderful patterns on the tree branches.

This boy worked hard to build a snowman.

The snow barely covered the grass, but his friend helped by transporting handfuls from a wide area of the park.

Here, his friend wanders off to look for more building material..

but in spite of a noble effort, the final result was, like the cormorant's landing, a bit wonky.  I watched the small tableau from my balcony window and it warmed my heart.

When we traveled last year to Ottawa, Black Jack handled a crisp snow amazingly well but the wet stuff yesterday didn't impress her one bit.  When we came in from outside, she was happy to be wrapped cozily in her bed.  Every time I tried to get a photo, she yawned.  I think she was trying to tell me it was a good day to withdraw from outdoor activities.
And, one more story that warmed my heart and my day!  This is Griffin, a tracking dog.  A week ago, she went out on a search and rescue mission to find two lost dogs.  As it turned out, those dogs were found, but Griffin became lost and spent over a week on the mountain.

Here she is with Ellie Mae, one of the dogs originally lost.  Griffin was finally caught.  You can read that story here.  In the mean time, this facebook site to help find lost dogs is a good one to save in your web list if you live in or near Vancouver, BC.  I hope I never have to use it for Black Jack, but most readers here take the welfare of pets seriously, and each life saved is surely worth a lot.  I am not sure if such a site exists for lost dogs in other parts of the world, but if not, it would be a great project for someone with time and computer skills to set up.
The new-to-me artist for "W" is Alfred Wallis.  The photo below, taken by Christopher Wood, records the moment that he and Ben Nicholas met Wallace.
This is another of those stories that warms the heart.  This site has some poignant writing about that meeting.  I will just leave one small quote from it, knowing that your time is probably limited for checking out links:
"In August 1928 I went over for the day to St. Ives with Kit Wood: this was an exciting day, for not only was it the first time I saw St. Ives, but on the way back from Porthmeor Beach we passed an open door in Back Road West and through it saw some paintings of ships and houses on odd pieces of paper and cardboard nailed up all over the wall, with particularly large nails through the smallest ones. We knocked on the door and inside found Wallis, and the paintings we got from him then were the first he made."
At this link (same link as before.. click on "Research Archive" at the top and then go to audio Interviews) from the same site, there are four short interviews with people who knew him.  In the second one, there are little expressions that bring back the Newfoundland voices of my aunt and uncle from long ago.  That made me curious as Wallace was English but at this Wikipedia site, I learned that he made his living as a deep-sea fisherman, doing a run for many years between England and Newfoundland.  I also learned that he married a woman 41 years old when he was only 20.  He helped raise her five children from a previous marriage and only turned to painting "for company" after she died.  Below is one example of his work.  This quote from Wikipedia explains that:
"His paintings are an excellent example of naïve artperspective is ignored and an object's scale is often based on its relative importance in the scene, giving many of his paintings a map-like quality." There are more interesting details about him at that Wikipedia link.  The painting below represents the wind, wave and water themes that are never far from my thoughts, especially for a "W" theme.  It is called "Small Boat in Rough Sea" and I love it.  You can see other wonderful examples of his work at this site.

Lastly, I love the sweet tones of Edith Wiens singing a song by Brahms: "Wie Melodien zieht es mir."  She sings in German but here is the English translation.  

It moves like a melody,
Gently through my mind;
It blossoms like spring flowers
And wafts away like fragrance.

But when it is captured in words,
And placed before my eyes,
It turns pale like a gray mist
And disappears like a breath.

And yet, remaining in my rhymes
There hides still a fragrance,
Which mildly from the quiet bud
My moist eyes call forth.

The words  wend their way through my mind, washing over the negative thoughts that I feared I might wallow in after just hearing the most recent announcement by the National Rifle Association (no link because I don't want to give credence to their plan).  With my determination to keep negativity out of this blog, I will just say that we must find a kind way to show the world that there are better ways to protect our precious children than to put armed guards in schools.  Perhaps, Mr. Rogers says it best:
Fred Rogers
“It's very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It's easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.” 
― Fred RogersThe World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember


  1. Hi Carol, we had wet snow in Ladner but the roads were clear yet a bit slick. I'm glad it's gone now as I don't like driving in it. Love your post and photos...have a very Merry Christmas!

    abcw team

  2. sweet visitors that dropped by to see black jack! loved your cormorant photos. such goofy but yet beautiful birds!

  3. I like the fluffy snow scenes … it looks like a wonderland from a distance. Funny you should mention Mr. Rogers because I was thinking about him just the other day. His approach was always so gentle and smart that I actually wondered what he would say about recent events. Thanks to you quoting him … now I know. :)

  4. What a lot of Wonderful W's! I especially like the comorants. Wish I could have been there to see that performance

  5. Carol we we're thinking alike today with the winter wonderland pictures. Your pics of the comorants are very wonderful, very interesting creatures. The horses drawn carriage looks like a Chistmas scene. Thanks for your visit, love hearing from you.


  6. A wonderfully wacky, wide-ranging post! I love meeting new artists, the young bird struggling to stand on the round bit of the amazing sculpture and the picture of my brother and Blackjack! I am writing this is the wee hours of the morning.... jet lag still! Phyllis

  7. Always enjoy your WANDERINGS, esp the kids in the snow!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  8. Those cormorant photos are award winning. I loved them.

  9. I too loved your 'Cormorant Series"! They are a magnificent bird and I love to watch them spread their wings to dry!
    I will check our the featured artist, Willis,as well....great boat painting.
    You have had more snow than we in Nova Scotia Carol. We never saw snow in Vancouver when we lived there. something's up!

  10. I saw the snow report on the news and wondered how you would incorporate this into your post. The children must have been jubilant to be able to play in the snow. I loved your horse captures...the trees and the angles and the powerful animals. Thanks for the W world...imagine X is neXt!