Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ABC Wednesday - "Z" for "zeitgeist"

There are many pictures for this "Z" post, but I'm going to try my best to keep the commentary brief.  Famous last words :)

The word "zeitgeist" is the focus for the entire post.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary tells me it represents the "intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era."  Wikipedia describes it as "the spirit of the age or spirit of the time." I'm hoping one of those definitions will seem appropriate to you as you look through my post.

There are four sections to the post:  Feel free to read only one of them. 
1. Cabin in the woods - Salt Spring Island
2. Mist and sun on the way to Beaver Lake, Vancouver
3. "Z" artists (3 of them)
4.  Zither music

Cabin in the woods - Salt Spring Island
I came across this abandoned cabin one day while walking with Black Jack, but it was only on returning with Bill that I really came to think about the spirit of the time.

There was a light rain falling, and though I covered my camera, mist collected on the lens.

I think that added to the eerie feeling of going back in time.

The cabin was close to a cliff.  It was a steep drop down to the water.

I took a step back for the bigger picture.

The moss on the other side of the roof had a healthy glow to it.

My camera's plastic rain-cover appeared at the top of this photo of the outhouse.

We wondered about the person(s) who may have lived in the cabin.  We also had seen four or five deer during our walk, one of them a buck (photo in previous post), and that gave zany  Bill the idea to give himself antlers.  I was supposed to help position them correctly but was laughing too hard.   
As we walked home, the feeling persisted that we had stepped into the mid-1950's..

and that stayed with me even as we walked by the pond on the Salt Spring property.

Mist and sun on the way to Beaver Lake
The day picked up two of Vancouver's moods simultaneously.  It felt both rare and familiar and a "this is my Vancouver" feeling stayed in my heart for the 6-hour (!) walk.  The very first photo I took was of this Z-shape in the stone of the seawall.  Oh..  but I forgot to show you..  
this. It was taken from my balcony, as I looked across False Creek before leaving home.

In David Lam Park, the view changed..

 with a turn of the head..
or a step in a different direction. 

Seriously, the bright blue sky was just a head turn away.

The waves at the water's edge made great "Z" shapes..

and I did a distance shot so you could see how they formed.
The zeitgeist of Vancouver's artistic climate is so often based on the city's closeness to nature, and..

I almost felt like a "real" artist..

with my captures of frost on leaves, seawall pebbles and zig-zag "Z's" in the waves.

I believe I could hang these next two images on my wall and enjoy them..
for a long time to come.  Now, if only I could paint or draw what I see around me.
Another "Z" - do you see it?
More frost images,

this wonderfully colourful couple,
the mountains in the distance,

a mystery fruit too high in a tree to touch..

and this spirit guidance paper boat were a few of the zillions of zeitgeist moments..

that infused zest into every moment of this walk.

A boy, perhaps about eight years old, admired this spirit boat with me.  It was sitting on a rock and we looked at the feather, the wine glass, the carefully crafted flowers, the red wood in the frame..  it felt like such a treasure!  His mother came along and kicked it into the water.  The boy said quietly to her, "I don't think you should do that."  "Why not?" she responded.  "It is meant to float."  A moral and cultural division in the generations, I wonder?  I think I know what the boy was feeling.  The boat had to choose its own path in remembering someone who had obviously been loved.

I continued on and found another spirit boat.  This one was..

closed at each end, but I imagined the remembered treasures inside.

Sunset Beach..  a sculpture..  some cyclists who tried but couldn't ride the curve..

a couple of roses..

in the Stanley Park garden,
these brilliant berries at the side of the road,

and branch reflections by Beaver Lake - everything seemed like art..

barely able to wait..

for its expression.

And, Vancouver's bridges.  The Lions Gate is so much a part of the..

oceanside culture, 

I can only say the Zeitgeist idea was everywhere I looked.  

Everywhere!  Even under the Granville Bridge.

Zither Music
When I was a child, we had a very old zither.  It had been one of the few items saved when a house my father lived in burned down.  He entrusted it to me when I left home, and I am deeply ashamed that somehow, in many moves across the country, the zither was lost.  The lady in the video below is not a professional musician but she really does embody the spirit of zeitgeist.  She can't explain the theory of what she does, but if you listen to the end, you will see that this music is a part of who she is.

The video below shows a German man playing "Let it Be" on his zither.  We have no choice, I think, but to let our culture.. our heritage..  be.  It isn't something one plans but rather a part of all we have experienced.

"Z" artists
Ossip Zadkine did this heartbreaking sculpture called "The Destroyed City."  
It shows a man without a heart and is a memorial to the Rotterdam Blitz in 1940.
Zadkine's wife, Valentine Prax, did this painting called "Painters and Musicians."

She is pictured with her young husband on the left.  The picture on the right shows Zadkine a year or so before he died.  There is so much to know and understand about them, but I will leave you to check out the links if you hunger for more.
The last artist for this "Z" post is Moshe Ziffer (1902-1989).  The photo is by John Phillips of Life Magazine.  I love this quote about Phillips, found at the above link: John Phillips has been described as the "grand-godfather of photo-journalism, a master of lenses and multiple languages; elegant, exuberant and chrome-steel effectual, who has recorded in his own peripatetic way some of the freshest footprints of history." [2]  

But, back to Moshe Ziffer.  He and his wife bequeathed their Tel Aviv home to the university there, so that Israeli art could be documented.  The work on the left can be found in the gardens by the house and the beautiful one on the right (unnamed, as far as I can find) is part of the gallery display in the house.  Again, so much to know and understand, but I will leave you with what I hope feels like a taste for the zeitgeist of a few different time periods.  Thank you so much for taking time to read any part of this.  You can find other impressions of the letter "Z" by checking out the ABC Wednesday blog meme.


  1. the cabin is cool -especially seeing the little table and chairs sitting there.

    like all the cool reflections and the fog photos!

  2. Outstanding post, Carol. Your water captures were my favourites, but there were so many beautiful photos that choosing a favourite wasn't easy. I was captivated by the log cabin. It strikes me that it might have been built in the 1920's or even earlier. If those walls could talk... Bill looks dapper in antlers even if they were a little left of centre. :)
    I had forgotten that the zither was saved after a fire. I wonder if that fire was the reason that Dad and Uncle Roy were so involved with the volunteer fire brigade.

    Best of all is knowing that you had a great day.

  3. You have finished all the letters! Does it begin with "A" again? I hope so! I have loved this whole idea! Phyllis

  4. There are a lot of zeitgeist moments in your post--very facinating word. I am really taken by the cabin in the woods, I can imagine a book being written about this area. I love the water "Z"s, very beautiful. Great post as always.

  5. I love all your photos! You really put Vancouver and its environs in an excellent light - I bet lots of people will visit here because of your posts! See you in Round 12?

    abcw team

  6. Just a wonderful that cabin.

  7. Well, it certainly reflects YOUR reflection of the era. then again, you do that every week!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  8. Hi there - Im working on a rather slow wifi at present - I have only seen a few of the pictures - but (as I have said before) you do seem to pack a lot into your blogs.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

  9. Zeitgeist … what a wonderful word and one that is new to me. Sometimes the neat thing about wilderness is that people from long ago trod the same paths with similar foliage and there would be little difference today were it not for modern construction. The cabin left standing is an interesting step back into a few decades in time, though, and so is that rather scary looking outhouse.

    I do agree that the “z” letters in the water are gorgeous and would look good hanging on anyone’s wall. You have done ABC Wednesday proud with your enthusiasm and super creative posts!

  10. This was a great post. I enjoyed the whole thing very much. Besides having good Z words the photography and narrative are wonderful.

  11. great photos. I am really expanding my z vocabulary. :)

    An Arkies Musings

  12. I love your photos and how you interpreted Zeitgeist, and what's even cooler is that even though we both used the same word and provided tons of awesome images, they were so different!!! Love yours!!

  13. I feel like I have been on a marvelous outing! Thank you so much for this brilliant post. I've enjoyed it very much. I am going to go back and look at it again.

    Thank you also for visiting my Camera Critter post and letting me know about that heart-warming video. I loved the happy ending for this poor dog in distress.

  14. This has been a trip for me, a very enjoyable one! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  15. Your photos are ALL always so outstanding, I can't find a favorite, because they all have their own reason for being a favorite. But I have to examine this word zeitgeist. I thought it was a German word having something to do with newspapers. I'll have to check it out, because your definition is really interesting.It sounds like a word I would like to use, because I'm really interested in the culture of many eras and areas.

  16. Gorgeous captures Carol, the berry shot is my favorite.'

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  17. All I know Carol after reading and learning throughout this post, it that I would love to go on a walk with you and Bill! You have your eyes 'wide open' and are so in tune with your surroundings.
    I really liked the cabin photos. Wonder if it will will eventually collapse into the water below?
    That photo in Stanley Park of the sun-rays shooting through the trees, truly wonderful.
    That shot of the cargo ships in what I assume is English Bay, is perfect. I could go on......I just hope you have plenty of wall space!

  18. You have captured so many unbelieveably beautiful shots, Carol. I always feel like I`m living there that possible...I believe it is and I`m hanging onto that. Your captures for `Z` theme are amazing to look at.
    Are you interested in photo editing because some of those shots would make beautiful choices to work with.
    Thanks again for allowing us to see your world and Hi to Bill and Black Jack!