Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Do Turtles Have Toes?

I SPOTTED A LITTLE GIRL with brightly colored toenails (click photo for detail) during a visit to Granville Island in Vancouver last August. She was enchanted by the rather large character making its way slowly and steadily away from the nearby pond along a littered walkway towards the vines.

I noticed that the shade of the child’s nail polish somewhat resembled the pinkish-red strip on the turtle's head. It also looked as if an artist's hand had etched orange symmetrical patterns on its armor.

I learned that this is likely a Red-eared Slider with five toes and long curved claws on each webbed foot. Unfortunately, I was not able to count the toes or to see if its nails were polished ... even at its unhurried pace. But it was clear to me that this roaming reptile needed no paint to add to its natural beauty.

This turtles and toes tale showcases the letter "T". Visit ABC Wednesday to see how others showcase letters from A to Z.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Morning After In My World

MY DEPENDENCE ON ALL THINGS electrical became terribly clear when the lights went out in the wee hours of the morning last Tuesday. There were no hot cups of coffee to stir the day and combing my hair in the mirror amid candlelight shadows was spooky. It was a howling pitch-black night with all manner of debris being knocked about in the windstorm. I woke from a fitful sleep to find the lawn chair had flow across the yard and my umbrella had left its stand to tumble down the mossy stairway.

The wind whipped most of the last leaves from the trees so I was amazed to see this bright Jack-o'-lantern hanging firmly onto its stem.

As is often the case during southwest storms in BC, large branches (and in rare cases entire trees) from an abundance of evergreens fell on electrical wires and caused outages for thousands of people throughout the Lower Mainland. It took several hours for power to be restored in my area.

There was an eerie calm after the storm. Some broken branches I saw on my walk later would make great crafting material for Christmas wreathes. I saw several people stop their cars to collect the sprigs for seasonal decorations.

It was the first windstorm for this newly installed seat at Kwomais Point Park where I inevitably wandered. Its memorial plaque read Sydney Eileen Peters, 1945 - 2001, She was a Teacher To All of Us. I was curious about this gift given so long after her death and hoped to learn more about Eileen some day. This is the second of two benches that replaced the old wooden one.

Heading through the forest path, I could see a park building. The glow through its window winked at me like an eye in the distance.

The cheery light got me thinking about the appliances and other devices shackled to my everyday existence. I recalled the odd sense of freedom I felt earlier that morning when waiting in the dark for daylight to appear. For a few flickering moments, I imagined how liberating (and also difficult) life might be if released from the powerful grip and allure of all things electrical.

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flights Of Fancy In My World

IT SEEMED LIKE A TOY more than a plane when I discovered this lovely contraption on the floor of a South Surrey mall recently. It was transported there from the Canadian Museum of Flight located several miles away in Langley, BC, and was under the watchful eye of volunteer veterans.

Possessing charm reminiscent of a vintage car, the Sopwith Camel seems too vulnerable to have soared in turbulent times. Yet the original plane (similar to this pictured replica) was flown regularly by fighter pilot and squadron leader Raymond Collishaw during World War I. All the brave pilots that took to the skies with weaponry must have felt like easy targets, despite their skilled maneuverings described as waltzing or dogfighting in the air.

Although battle was a significant motive for developing bigger and better airplanes, the wonder of flight propelled the imagination and eventually enabled everyday adventurers to take wing purely for pleasure.

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shadows Haunt Ben Stevenson View Park

I RECENTLY VISITED A FAMILIAR narrow strip of land wedged between multimillion dollar homes off Ocean Park Road in South Surrey, BC. Each time I go to Ben Stevenson Park I am grateful that a forward thinking pioneer donated this small portion of his subdivided acreage on a bluff to the city so that all who entered its gates could enjoy the gorgeous water views.

The sun was out in the early afternoon and lovely black shadows roamed the area like ghosts. My shadow came with me on the stroll and got swallowed up at times by the damp litter of autumn leaves that stuck to my feet.

Shadows of tall trees fell on the narrow pathway that led to a chain link fence.

I reached two memorial benches gifted to the park by families of loved ones who had passed away. My shadow quietly took a seat alongside of me while I scanned the horizon.

I watched as clouds billowed over Boundary Bay and thought about Ben Stevenson's daughters who continued to live in nearby homes as newer and bigger houses began to line the waterfront properties around them. The sisters apparently have visited this little slice of heaven named after their dad for decades and perhaps sat on a bench with their own shadows close by.

Postscript: On June 28, 2013, Georgina Strachan (the last surviving daughter of pioneer Ben Stevenson) passed away at the age of 91. I will think of her fondly amid the shadows that dance at the park.

Here are more Shadowy Shots to see from around the world.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time To Gather Up Leaves

"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”
- Carl Sagan

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Raggedy Rainbow

This post showcases the letter "R". Visit ABC Wednesday to see how others showcase letters from A to Z.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hints Of Heavenly Disaster In Our World

EVEN MARTIANS LIKE UMBRELLAS by the look of this front yard decor at a Kitsilano home in Vancouver, BC. The canopy could keep the cute alien dry in a rainstorm but it would have been useless had there been showers of debris from the asteroid that sped by the moon and Earth last Tuesday.

There is nowhere to flee from heavenly debris and I might have cowered in a corner hearing news of this celestial body brushing by Earth. But all I could do was regret not having a camera powerful enough to take its picture and marvel that our dreamy existence could one day be snuffed out by the indifference of a massive rock from outer space. Apparently, the asteroid 2005 YU55 will fly by Earth again in 2075 but is not a threat.

I was reminded of scientist Carl Sagan who had a knack for putting our spot on the cosmic map into perspective. The deep thinker and author (who since passed away) read from his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space on youtube where he said:

“Look again at that dot (Earth). That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” ― Carl Sagan

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Drives Fame In Our World?

THE ATTENTION GRABBING Legends of the Millennium by artist Paul Ygartua transports us into pivotal moments in history with larger-than-life famous faces painted on a wall at the Beachcomber Hot Tubs factory by a parking lot near a busy street in Surrey, BC.

Most of the people depicted are known worldwide. They have planted themselves into our consciousness with their unforgettable stories as though they were family or good friends. Many had an impact on society or became icons of cultural shifts.

Since the vehicles obstructing the mural could not be hung out of the way like the ones I saw at a mall recently, I suggest visiting Lynette at Imagination Lane to enjoy her photographs of the art minus the cars. Meanwhile, the wheels blocking my view made me wonder ... what drives fame.

I noticed a Canadian hero from BC on a corner of the wall. Terry Fox lost his leg and eventually his life to cancer in 1981 at the age of 22. His Marathon Of Hope raises funds for research to this day. Terry's unfinished journey across country with an artificial leg, his bravery, charisma and willingness to share frustrations captured our imagination. He wished for health, not fame, but gained respect and recognition due to his reaction to a tragic situation.

Some people blow us away with their seemingly god-given gifts, incredible talents or extreme acts of selflessness and ability to inspire.

Others travel beyond ordinary dreams and touch the stars or create life-changing gateways for mankind. Explorers, innovators and inventors of memorable commentary or captivating art earn our appreciation through dedication and hard work. Some (like Walt Disney in the cowboy hat) seem to play all day and get known for making characters like Donald Duck famous.

Donald seems completely unruffled by the fact that millions of children on the planet know his name. Undoubtedly some individuals get more than fifteen minutes of fame simply because they are cute or squawk a lot.

From athletes and artists to humanitarians and politicians, some achieve long lasting celebrity because they touched the human heart or showed vulnerabilities amid the sway of their powerful personalities.

We are moved and encouraged by people who refuse to be ignored or put down and fight relentlessly through obstacles to meet challenges. While some gain fame through fate others desperately seek and (on rare occasions) find it.

We can't help but marvel at those who rise from a sea of anonymity as we go about our daily humdrum lives. The fellow with a cap (pictured above) is also portrayed on the building. He appears to be carving a totem. I was told his name is Simon Charles, a respected artist that passed away in 2005 and was a friend to Keith Scott, the founder of Beachcomber Hot Tubs who commissioned the mural in 2000. I am reminded that few faces gain fame without less recognizable folk bringing the people they admire to the top.

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Penny, Puddles & A Poem

NO NEED TO WAIT for the sun to come out to enjoy a walk in late fall or the coming winter in BC. Wet coastal weather is often a curious mix of sudden sunbeams pouring through clouds, gentle drizzles and heavy windswept showers ... sometimes all within minutes.

No wonder my daughter was compelled to create drawings of a little girl with an umbrella. Her illustrations of Penelope Puddle (affectionately called Penny) and our environment come to mind especially in November.

Many West Coasters grab their umbrellas and venture outdoors undaunted by the soggy season while others huddle indoors. Here is a poem I wrote to inspire those in need of a little incentive to slosh out into the rain:


Raindrops dance at my feet as I squish
Down grassy green lanes, slick silvery streets,
Muddy gray beaches and snow-slushy peaks.

Come out and play, the rain seems to say …

Stinging rain beats my umbrella like a drum.
It rolls down my cozy canopy and hits the ground
Dousing dusty alleyways with its soggy sound.

Come out and play, the rain calls to all …

Tinkling rain chimes down clouded pathways.
Its random rhythm skips along overcast roofs
Tapping on windowpanes as it rapidly moves.

Come out and play, the rain seems to say …

Puddles seep where deserted dreams creep.
Reflections in pools mirror bright inner skies
Of rain-washed adventurers pouring outside.

Come out and play, the rain calls to all …

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Penelope, puddle-strewn paths and my "Rain Call" poem showcase the letter "P" for ABC Wednesday.