Monday, March 28, 2011

A Taste of Easters Past

EASTER CELEBRATIONS will take place throughout the world this coming April. Surrey, BC, is no exception. Many families attend church during this religious time. Because the area attracts people from across the globe, it is a multicultural community with many denominations from which to choose.

When I spotted this charming church a few weeks ago in the Whalley district of Surrey, I knew I would come back. The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of St. Mary is a unique cultural landmark in the community, historically as well as architecturally.

But I was not seeking a feast for the soul during my return trip. Rather I was looking for traditional Ukrainian food available at the adjacent hall.

The bulletin board seen upon entering showed the spirit of Ukrainian dance is alive and thriving, in part thanks to groups such as the Kvitka Dancers.

A table of leaflets showed that pysanka (Ukrainian Easter egg) workshops were available throughout March in anticipation of the season.

Traditional embroidery decoratively fanned the walls of a large hall.

The dining area was being prepared for a special event. I was told there would be a wedding there the next day.

The handmade sauerkraut perogies and meatless cabbage rolls my husband and I purchased from their kitchen freezer for dinner later were delicious, winning Penelope's seal of approval.

Discovering the church brought back fragmented memories of Easter. My mom, who passed away many years ago, came to Canada as a young bride from the Ukraine before I was born. Her attempt to keep up traditions largely failed. My celebrations evolved into serving store-bought perogies and chocolate eggs for Easter dinner. Symbolizing rebirth and spring, the traditional hand painted egg morphed into watered down designs, requiring far less skill than the originals.

The melting of cultures and merging of customs left me, as it does so many in multicultural societies, much like an offshoot plant attached to its roots but growing independently. That is probably why this small taste of Easters past was so sweet.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Driving Down Moon Road

IN SEARCH OF THE FULL MOON on Saturday, March 19th, my husband and I took an evening drive along Marine Drive in White Rock, BC. There was much talk about the “Super Moon” being its closest to the earth since 1993. According to experts, the full moon is normally about 238,000 miles from the planet. But on this day it would be some 221,567 miles from earth.

We soon spotted the glowing orb among the blue glitter of year-round Christmas lights strung on the trees lining the street. It looked like an ornamental ball hanging between the branches.

As the road wound its way towards a small row of seaside shops, the moon played hide-and-seek appearing to change locations.

It shone in the dark a little more brightly than usual. But I expected a bigger moon, as I have seen it more vibrant and appear larger in past months. Because of its Super Moon status mixed with other planetary influences, it left some minds spinning about what widespread turbulence it might cause.

Perhaps it is too early to tell what impact this March moon will have on the planet. Powerful enough to pull tides and tug at emotions, the pale receding dot seemed dwarfed in the night sky as we continued our drive.

There are more skies to view from around the globe at Skywatch.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where In The World Is Whalley?

THE DILAPIDATED BUILDING might be in any impoverished country of the world. Yet it sits by an alley in Whalley, a district of Surrey, southeast of Vancouver, BC, in Canada, a relatively wealthy part of the globe.

Some might want to know how Whalley got in such a shabby state. I learned it started innocently enough in 1925 when a man named Arthur Whalley bought three acres of land in North Surrey. The land was cleared and cabins as well as a service station with a general store were built. By 1948 the area (known as Whalley’s Corner to the locals) became officially named.

This street at the front of the alley developed as a commerical row of low-rise shops selling various goods that over time appealed to more transient clientele. New neighborhoods became the focus and this area was neglected by modern mainstream business. Although I don’t know when reconstruction was done on the church (pictured above in the foreground), it is perhaps one sign that makeovers are underway.

The gated Emmanuel Romanian Penticostal Church looks fresh and glistening in the rain.

The tidy church could be a window into the transitioning nature of Whalley. Surrey recently incorporated the slogan The Future Lives Here to reflect its goal to bring business and a flow of visitors into revitalized places.

Just a few blocks from the church condominiums are being built.

The nearby completed housing looks attractive ...

and is enhanced by surrounding green space.

Pleasant nooks and crannies ...

are slowly washing away the area's checkered past.

A swirl of puddles and pools amid rocky formations ...

are having a positive ripple effect ...

on nearby business offices, shops and a transit system.

The Coast Mountain Bus Company includes a skytrain service that links Surrey to Vancouver.

Some find it covenient living in highrise apartments near the skytrain track.

I caught the speeding train with a photograph just as a raindrop hit the lens of my camera, causing a smudge to appear.

As this section of North Surrey moves forward, there is talk that its new image needs a new name. Many locals have a negative view of Whalley. Perhaps it would be more appealing if the first name were included. From what I understand, Arthur Whalley represented the entrepreneurial spirit in his community decades ago before it fell into disrepair. His is the proud name of someone who had the same goals, on a smaller scale, that Surrey now has as it strives to transform this unique historical area into its city center.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spotting Spring

THE TINY SUNSPOT ON THE PAVEMENT shows the sun did, indeed, break through yesterday for a few hours in a sudden burst of spring. After much wind and rain, people were drawn like magnets to the Semiahmoo Bay area at Kwomais Point Park in Ocean Park, BC.

The horizon is never dull no matter what the weather or season. From minute to minute the sky movements and seashore hues change to reflect the crushing power, mystic riddle and gemstone sparkle of the green globe.

When I got home, even the tiny daffodils had freshly emerged from their deep sleep in the dirt at my front yard. Their bowed little heads and soft stems looked as if they needed a long yawn and a stretch after months of being curled up and completely hidden within the winter cycle of their existence.

You can visit more sky sightings from around the globe at Skywatch.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Covering Up On A Rainy Day

A LONE MAN WALKS WITH HIS umbrella beneath the Skytrain track (pictured above) in North Surrey. The persistent rain, wind and unsettling weather conditions make us want to cover up in southwest BC. But no amount of umbrellas can cover up bad news days such as those coming from Japan in the aftermath of the March 11th quake. The mood is gray as natural disasters coupled with manmade errors are making harmful radiation particles seep onto our planet. Sometimes all we can do is shut off troubling thoughts and sad image overload to grasp some joyful moments in the showers as we walk.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Unpredictable Puddles In Our World

THE ENTIRE WORLD MUST BE SHAKEN by the unfathomable destruction caused by the 8.9 magnitude quake in the coastal area of Japan and the subsequent tsunamis that swept away everything in its path. Houses and cars looked like toys in the grip of the monster wave that spread across the Pacific Ocean. My sympathy went to the victims as I watched the televised images in horror from faraway coastal BC. Occurring only weeks after the earthquake in Christchurch, NZ, it is yet another tragic reminder that life can change in an instant. The fragile nature of our existence is all too clear during such times.

Parts of coastal BC that are not in my area were included in the tsunamis aftermath warnings. Such events remind me some seismic experts say a major destructive quake will likely happen in our lifetimes in BC. It seems trivial now that just last week my thoughts were only on spring during my visit to Crescent Beach in South Surrey. According to my gopher-esque shadow (pictured above) and the engraving in a rock about low tides, the warmer season is near.

I was far from imagining an earthquake or a wall of water rolling indifferently over homes, people and animals. In my world, the sun cast a harmless blanket of silver sheen over unruffled waters. The sunshine and calm were an exception to the chilly rain and gusty winds we experienced most of the week.

Some grasses were not as frail as they looked. Their flexible stems helped them survive the winter.

I was glad that the weather-beaten beach would soon be regenerated.

There was barely a breeze to move the slender grasses.

Their deceptively delicate natures were both elastic and sturdy as steel.

Puffs of clouds hung like faint cotton balls on the blue rim of Semiahmoo Bay.

The sky, receding water and rocky shore were peaceful but unpredictable. From a distance I saw large puddles had formed within the gooey sand.

I envisioned my daughter's Penelope Puddle creation, with her little umbrella, fitting into some idyllic Crescent Beach scene. That old saying, every path has its puddle, has special meaning in my world where the fictional character frequently comes alive in my mind as I wander.

I was blissfully unaware of the Japan earthquake to come. I could not foresee what would happen on March 11th. But as stories from suffering and shocked victims emerge, the dignified strength and quiet resilience of survivors is clear. Much like slender grasses trampled on a beach, it seems safe to predict the people will reenergize and reconstruct to tread brighter paths in the future.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blown Away By Double Rainbows

HOW DOES ONE CAPTURE THE WIND in a photograph? Scattering leaves when the breeze whips through trees or an inverted umbrella rolling down the street provide visuals of its unseen power. Recently, my windsock captured the wind that briskly blew over Surrey. In fact, I discovered two windsocks thanks to the reflection of the original on my patio glass door. My double rainbow reminded me of the well-known video that went viral.

I wasn't quite as excited as the man in the video. But it was fun to watch my windsock being flung about in the breeze.

I stepped outside to record its many movements.

The simple windsock conveyed a mood for every motion as it swam the sky.

Sometimes it looked as if it had legs and would run away.

When it couldn't find freedom or get unstrung it got frazzled.

Mostly, however, it performed a buoyant dance with its mirror image.

My worn out windsock eventually escaped from its partner in the glass. Peering down from the roof above, it seemed to say, aha free to rest at last!

See more weekend reflections from around the world here.