Monday, February 23, 2015

Happy Feet Under A Bridge At Granville Island

SHARP EYED pigeons on the lookout for accidental handouts, paddles slapping watery ripples and music ratatap-tapping all drifted around corners like steam from hot cups of coffee. It was not quite noon and some apartment dwellers had just started to slip into their warm jackets to go shopping and see the sights at Granville Island beneath the Granville Street Bridge.

Trolls reside under bridges in folklore but I found no such mischief-makers amid the wildlife, artisans, vendors and Pop Up Dancers when I visited the cultural and shopping district for a birthday lunch with my daughter.

Once an austere industrial hubbub built on a sandbar, the area transformed into an isle of delights for all the senses. Spontaneous crowds gathered like moths to a flame when musicians played and dancers swayed.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Matters Of The Heart

SHUFFLING through my archives in search of hearts for Valentine’s Day, I found this picture of the symbol carved into a fence at Elgin Heritage Park. I am not on the fence about heart shapes. I like the artistic representation that I assume is a simplistic replica of the physical version. The beating heart has long been written about as the centre of human emotion and love.

I remember my mom helping me cut out paper hearts, complete with cute sayings, destined for fellow classmates in elementary school. Some children got more hearts on their desks than others causing embarrassment to those who were less popular. It was all about the numbers then and, a bit like in the current digital age, a gathering of followers.

It became clear in later years that Valentine’s Day was largely a commercial venture compelling people to prove their love for one special person on one special day.

But "where there is life there is love" said Gandhi who showed how paper-thin passions can evolve and grow like flames on candles lighting dark corners.

Although the jaded heart might say there is little love left in the world, there is plenty of evidence it is still around and that a heart found matters. My dad who passed away when he was relatively young gave me a trinket that I attached to a bookmark I made. His meaningful gift from decades ago is an inspiration to believe in love.

This post is linked to GOOD FENCES.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stationary Train Passenger In White Rock

A TRAVELER in a motionless relaxed pose, with a suitcase by his side, is ready to board a train he can never catch.

The bronze statue is a new feature that stands outside a former train station, and now White Rock Museum, that no longer sells tickets to ride. Reportedly commissioned for $80,000, the work by Denis Kleine is called The Passenger.

The dapper mustached man that seems on the cusp of coming to life enhances the seaside scenery with his realism. He provides an exquisite glimpse into an era when trains were bold without being intimidating and had an aura of practicality as well as romance.

It is ironic that the stationary "passenger" appears at a time when the City is contemplating options it may or may not have to remove and relocate the track run by Great Northern Railway (GN) in the early years. The railway evolved from being the lifeblood of a small Canadian town to being viewed more as a hazard that at this point in history is owned and operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) in the US.

Trains that pass by now are the swift and silent Amtrak, (that carries passengers from Seattle to Vancouver in Canada), and mile-long frequent freight trains transporting such goods as lumber, hazardous chemicals and dusty coal destined for ports in faraway places.

People have accidentally been injured and killed on these tracks. And since the derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, there has been renewed unease about train routes cutting through heavily populated areas like the border town of White Rock and also nearby Crescent Beach where extraordinarily long strings of boxcars can block access to emergency vehicles for many critical minutes.

The attractive gent with a glint in his eye was unconcerned, however, as perhaps I should have been since everything was perfectly fine for the both of us at that moment and place in time.

While photographing the sculpture, I had a chance encounter with a woman who was polishing one of many train-shaped plaques embedded into the walkway designed to commemorate special occasions or to celebrate a life. I learned she was a mother who tragically lost her daughter, Heather, to cancer. Heather's plaque shone the brightest, thanks to her loving and dedicated mom.

I took my umbrella off the immovable suitcase and wished the world were a safer place. We are all passengers to unknown destinations. Disease, natural disasters, random accidents and man’s stunning inhumanity to man (recent beheadings and burning of a person alive come to mind) make me want to hide under my umbrella. But I keep moving because, unlike the statue, I am lucky that I can ... and I can jump on board whenever anything good arrives.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Oohs & Aws At Elgin Heritage Park

THE MOSSY green dress on an old tree enthralled my husband who wore his “little boy blue” outfit to Elgin Park. The tree and he seemed have a heart-to-heart moment. Woodchips covered the muddy earth floor where we stood.

Large mossy stones hugged the ground. We heard busy rustling sounds of animals scurrying in the shrubbery. The plethora of birds chattering and singing made it seem like early spring, despite the chill.

A heron blended in with the scenery. There is nothing this bird could not hear or see and it likely took note of the excited school children on a field trip.

The children brought razzle dazzle to the silvery-beige and brown shades of the terrain with their colourful warm jackets and enthusiasm. They oohed and awed when wildlife appeared, not in the least blasé about the environment.

They stopped to gaze at bulrushes ever-transforming in the marshland.

We joined their little parade for a while and noticed that many children came with binoculars. Everything needed a closer look. Barely a ripple appeared on the horizon where sailboats lounged on the glassy edge of the Nicomekl River.

Aside from the mountains, the southwest coastal area has been snowless this January. But flakes could fall in February as they sometimes have in the past.

There were ponds in the park, creating both clear and murky reflections.

Broad cloud strokes dipped in the water as if by an artist's hand.

The forest was serene from a distance but drama was beneath the surface.

Furry and feathered creatures were on the hunt for their next meal.

Some flew in from distant shores and rested like fluttering leaves on twigs. The nearby green bench (below), draped in willow branches, looked restful.

Although we came to the park for exercise and to ooh and aw like children at the wonderful sights, the bench enticed us to pause a while and quietly listen.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms