Sunday, December 3, 2017

Second Generation Trudeaumania

RAIN POURED down relentlessly as people who came to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gordon Hogg at a high school stood patiently under their umbrellas. A stream of people had been forming since early morning. When the doors opened, I, as well as hundreds of others, squeezed inside the building to find security checks and a place to put our soggy umbrellas. I imagine it was a bit hard to let go of some cuter umbrellas but those were the rules.

The event in the South-Surrey-White Rock riding was billed as a meet and greet and discussion about good middle class jobs and how to create them. In reality, it was a chance to make everyone aware of an important by-election on December 11th and a rare chance to turn the traditionally conservative area liberal. This was thanks to a trusted local candidate, Hogg, who for years was Member of the Legislative Assembly for the conservative leaning BC Liberal Party. Now he was throwing his hat in the ring for Justin.

Honestly, no one cared about labels just then. Emotions were building with the size of the crowd. People from all racial backgrounds, walks of life, physical abilities and challenges, beliefs, ages, big, small, short and tall figuratively stood shoulder-to-shoulder, cameras ready and hopeful Justin would walk by. Someone brought an old poster of Justin's father, Pierre Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister from 1968 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1984. He also drew a crowd.

When the speeches were over and Justin walked passed, I felt suddenly crushed by the people around me. The air was sucked out of the room for a few seconds and my camera rendered useless.

If only I were taller. All I got was a peek. People seemed overwhelmed as Justin got closer and I wondered how a man, who once hoped someone/anyone would show up at his political events, became such a crowd magnet.

Somewhere along the way, Justin became a star.

I think it’s the disheartening times we live in that has drawn people to this attractive man who speaks of unity, elevating all cultures and working together to create a better county, indeed world, for all. People are desperate for a leader with this rare mix of charisma and kindness. But not everyone was impressed.

I smiled at a single sign of displeasure upon leaving the event. Not everyone was enamored with Justin or his Liberal Party policies. But you’ve got to love the freedom this man represented and his right to express his discontent.

At this writing, I’m curious to see what this election will bring. Will the community turn liberal after being a conservative strong hold? They used to say say a raccoon running for the conservative party would win in this riding … but now … time will tell.

Postscript Updated Dec. 14, 2017: For the first time in several decades, the Liberal Party of Canada won the South-Surrey-White Rock riding with help from a popular local candidate, Gordon Hogg, who was a mere 1,617 votes ahead of Kerry-Lynne Findlay who led the Conservative Party that until now had been entrenched in the community.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, November 6, 2017

Some Sunny Day ...

WE WAITED at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Surrey, hosting a choir from neighboring Langley, to hear the songs of World Wars I and II. These were written when the fight for good over evil seemed more clear than the conflicts that followed. I wondered if those earlier wars ever really ended. Many battles boiling up today stem from territories split and grudges formed decades ago.

The ability to solve tribal problems hasn’t improved it seems while the stoking of extremism and the building of more deadly weapons is on the rise. Current key leaders add to destabilization, making life appear on the brink sometimes. Thankfully, there's nothing like a well sung song by First Capital Chorus to bring joy and peace to a room and to relax the worry.

I wondered amid a sea of white hair in the audience and choir where the young people were and why more youngsters didn’t wear poppies, particularly since they'll inherit the messy challenges left behind. It's the mostly young who died bravely and it's they who still soldier on in dangerous places for the rest of us. They deserve respect and remembering, if history is not to repeat itself over and over again. Joining the military is optional in Canada but that might not always be the case. My thoughts lingered on misty ghosts from the past and lyrics about sunnier days as the choir concluded with an iconic wartime song capturing both the optimism and uncertainty about the future, then and now.

We'll Meet Again, written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles in 1939, was a beacon of hope:

We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smilin' through
Just like you always do
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won't be long
They'll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song
We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day

Vera Lynn, very much alive at the age of 100, brought this and many more soothing songs to light, making wartime sacrifices a little more bearable. Listen to her moving voice as it slips through time into the present HERE.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Friday, October 13, 2017

Autumn Creeping

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." George Eliot

MOTHER NATURE is sweeping away summer and like Eliot I'm loving it. Petals are scrambling, leaves are drooping, crumbling, swirling in gusts of wind, sliding down slippery wet roads into sewers never to be seen again.

The Virginia Creeper is the first vine to transform and has the brightest blush.

A plant called burning bush is stiff competition when it comes to colour.

Bedding plants such as winter pansies, marked by butterfly wings, are replacing summer blooms.

Warm browns are softening daisies past their prime.

Stunning shades of orange are beginning to cover the ground.

Pumpkins have crept onto our doorsteps and now appear everywhere.

It's an opportunity to get creative painting or carving.

Most pumpkins are orange but this ghostly white one (below) is truly a star.

Current fires in California make it all too easy to imagine life if there were no rain seeping through the veins of a parched earth after an overly hot summer. But would I love a forever-autumn and follow it around the globe like Eliot ... not likely. I'm glad southwest BC experiences all seasons to a moderate degree, although even here weather seems more extreme nowadays.

Greenery can still be found along sandy trails ... rainfall is just beginning. Earth's tilt and rotation as it circles the sun and its location to the sun are the reasons for the seasons. As a wonderstruck resident of a precisely balanced spinning top I can only hope such remarkable synchronicity never stops.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chiming In To Make Things Better

"Live for moments you can't put into words," chimed an ornament adjacent to a railway track at Crescent Beach.

The wise advice, meant to inspire, was likely put there by locals wanting to create a serene space for passersby.

The wind-chime decoration dangling from an ornate garden arbor was barely audible as tanks with chemicals and loaded coal cars groaned and hissed, snaking along the track.

The long chain of containers blocked vehicles and walkers from going in and out of the seaside community, a real concern should there be an emergency.

It might take years for activists to convince people in power to reroute the track but meanwhile a thoughtful neighbor with an artistic touch provided seating.

Hand painted panels brought a splash of colour to the chairs. In a world filled with tragic events someone, more often than not, is trying to prevent disaster, beautify, bring comfort and make things better practically or creatively.

Able to cross the track after some twenty minutes, I spotted a strange creature holding a guitar. What could be cozier than a giant moss-covered teddy bear? This unique interpretation of wildlife wasn't alone.

A beaver drummer and bird songstress (below) completed a patriotic Canadian band. Since there was no explanation as to why the soundless musicians were there, I assumed their motionless parade was designed to delight onlookers with wordless moments and, like the train, was just passing through.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Yes You Can Lead A Horse To Water

ANIMAL LOVERS know that best friends aren't always human. I spent countless hours imagining my own horse as a girl. This graceful creature with soulful eyes and long swishing tail was my perfect companion and confidant, galloping us off into great adventures. Since my opportunities to ride (let alone own) a horse were limited, I could only pretend, unlike the youngsters I recently spotted at Crescent Beach. Content at their slow pace, horses and riders were mirrored in pools of water and made inky shadows on the beach floor for SHADOW SHOT SUNDAY, WEEKEND REFLECTIONS and CAMERA CRITTERS.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ball Of Fire

"If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm," Frank Lane

NORMALLY you wouldn't view the sun directly but last Tuesday morning the atmosphere bordered on apocalyptic so I had to look. The orb's glow was blunted by a smoky haze that settled eerily, yet again, over Greater Vancouver, resulting from persistent forest fires in the interior of BC and nearby Washington. Air quality was poor and pungent, although not as grungy as the camera made it seem in my first two photos. Before going indoors I captured the bubbling, boiling, true blood-plasma colours of the sun for SKYWATCH.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Along The Chickadee Loop Trail

NO CHICKADEES posed for my camera but I heard them chirping amid the late-summer greenery when I recently walked full-circle along a Sunnyside Acres trail in South Surrey.

Chickadee Loop is one of several paths in the urban forest, a haven from city traffic buzzing at the park's perimeters. Strange shapes sculpted by nature, mushrooms, berries, moss-covered branches and stumps are decor and much more for the insects and wildlife roaming in and beneath the canopy of trees. According to ever-circling seasons, the leaves should soon be turning red. I'm acutely aware, however, that any sense of predictability or security is largely an illusion, particularly after catastrophic events like the floods in Texas. The oceans are rising and climate patterns are changing, becoming more extreme. The vulnerabilities are real but my thoughts fly away from disaster when I hear the birds sing. You'll have to imagine them flitting in and out of the leaves, eluding my camera while a more earthbound creature, the banana slug, let me capture it and has crawled into OUR WORLD.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms