Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flowers and Fences in Troubled and Exciting Times

I am joining TexWisGirl's Good Fences meme today.  All the photos were taken yesterday in the space of an idyllic hour in and around George Wainborn Park.  My thoughts are quite tumultuous this morning.  Perhaps, I'll unload a few of them amid the pictures, with many thanks to you for listening, and to Theresa for doing her part to bring people together from across the world.  I hope she will be okay with the fences popping up throughout the post amid some non-fence photos as well.  In fact, Bill and I were astounded at just how many fences appeared in our short walk.
Yesterday was lovely.  I never for a moment take the peace we enjoy for granted.  As I write this, I am listening at this link to family members read the names of those who died in 9/11.  One young boy read his mother's name.  He must have been an infant when she died.  He said he would never forget her, but he didn't have the chance to know her.  
Last evening, we listened to President Obama describe the strategies the U.S. will employ to keep its citizens safe.  We know that Canada (my country) and each country of the world, will need to define an approach to counteract terrorism.  There will be many who feel we have to "get tough" and sometimes I fear that is true but I long for a gentle approach, one that will create more rather than less understanding, and one that will not include loss of innocent life.   
In the midst of devastating conflicts, the Franklin Expedition discovery and the Stonehenge discovery have lost a little of their impact.  That is too bad because they have much to teach us.  They have solved some mysteries, but also exposed misunderstandings and/or mistakes in the things we thought were certain.  Below, you can see what Bill and I thought was a very strange houseboat on a barge.  We first saw it several weeks ago by Vanier Park, and were surprised yesterday to find that it had moved much closer to us.  This morning, I finally learned that it is a work of art titled Deadhead.  
Created by Cedric Bomford in collaboration with his father Jim Bomford (a retired engineer), and brother Nathan Bomford (an artist and builder), it has been designed for public access and in fact, has hosted many events, some musical, that Bill and I have missed.  Here is a closer look at the left side of it.  
 Fences are an interesting phenomena.  I wonder when and where the first one came to be.  I wonder, also, what live music would sound like inside that tower.   
Though I have, from the beginning, been intrigued by this structure, I have also deemed it to be something of an eyesore.  The articles I read this morning suggest that many have agreed with me.  We formed an opinion without full information.  I may decide that I prefer other forms of art over this one, but at least, I can now begin to understand the goals and efforts of Deadhead's creators.  I'm thinking about the metaphor of fences as I examine the one below more closely.  They may keep people out, keep us in, protect us from falling, open at only certain times.  Some are only dividers, easily climbed.  The taped over sections of the wall are interesting as well.  They could have been lookouts.  I'm thinking that fences and blinds have similar functions.
 We are fortunate to have so many parks in our neighbourhood.  
I love when I open up a blog post to see beautiful colour..
and intricate details.  These things make life good for me, but someone told me once that he doesn't like flowers.  I was shocked and silently judgemental when he said that.  
Perhaps, I should have questioned him more to try to understand his thinking.  I already know him to be a loving father and husband.  
Black Jack was thrilled to explore every square inch of the park and Bill did his best to..
accommodate her.  She makes us laugh.
One of the people who read out a lost one's name this morning promised their loved one they would continue to laugh through their sorrow.
There were signs of Autumn all about yesterday.  People in Calgary were adapting to well over a foot of snow.  I hope those who can will find a way to enjoy it but confess I am appreciating the gentler climate here in Vancouver.
As we walked so freely, the heartrending calls of juvenile seagulls sent pangs of empathy through my heart.  A parent here turns away from her children.  Tough love is necessary sometimes.  It's the other side of the "be gentle, please" coin.
Across the water, the Os Gemeos Giants revealed new details that I missed before.  I read in an interview that the artists don't like to be questioned about the meaning of their images.  They prefer each of us to draw our own conclusions.  Did you notice the wall/fence?  
Another side to the we-must-understand-each-other philosophy but I still want to question them :)  
I would love to know the story behind every single expression.
The rest of this post is fence-heavy.  That beautiful wall of..
roses divides the park area from..
the bike path.  A row of trees and hedges..  
divides the walking path from the bike path.  We are annoyed sometimes, when cyclists and pedestrians choose the wrong path.  It is frightening to think of the possibility of a crash and some cyclists (and even runners) travel too quickly.  Some of those who err are tourists.  Some do not speak English.  Others are engrossed in their thoughts.  Such a tiny conflict in view of the huge ones around the world, but if we can show understanding here, it's a start.
We've admired this fence a few times.  It seems to serve no purpose except that of adding beauty to the park.
I do love to find reflections.  This was perhaps my favourite yesterday.
And I love the little details.  This hedge of grasses caught golden light yesterday.

I would describe the wire fence below as ugly but someone has let the greenery grow..
along it, and it does its best to hide the parking lot on the other side.  And just this morning, I noticed the dragon boaters about to pass under the bridge.   
These reflections are of the Granville Bridge that..
 we are about to walk under.
Each angle of it is interesting to me.
Even the exit ramps have their charms :)  Bill and I decided the fence you see in the bottom right hand corner is the most boring one in Vancouver :)
In fact, it is bordering a triangular lot that will house.. 
this 52-story structure, a very controversial one that has now been approved.  The screen shot below is taken from this news story about the Bjarke Ingels design.  Whatever we might think about this addition to our landscape, I think we have to agree it isn't boring :)
Bill and I have walked and cycled by this spot hundreds of times.  Yesterday, for the first time ever, we noticed the drinking water station, 
and the lovely designs of these circular covers leading to the water tap.
I have looked at this mural under the bridge hundreds of times as well.  Yesterday, for the first time, we realized the brown towers at the left represent the concrete plant's silos that are just across from it and that are now changed forever with the art by Os Gemeos.  
We also noticed the under-water aspects separated from what we see above, 
and my goodness, there is even a fence to admire in it!  I have not been able to identify the artist this morning.  The only link I could find to it is this flickr image.
When I drew Bill's attention to these fences, he began singing.. 
"Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds.  Below, you can hear Pete Seeger sing it.  If you prefer to hear Malvina's voice, it is at this link but has a 15-second add attached.
These fences were on the Yacht Club building, and that is where we turned to head back to our waiting bikes that we had left locked up in George Wainborn Park.  
On the way back, we noticed this sign.  Its words made me sad.  Just in case there is a Vancouver reader here who may have come across Jesse, I include it in this post.
Our beautiful bikes.  I always love to see them waiting so patiently for us.  Black Jack does as well.  I remember that Black Jack and I both felt like that about Bill's truck.  We have fully adapted, I'd say, to life without a motor vehicle, though I do take a moment to remember the many good times we enjoyed in it.  Bill donated it to PLEA, a charity that does much good work.  I hope it and its new drivers are enjoying each other.
So, a simultaneously exciting and frightening time.  I have no answers.  I can only respect and value life, try to understand my fellow beings, look for peaceful solutions to the small daily conflicts that arise in day-to-day life, and hope that each one of us will find a way to do the same.  That's all it would take.  It sounds so simple.  My thanks, again, to TexWisGirl and to you, for taking time to hear my thoughts.  Happy Thursday to each one of you!


  1. some interesting construction projects going on, there! always love your reflection shots. and pretty blooms, too. thanks, carol.

  2. Wow that was a lot to take in. Many, many interesting thoughts, signs, fences, art work (I question the boat but it is different). I guess diversity makes the world a more interesting place for sure.

  3. Sorry, it still doesn't look like a boat to me, I'll have to take your word for it. An interesting post, thanks for sharing.


  4. I really liked the stainless steel hand rails on the stairs beside the "ugly" fence. They look like large birds with their heads down marching along in search of food. (cranes or pelicans, maybe?) I also enjoyed hearing Pete Seeger singing Little Boxes again. Thanks Bill.