Sunday, August 25, 2013

Round & Round We Go Cycling Through Life

THE CYCLE of life sometimes includes letting go of long held attachments.

I called this drawing by my daughter Penelope Puddle Grows Up because the character looks older. And although her playful spirit remains, she has set aside her much-loved umbrella and is learning why balance is bliss on a bike.

Things we cling to naturally drop off as the years go by but sometimes they grow. The drawing brought to mind society's dependency on gasoline powered vehicles and the need to stabilize an attachment that has grown out of proportion. Highways and country roads overflow with cars and trucks spouting harmful emissions. To minimize the effects and to promote health, my neighbouring city of Vancouver is peddling the idea of being one of the most bicycle-friendly places on the planet. My blogging friend, Carol, is ahead of the curve and has been city cycling for years. You can view her fantastic photographic journey in and around Vancouver at bikesbirdsnbeasts.

When I dust off my bike (it is not quite as unused as the one pictured below) and go for a spin, I feel like a free spirit venturing into places automobiles dare not go. I am more in touch with the terrain and my environment.

I still get in the car and drive to Crescent Beach for my walks unlike the cyclists taking on the steep hills surrounding the town. Big city or small, up hill or down, it is clear bicycles have taken off as a mode of transportation. They are parked on lawns and in racks wherever I go and I see people of all ages relying on their personal energy to move the rubber down the road.

Competing with cars for our affections and space on the road, bicycling has been quietly growing since the early 1800s. In the latter part of that century, science fiction writer H.G. Wells became a passionate cyclist.

Romanticizing his experience he wrote, “After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.”

Wells is also sometimes credited for saying, "Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race."

Song writer and musician, John Lennon, actually slept with his new bicycle. He said, "As a kid I had a dream - I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed."

It seems bicycles and cars developed at close to the same time frame. In fact, the first automobiles looked like tricycles and side-by-side bicycles. But as unlikely as it sounds perhaps bicycles will one day win the race to become a top form of travel. Bill Nye (known as the Science Guy) made an interesting point when he said, "Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.”

It will not be easy to give up the keys to a craze that started so innocently. Read about the vintage cars that charmed us HERE.

To see more sights from around the globe visit Our World at the sidebar.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Original Artist At Work In Crescent Beach

LOCAL ARTIST Carol Whitlock was working on a scenic painting that I stopped to admire during my recent visit to Crescent Beach.

When she presented me with her business card I saw a familiar image on it of a man paddling over Mud Bay with his dog.

Neither of us knows the man personally but both of us have seen him out on the water. Carol took note of the unusual sight and did a painting that she hopes he will one day see.

Carol suggests he contact her about the work if he learns of it from this post.

Here is a picture I took of him last year. So used to seeing the man on a paddleboard, I would likely not recognize him if he walked down the road.

A week earlier I noticed the White Rock And Surrey Naturalists had set up a stand (complete with stuffed animals) on the waterfront. Their goal is to "enjoy nature and seek to protect it through education and conservation".

They were looking high ...

and low for people who want to explore the wooded, marshland and beach areas of the region and make things better for plants, birds and all wildlife. Several outings are scheduled in the weeks ahead and there is much to learn about the group and how it functions HERE.

Sometimes nature seems like a self-perpetuating artistic expression unleashed by an unknowable creator who included a built-in audience.

Like a painting nature invites us to pore through the patterns, textures ...

colors and brush strokes that flow from the original artist of all that we see.

To see more sights from around the globe visit Our World at the sidebar.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dancing Hooves At RCMP Musical Ride Show

LEGS MOVED NIMBLY and gracefully to the beat at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride event I attended at Semiahmoo Park last weekend.

Everyone seemed to have a camera in hand on what was a challenging day for picture takers like me who were at ground level.

There was barely a cloud in the sky that evening and the sun blazed like a high wattage bulb with no lampshade to take the glare off.

Several hundreds of onlookers encircled the performers, creating a busy background for photographs.

The horses made a strikingly beautiful contrast to their scarlet counterparts but their ebony shade melded into one indistinguishable black blot at times.

I wondered how their flexible hooves so tightly knit together avoided getting tangled. I imagined the dust and heat (it had been record-breaking hot and rainless in BC) was tough on the 32 riders and horses.

The troop sometimes performed cavalry drills in groups of four reminding me a little of square dancing. Their choreographed maneuvers created fantastic patterns, including the "Dome" once pictured in a Canadian fifty-dollar bill and best seen from a higher perspective.

I learned that a musical rider stays with the troop for only three years. The horses, on the other hand, are bred to dance and I suspect some could perform their routines in their sleep.

This 11-year-old beauty performed flawlessly despite being blind in one eye.

Straight-backed riders were affixed to their horses like gloves to a hand.

Horses seemed to prance and trot with pride exhibiting their slim silhouettes.

I noticed more women in the troop than ever before.

To have this historic display of riding capabilities, that began officially in 1887, near my neighborhood was, indeed, a thrill.

But the horses were not the only ones strutting their stuff. The amazing Crescent Beach Pipe Band also showed some leg.

The Wild Moccasin Dancers were another one of the opening acts.

Shyama-Priya danced like a butterfly as we watched enthralled.

Even when a freight train chugged down the nearby track ...

she twirled and leapt into the air in her multi-colored costume.

At the end of the event the four-legged performers dispersed and galloped to the appreciative audience waiting to pet them.

The gentle nature and patience of the horses was evident. Their riders representing all 10 provinces cheerfully answered every question.

Take a bow black beauties and red-suited riders! You certainly put on a spectacular show that is uniquely Canadian.

The troop not only entertained but also raised funds for policing in the community.

It is good to know that even though (as the saying goes) you can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink ... you can make him dance.

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

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms