Monday, April 1, 2013

Two days in my world for "Our World Tuesday"

First, Happy Easter Monday to all who celebrate.  On Saturday, I took this photo of a daffodil in Rocky Point Park, Port Moody.  It was overexposed, but reducing the highlights with iphoto resulted in an abstract, somewhat mystical feel perhaps reminiscent of Easter.
Second, an update on Lilee-Jean.  She is tolerating the latest chemo treatments well, and she continues to get the most out of every day.  This picture was posted by her family on facebook a few days ago.  As her mom said, "I wonder how she felt about pretending to ride the tractor...;)"  She has enough positive energy to keep the rest of us going for a very long time, but perhaps you could send some of that good stuff back to her via your thoughts for extra healing power.

And, thirdly, a few of you might remember my goal of catching up on blog writing.  Well, it remains in the back of my mind, but is on hold for now.  Just too many events and photos and life doesn't seem to wait while I record them.  The photo below does not represent my attitude at all :)  I'll plug away as I best I can.  Here is my account of Friday and Saturday.  
Friday morning, Black Jack and I walked along the seawall by Granville Island.  The point was driven home to me that for wildlife, Spring is all about survival of the species.  Choosing and protecting a mate is very serious business.  This goose (I'm assuming the male is in front) is telling a goose in False Creek (shown above) that it had better keep its distance.  

I first noticed the pair perched on a park bench that Black Jack and I often sit on for a few minutes.  We decided on this day to remain standing :)  I thought the goose in False Creek was keeping a respectable distance, but clearly,

the finer points of goose law evade me.

After his rather extended warning, Mr. Goose led his meek wife..  

off the park bench (check out the confidence and determination in his step),

across the path..

and into a small wooded area.  I had the feeling Mrs. Goose appreciated Mr. Goose's manly strength.  (I seem to have also dropped my attempt to avoid anthropomorphism.)

With perfect weather, Black Jack and I walked quite a distance, first heading to Vanier Park where we checked on the eagle nest (no sign of either adult, so perhaps they were hunting), and then retracing our steps past Granville and continuing on to a spot near the Cambie Bridge.  Along the way, there were the usual sights, but this loon stood out.  A lady passing on her bicycle saw that I was taking a photo and called out, "Red-throated Loon."  
Her identification help was much appreciated and I called back my thanks to her.  LInda (I hope I have remembered her name correctly) stopped then and I enjoyed learning a bit more about the loon.  She told me that its throat will turn bright red In breeding season, adding that she had only seen the one, but I'll be watching now for more.   
That evening, Bill and I saw the movie "Quartet."  Directed by Dustin Hoffmann and starring Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins and Maggie Smith, I could tell right from the opening that we were in for quite a treat.  Ronald Harwood (writer of both the stage and the screen plays) places the action in a retirement home for famous musicians, but I noticed the young couple sitting on my left appeared to be engrossed in the story as well. 
Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images for BFI
The themes addressed the inevitable losses we all experience as we age as well as the particular devastation for those who have achieved great fame at the hand of an exceptional talent.  But, as I watched it, a thought came back to me that has been forming for a while.  There were good reasons why that young couple sat transfixed. In fact, though we make some "adjustments" as we get older, our basic personalities do not change.  The life themes, even in a retirement home, are not so different from the ones encountered, no matter what our age or background. Most of the time, I feel the same person as the teenager  in high school who was a bit of a loner and a dreamer.  And, that point transitions rather neatly to the rest of our weekend.  I confess that I deleted many of the pictures Bill took of me during our happy hike Saturday at Minnekhada Regional Park.  Sometimes, it's a shock to feel one way on the inside, but to be presented with the reality of our physical changes on the outside.  
Perhaps, it is a good thing to post the few I kept, both in the interest of honesty and also to get used to this person who is having the time of her life, even as her image changes.  Aging may have its challenges, but it is not a gift afforded to all. Better to savour than waste the good moments that come along with signs of wear and tear.

Thanks, Black Jack.  That was about as much honesty as I can handle for one day :)

Bill took those pictures of me at a beautiful lookout point called the High Knoll.  The elevation is 600 ft (180 m) and the view is of the Pitt River and Pitt Meadows beyond.  
But, to go back to the beginning of our adventure day, we started out by checking the osprey nest in Port Moody, hoping to see Matt and Mimi.  The nest appeared to be abandoned, and as far as we could tell, they have not returned this year.  We'll continue to keep our eyes and ears open for news of them.  
As we looked across the water, I detected skittering in the distance.  My lens caught this shot of some Buffleheads (I think) going through the same "don't you dare steal my mate" dramas I had observed the day before with the geese.  I know this is hard to see, but a male appears to dance on one foot after skipping quite a distance in his effort to impress the ladies.
Without osprey action for entertainment, we decided to head over to the Minnekhada trails for a hike.  We passed a farm with lots of goats, 
and Bill stopped..
so I could catch a few window shots.  The one below stared quite pointedly at my camera.  I'm thinking the thought passed through his mind that the least we could have done was to offer some treats in exchange for his excellent job of posing.
Our first stop along the trail was to seek out the source of some tap-tap-tapping.  It was Bill who saw this small hole, 
and then some action..
at the top of a very, very tall tree.
We thought we were seeing a tail and a kicking action, but on examining..
the cropped and enlarged photos later, we realized a woodpecker was housecleaning and shooting the debris quite forcefully out of the tree.  I believed this might be a Pileated Woodpecker, but concede Bill is probably closer to the truth in thinking it's a Downey.
If any readers live near Vancouver, I highly recommend this hike.  It is varied and not too strenuous, but with just enough challenge to keep a couple of seniors interested :)  Below are the blueberry fields seen from the "High Knoll" lookout where Bill took the photos of me.
You may wonder what Bill is doing in the picture below, but I guessed almost immediately that he was checking out a funny-photo opportunity.
Yup, I was right.
I often think Bill has missed a few callings.  One of them is as an entertainer.
Were you convinced?  
I love this next picture.  He clearly has enjoyed the moment almost as much as I did.  And, check out Black Jack at the right.  I think she found his acting job to be quite convincing. 
Not to worry, both Bill and I had a good grip on the leash here.  I think Black Jack just wanted to see whatever it was that had entertained Bill so mightily on the other side of that rock.
Here, I set up the camera and ran into position for a shot of the two of us.  It's another of those, "Who is that woman?" moments, but I love the memory of the laughter.
One last shot of two of my favourite beings in the world, and then we were off to..
our next viewpoint, the Low Knoll, with a view of the lower marsh.  Bill had been thinking as we walked.  When we set up the camera to take photos of us together, it always does 10 shots, and usually, we just hold one position until it is finished.  This time, he suggested a little play-acting routine.  
Below is a gif that Bill made from seven of the ten shots of our slow-motion acting debut.  I find it hilarious but Black Jack thought there was better entertainment on the ground :)
Continuing back to the parking lot, both Bill and I really loved the variety of terrain,
and the moss-covered trees.
I sat for a few moments here, mesmerized by the beauty of individual bits of moss. 
Two eyes followed as I walked over this rock..
and along this narrow path between a tree and a rock-wall padded with a fuzzy green quilt. 
Emerging from the woods, we looked down to see the marsh and a path across it.
Bill pointed out the beaver home..
and far across the marsh, I thought I spotted..

a heron.  The zoom lens worked its magic and even caught the heron's fish in its view.
That lens often shows me sights my eyes would otherwise miss.
Here, a flashback to the day before as two geese suddenly scuffled..
and yet another goose tongue emerged in a photo.  I remember as a kid that sticking a tongue out was considered the rudest possible insult.  It occurs to me that way back in time, humans may have picked up that idea from watching geese.  

Bill carried Black Jack over this log and she enjoyed the opportunity for a great view of the water.  I considered asking him to carry me as well, but thought better of it :)  It turned out to be easier than expected, but the image of a family we had encountered a few minutes before struck both of us.  The younger members were helping an elderly gentleman who was struggling but determined to walk with them.  We realized he would have had to cross this log and the challenge must have felt enormous. I guess the events of the weekend have left me with an appreciation for the things we can do now, and a resolve to continue doing them for as long as possible.  
One skunk cabbage shot from the log, just to prove to myself I could take it without falling off.. 
and then we were back at "our" woodpecker's tree.  
It had been about three hours, 
but we had the feeling s/he hadn't even taken a rest break.
I'm writing this in the wee hours of Monday morning, still savouring the events just described, but also thinking about some Sunday events: a little "energizer-bunny" dog playing solo soccer, a Bhangra and Bollywood performance by Dance All Sorts, and a beautiful Jazz Vespers concert by Jaclyn Guillou and her exceptionally fine band, but I'll save those for another post. In the mean time, I thank Bill for bringing so much fun to the weekend and you for stopping by to share in it.  You can read about other events in the lives of people around the world by going to the Our World Tuesday blog meme.


  1. once again, you load us up! :) loved the geese. loved bill and blackjack. loved seeing you. :)

    if not a pileated, it might be a hairy? they have longer bills than downies and this one definitely is a long bill. hard work!

    that loon is very cool!

    1. Yeah, I thought of you when I posted, TexWis. I'm working on it. Really :) Thanks for taking time to wade through my wordy stories and numerous photos! You are such a wonderfully faithful commenter and I appreciate that immensely. I also appreciate the suggestion about a Hairy. I do believe you are right.. again!

  2. Quite a busy week again. Almost feel as if I just tag along with you.I wonder where that woodpecker gets the energy from. Maybe I need to start eating insects.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Fun60. Now, there's a thought that hadn't occurred to me :)

  3. what a fun post. i liked your fowl photos.

  4. What a great day, and great hotos.

  5. Life as it can, as it should be.

    Thank you very much for this much enjoyed journey. Please have you all a wonderful Tuesday.

    robert geiß

    1. Your first sentence made me happy. Thanks, Robert!

  6. Wonderful series of images. I felt like I was there with you. The photos of your Bill, you and cute Blackjack are great. The Loon is a great sighting and the woodie is cool cleaning out its nest. Thanks for sharing your world today. Have a great week!

    1. Thank you, Eileeninmd! I enjoyed your comment :)

  7. Lilee-Jean is a doll. What a great smile. There is definitely a goose law in this world. I have broken a few rules in my life and had to run for it.

    1. I haven't met Lilee-Jean but I feel as though I have. She does indeed have the most wonderful smile. Your comment about having to run for it made me smile. Think I've been there a couple of times as well :)

  8. That is such a nice shot of the three of you. There is a youthful spirit that comes through in all the photos of you and Bill. The camera nowadays sees more detail than the human eye does it seems so personal portraits can be a bit disconcerting and even distorted. But what I see here is all lovely.

    1. Thanks so much, Penelope! I appreciated your kind words! The camera does see more than my eyes these days. Whoops.. may want to let go of that thought :)

  9. Lovely outing! Black Jack is real sweetie!

  10. Great pics, I have a wonderful time following those geese!

    1. Thanks, Ebie. Now, I'm picturing you as you follow them :)

  11. Very interesting post. It plays to one of of my on going interests - why do you call these birds "loons" while I was brought up in the UK calling them "divers" (we dont divers/Loons in Australia).

    When did the change happen? Is the name Loon an old name that continued in the USA but declined in the UK? Or was the name Loon invented in the USA (or its pre-independance colonies)? Who knows.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Hi, Stewart! I have never known any other term except "loons" so your comment was an eye-opener for me. Without doing any research, my initial response is that "divers" applies to many ducks but the word "loon" is more specific. Thanks for an interesting avenue to explore :)

  12. What beautiful photo's you show us here and what a handsome couple you two are. Wonderful post.

    1. Aw, thank you, Riet! Much appreciated that you took time to say that :)

  13. Love those intimate pictures of you and Bill. Black Jack makes me laugh while he stares at Bill pretending to need help on that cliff overhang. Sophie does the very same thing, trying to save me or Jim depending who is acting up that day.
    Love the trip you took us on, especially seeing the mossy trees and rocks. I so remember this when we used to travel around the Lower Mainland.
    Thanks for leaving us with those beautiful smiles!


  14. Thanks for the comment, Ron. Now I have a picture in my mind of you hamming it up on some cliff or other while Sophie does her best to save you from yourself. Jim did say he sees certain similarities between your humour and Bill's :) Glad you enjoyed the trip. I enjoy revisiting our adventures, and that's all the more fun with an appreciative audience :)

  15. Beautiful pictures Carol, thanks for taking us along on this great adventure. Wonderful group shots!

  16. The loon shot is really interesting - I've seen lots of loons in BC, but always the black and white ones; that one is beautiful in a completely different way. I wonder how common they are?
    Love touring around with you via your blog - I am envious of all the places you, Bill, and Black Jack go. Such fun!

  17. Thanks for commenting, Jean! I think the Red-throated Loon is a bit unusual for this area. Bill and I both think it's strange that this one appears to be alone, and wondered if s/he could be lost. I googled a bit and read that they spend their winters along the coast as far south as California but I think this one should be heading north by now. But, my knowledge about them is scanty, to say the least. This is the first I've ever seen. Thanks for joining the tour :)

  18. The face of joy is always beautiful and you have never looked better. Much love....


    1. Aw, thanks, Sherrill. Almost missed this.. lovely start to my day. Much love to you too!