Sunday, February 24, 2013

Swinging On Life's Beams

THIS PRINT of a famous photograph caught my attention while waiting for my husband to get his hair cut recently. Although the light fixture from above and the sunlight pouring in through the glass door made it impossible to get a good look at the picture, the work made me curious.

I learned that the image was taken on September 20, 1932, and first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932. It was a publicity shot staged apparently on behalf of what was then called the Rockefeller Center. Work was scarce and the 11 men on a supposed lunch break highlighted that the construction was providing needed jobs during the Great Depression. Several photographers were there to capture the men eating and chatting. Charles C. Ebbets is sometimes credited with taking this particular picture that evolved into a popular icon. Prints of the image have sold by the millions worldwide.

Lunch On A Skyscraper reaches beyond space and time to touch us on a deep level. Generally accepted as depicting genuine workers on a girder dangling sixty-nine floors over city streets, the image speaks of bravery and more. The need for a job is being balanced against its dangers and shows us that Mark Twain was right when he said, "Necessity is the mother of taking chances."

The men seem to sit lightly on the beam like children on some gigantic swing in the sky or birds on a wire. Nonetheless, it is easy to see this is a rough way to make a living when you don't have wings. We admire their bravado knowing one slight move in the wrong direction could lead to disaster. Many of us safe on the ground have felt similar danger, whether real or imagined. We weigh the options understanding there is little of substance that can be achieved in this world without taking a risk.

It would be interesting to see what surrounded the scene before it was cropped or framed by a camera. Would it have appeared quite so dangerous? Did the photographers also take somewhat of a risk to snap that picture and how far would you or I go to get the perfect shot?

To view more sights from around the globe visit Our World.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lovestruck By Life

ON VALENTINE'S DAY, February 14th, the pretty candles that were Christmas gifts finally were lit to decorate the table that was set for our dinner. Perhaps it was the glow of the multiple flames in single hearts that illuminated memories of loved ones lost too soon and unexpectedly over the years due to illnesses.

The next day there was news of an asteroid hurling uncomfortably close to the earth reminding us that the world as we know it could randomly end. A few hours earlier on the same day a large meteor exploded over a small Russian town injuring hundreds of people.

Sometimes it seems as if all life has been sent on a perilous journey pieced together with only a wing and a prayer. Thankfully, we don't often think about the vulnerabilities, especially when fully present and in the moment.

There is wonder and a sense of oneness with the universe to savor: bare feet stepping on grassy floors, toes wiggling in the gritty sand of mysterious shores, sunsets dissolving like lemon drops into oceans, rain tap tapping on roofs as we drift among the stars on a green globe that never stops revolving. From the gentle swoosh of a bird's wing to the mean surprise of a bee's sting … each wink in time is a Valentine. (February sunset, 2012, Kwomais Park.)

Planets and people will crumble into dust. The stubborn ideals we treasure for both good and evil will fade into mist and our struggles and glories melt into insignificance. Although there is no use in dwelling on the fact that existence could be snuffed out like a flame in an instant, the possibility does beg for perspective, humility and a wholehearted leap into the here and now.

As an unknown author once said, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.”

To view more sights from around the globe visit Our World.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Topsy-Turvy Day In Surrey

THIS ADORABLE PAINTING by an unknown artist on a wall at the Surrey Memorial Hospital expressed perfectly the topsy-turvy feelings we all have known when health goes awry for a while.

The drive to the medical facility was a breeze when my husband needed to get some tests done recently. Not so, however, our walk down the narrow and twisted pathway from the parking lot to the hospital doors.

It was a road patched with detours caused by extensive new construction.

With so much upheaval around us we thought it was funny to be told to wipe our feet … even when, (like in the painting), life seemed to have us standing on our heads with our feet in the air.

Although stages of construction could have been made more patient-friendly, there is no doubt that all the redevelopment and expansion is worth the temporary inconvenience. Surrey, the second largest city in BC, desperately needed an upgrade to its shabby health care facilities.

The project will cost well over $500 million and is described in this way by the city, “A new, state-of-the art critical care tower, complete with a new emergency department, perinatal centre, inpatient beds, intensive care unit and academic space to be built at Surrey Memorial Hospital.”

To explore sights from around the globe, link to Our World at the sidebar.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, February 4, 2013

Farewell To The Canadian Lucky Penny

I FELT A LITTLE SAD this morning when the header on Google reminded me that the official retirement of the Canadian penny starts today February 4, 2013. There are billions still floating around in my world so it will take several years to get them out of circulation.

My mom used to save coins that would soon be extinct and now here I am starting to save the little pennies that land in my change purse and pocket. I used to include an actual penny in some of my Penelope Puddle greeting cards that read “Here’s Your Lucky Penny” on the inside. It was a perfect play on my character’s name. I have also always thought that the Penelope drawings are, like the song says, "pennies from heaven" because turning them into greeting cards provides me with hours of creative fun and an escape from daily stresses and an abundance of gray rainy days. As the photo (above) shows, my daughter also drew Penny dancing on the White Rock pier. The card I call “Singing In The Rain” is reminiscent of Gene Kelly dancing with an umbrella in the much-loved 1952 movie classic.

I will no doubt find something creative to do with the discarded coins. Some people are starting to collect them for charities. The abandoned penny with its very tiny bit of copper plating does weight heavily in the pockets of many and can make counting a bit awkward I suppose but I didn’t want to see it go. Now the larger Canadian nickel that is worth five cents will do the task of one penny and surely up the cost of goods and services by four cents in the end.

You can read the history of the one-cent piece here.

Although the penny has not been produced since May, 2012, and will not be distributed by the government starting today, I like to think it will make a comeback in some new form one day.

I wonder ... will Canada be as lucky as it perhaps was prior to kicking the penny out of circulation? This could be a tongue-in-cheek topic worth exploring in future as well why the coin is considered lucky.

Due to the unexpected topic in the news I find myself having to choose between two posts (see post below) in one week to link to Our World.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What Are You Looking At?

"What are you looking at?" the pigeon seemed to be asking. Actually, there was lots to see during my recent visit to the waterfront area of White Rock.

The water under the pier glistened in spots where the light caught the ripples. Barnacles clung to shadowy posts that hold up the boardwalk.

Small clams were cradled and cracked by seagulls. There was great finesse in how this bird maneuvered a shell in its beak.

Curlicues decorated the multiple archways over the upgraded pier that was originally build in 1914 and designated a heritage monument in 1982.

People were out for a stroll enjoying the relatively mild rain-free weather.

Gentle waves slapped the boats docked at the end of the pier.

The naturally creamy-gray granite boulder by Semiahmoo Bay inspired the town's name and is painted white perhaps to cover graffiti or bird markings.

It is likely the rock was swept to its location by prehistoric glacier ice. As plausible as this sounds it is not as compelling as the story that was told by Semiahmoo Chief Bernard Charles.

As legend has it the rock was tossed over the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver Island by a dejected son of a sea god looking for a place to settle with his human bride. While some in modern times throw darts at a map to let fate determine their destination, he threw a stone.

The local museum and former train station was visible from the pier. Its gift shop is currently home to my Penelope Puddle greeting cards.

On my way to the parking lot I spotted this gull looking for a snack.

I heard rustling in a nearby bush and saw a tiny bird sitting on the track.

It tweeted a song to similar species in the weathered shrubbery. I marveled at how well their feathers camouflaged and thought about all the simple yet extraordinary sights around us. It brought to mind words by Albert Einstein I discovered on another blog that said, "Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift."

To see what others are looking at, link to Our World at the sidebar.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms