Saturday, April 28, 2012

Playful Pets At The Park In My World

OH OH, I THINK I hear someone coming.

I better grab my stick.

Would you mind hiding it under your shoe?

No? How about in your pocket then?

Maybe in the shrubbery over there?

Okay ... maybe if I stand next to you he won't notice.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Whew ... he seems to be walking right past me.

Rats! Well if he's going to chew my stick, I'm going to chew his leg!

I really appreciated the pet owners allowing me to photograph their dogs recently at Elgin Heritage Park. The interaction wasn't exactly the way I described it but the pictures seemed to tell their own tale.

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, April 23, 2012

Opportunities & The Outdoors In My World

OUR WORLD AND THE OUTINGS we take come to mind as April flows to its conclusion. I went on several outings throughout the month gathering images that caused me to pause, reflect and simply enjoy. Among the fragments, it was not unusual to see windless sailboats grounded at low tide on overcast days at Elgin Heritage Park in Surrey. The potential to sail was there but like life sometimes depended on the right conditions and opportunities.

I often walked past this inviting seat encircled by branches of a willow tree. I have yet to sit on that bench but I envision my husband and I having a picnic lunch there one day as the weather gets warmer.

I watched birds hungrily dip into feeders meant for smaller birds ...

and wondered what caused yellowish blotches to invade these birch trees.

I smiled at this sign of love for a special dad ...

and hoped the brunette Barbie doll would find the child who left it behind.

It was odd how shadows from branches cast ink-blue reflections in the water.

During a brief visit to False Creek in Vancouver, I saw one boat ready to float but in need of someone to paddle.

From a distance I could see the rotating restaurant that looks like a UFO. There are also business offices in this unique building where my husband used to work. Fond memories of those fleeting years flooded back.

Back in Surrey at Elgin Park I heard geese squabbling. One had just finished chasing a third goose away. I couldn't distinguish between them and it was impossible to tell if the best bird won this fight.

Further down the Nicomekl River it was still too cold to dip my toes in the delicate ripples carved by a passing speedboat.

In Ocean Park I spied a work crew beyond some brambles buttressing a crumbling cliff near where a home is perched by the 1001 Steps.

Greenery was springing up everywhere as I headed down the stairs. There is a train track at the bottom of steps that gives a sense of adventure. I love the sound of a train whistle and the rumbling of wheels on the tracks.

Ironically, although the railway is in Canada, the property is owned by the American BNSF (formerly Great Northern) Railway. BNSF also has ownership of the waterfront property in the nearby Canadian border town of White Rock as well as below the 1001 Steps to the Mud Bay area in Surrey. I found no clear explanation as to how this came about. It is rumored that decades ago the Crown leased and/or possibly eventually gave the land to the US company.

Consequently, a portion of the former train station in White Rock (now a museum), its promenade and parking lots are all on land that is leased from (instead of by) BNSF at considerable cost to the little seaside community. It seems Canada fumbled the ball, White Rock is paying the price and the railway seized an opportunity in the early years.

When searching for words that begin with "O" for ABC Wednesday, I thought of my journey outdoors, opportunities taken and not, ownerships and oddities as well as the Our World Tuesday team that gives people a place and an opportunity to share their experiences and travels.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nature & Its Magic Carpet Side

A STROLL THROUGH NATURE can feel like traveling through tapestries woven with fabulous fabrics and threads pulled from fringes of the environment.

Casting its spell at every corner, nature as art comes to mind when searching for a word that begins with "N". Swirling patterns snake through muted browns dabbed with green. Creatures (can anyone spot a real snake in the picture above?) blend into the scenery ...

and plantlife, like this caterpillar look-alike, model animal forms.

From floating charcoal grays to sunset bolds, every angle, shape and color takes us on a different magic carpet ride. The photo above of a September sky over Kwomais Point Park reminds me of a fingerpainting.

Whether gazing up at clouds or down at the art plastered to a road ...

nature leaves us starstruck with its range of colors and fleeting patterns.

Contrasting this carefully arranged collection of lovely shells glued on a car with the scattered shells below shows ...

brushing color onto canvas or molding sculptures out of clay rarely achieves the effortless symmetry of nature's random designs.

Whether viewed from near or far, nature's brushstrokes are messy, fluid and never contrived.

The haphazard compositions are appealing despite the clashes of textures and conflicting splashes of warm and cold palettes. Not surprisingly, the natural world beyond art is also a masterpiece of contradictions. As poet Horace expressed in ancient Roman times, "Nature is harmony in discord."

Artists throughout time have tried to replicate and also interpret nature with their own styles to convey their enchantment. American artist Milton Avery once said: "Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms."

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

This post showcases the letter "N" for nature. If you think words are fun and enjoy playing with the alphabet, visit ABC Wednesday.

Monday, April 16, 2012

More Than A Pretty Place

I VISITED SOUTHMERE VILLAGE PARK in South Surrey many times over the years to enjoy its tranquil setting of gorgeous weeping willows and pretty ponds. It was a joy to watch wildlife float and bob in the gentle water.

The bulrushes were constant but I didn't notice over time that various other foliage such as the lily pads were no longer flourishing. Little by little certain plants died due to contaminants in the water as well as salt, I was told, seeping in from the roads. Unwanted bicycles, tires and other garbage were also dumped in these ponds.

This "spring cleaning" actually started months ago and was scheduled to be completed by now. The clean out of the two detention ponds began in February and was to last only five weeks. However long it takes, the project is vital to the local environment as the ponds are a holding place for water that drains in from nearby streets and slowly drains back out from the ponds into other watery locations. I imagine the city is working to filter out salt in future.

The ponds generated by this method of flood control have been a habitat for birds for decades. These two geese seemed puzzled about the deficiencies in the environment resulting from the very slow pace of the job. Hovering over the remaining few puddles, their anxious honks sounded like children on a car ride that has gone on for too long who keep asking, "Are we there yet?"

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Mountains We Climb

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to appreciate the magnitude of a mountain at a distance. The coastal mountain ranges in BC as seen from Elgin Heritage Park are often veiled in a soft gray-blue haze and obscured by the cloudy weather.

It is only a few hours drive to reach some peaks available year-round for recreation. What looks harmless from afar has challenges when up close. Snow slides have occurred and each new turn can present a problem.

Mountain as a metaphor for the peaks and valleys that we all climb in life came to mind when searching for a word that begins with "M". Mental mountains are overcome daily in heroic fashion and valleys of tears have been shed. Sometimes we hit rock bottom and sometimes we reach the top.

Over the years I have had lofty dreams and ideals. Although I have not been much of a climber, I have soared over mountaintops in British Columbia and sailed the clouds in faraway Switzerland.

Along with the thrills, I have also made mountains out of molehills and can appreciate the sentiments expressed by writer Robert Service who famously said: "Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe." - Robert Service

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

This post showcases the letter "M". If you think words are fun and enjoy playing with the alphabet, visit ABC Wednesday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Contemplating Easter In My World

THE EASTER STORY is sometimes viewed as a time of endings so that something new can be born. As the religious holiday approached last week, the theme that struck me when visiting Elgin Heritage Park was the ease with which miracles of transformation happen in the natural world.

Somewhere in the quiet corners off the pathway new life is creeping.

The pond hums with life moving through different phases of existence. Some will cast off their outer shells, gain wings and fly ... others will jump or crawl.

Flowers sprout out seemingly from dead twigs to become berries.

Most transitions are natural but some at my house were staged for the holiday. The Christian celebration morphs into symbols of spring that usually involve chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies. Although these carrots with umbrella handles for tops were only planted in the creative minds of marketers, real gardens are starting to grow.

The supernatural Biblical interpretation of the death and resurrection of Jesus represents forgiveness and healing as well as the notion that every life comes prepackaged with whatever it needs to bloom to its brightest potential.

At the end of the day (photo Saturday at Kwomais Point Park) Easter invites all who seek change to resurrect their own innate abilities to transform.

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms