Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007


Imagine. You drive into Horseshoe Bay, join the queue, and then turn off your engine. You are off on a great adventure. You get out of your vehicle and take a little stroll while you wait. You pass a mother with her child. You hear the child exclaim, “But Mom, you said we were going to see a fairy. All I see is a big boat.” You chuckle to yourself as you continue on. Time passes quickly and the next thing you know, you’re boarding that big boat. You cover your ears as the horn blasts loudly. The boat leaves the terminal. It meanders its way along the coast, through the islands and across the straight. You pass numerous abodes: large houses, estates, mansions, little cottages, cabins and make-shift shelters. They dot the hills and cliffs. You wonder about the people who live there, where they work, what they do, who they are, these people who are so tied to the water, so exposed to the elements. Water, water, water, water, water. Wind. The ferry approaches the other side. We are now nearing the Nanaimo terminal. You patiently wait to be signaled off. You disembark. You drive through the town and head north on the Island Highway. You continue along following the pack of cars that came before you. Slowly they disperse along the way. Just north of Parksville, you take the Highway 4 exit towards Port Alberni. You drive along the narrow, winding, twisty highway across the island.
You take in the views of snow capped mountains and rushing streams as you traverse the passes. You travel through dense forests where the trees loom high overhead obstructing the few rays of autumn sunshine fighting to get through. You pull over into a small parking lot alongside the highway. This is Cathedral grove.

You get out of your vehicle and stare in awe at these ancient towering giants some of which are 800 plus years old. The huge branches stretch out above draped majestically with moss. The largest tree in this particular grove has a circumference of 9 metres and stands a proud 76 metres high. It was once much taller, but its top snapped off in a horrific windstorm in 1997. It is still, however, a sight to behold. The air seems denser, thicker, moister. Your breathing is as slow and calm as the zephyr which gently moves through the trees. You listen to the forest speak. You take in its noises, you breathe its peace. You are transported to a place where time doesn’t exist. It doesn’t matter. After thoughtful meditation, you decide to continue on to your final destination. You pull out of the parking lot and onto the winding highway a much calmer you. You continue along towards BC’s rugged west coast. Before you even get there, you can almost smell the salt in the air. You finally have it…your first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.

You pull into the famed Long Beach with its miles of pristine sand. You rush from your vehicle and head straight for the crashing waves. You follow the thundering roar of the surf and disappear into the sheets of ocean mist. You spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring the coves and beach, checking out the tidal pools, watching a few brave surfers ride the giant curling waves, following the shore birds, mesmerized by it all. You end it all with a glorious west coast sunset.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lest We Forget

On this eve of this Remembrance day, I encourage all Canadians to watch this tribute to Canadian soldiers in honour of the men and women who have sacrificed their "today" that we might have a "tomorrow." Although by nature I am more or less a pacifist, I acknowledge that many of the freedoms that we are blessed with today are a result of the sacrifice that others have made on our behalf. I don't take our freedoms in this country lightly. There are many places in the world where individuals are persecuted for speaking their mind, acknowledging their beliefs and speaking out about injustices. There are many of us, who have lost relatives somewhere down the line in our ancestry because of their differences or unwillingness to blindly follow those with power. Although I do not believe that all wars fought are justified, I have a great respect for the soldiers who have chosen to actively stand up for our beliefs and values and to fight for our freedoms. At the same time, I feel that we all have a responsibility. Even without an active war in this country, it is still possible for our freedoms to slowly be usurped. I hope that we will all have the courage to stand up and support our neighbours when we know that something is wrong and I hope that when the time comes, there will be someone there to stand up for us.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Bottle of Wine

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car. Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally. "What in bag?" asked the old woman. Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband." The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said: "Good trade."

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Scream

We did not choose death, but neither did we fully embrace life. We lingered in the shadows of mediocrity, afraid to show our faces for who we truly were. It was in this state of putridity that we began our slow decay.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Fowl Life

He sits like a duck...waddles like a penguin...and squawks like a bird.

I found this friendly little fellow wandering around Long Beach. I'll be posting some pictures of the area shortly, but in the meantime thought I'd share his photo. He waddled right up to me in the most leisurely manner. He was not shy at all. In fact, he came so close that I had to change the lens on my camera to get a proper shot of him.

Obviously not camera shy at all, he would pose, then shift back and forth on his little webbed feet, eying me coyly to make sure I was catching all of his antics on film. This went on for quite a while. When I would take a step back, he'd follow as fast as his unstable little legs could carry him. Perhaps he thought I had some treat that I would bestow upon him for posing so nicely.

Finally he stretched up his fluffy feathered wings, let out a little squawk and plopped back down onto his belly exhausted from all the fuss.

Does anyone know what type of bird he is?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Let There Be Light

I'm going to warn you straight off...this probably won't be the most exciting post for many of you. But last week I had the pleasure of visiting with Cheryl over at Free Range Living. For those of you who don't know, she's in the midst of building a house. So we got to talking about all those fabulous finds that one incorporates into their living space that gives the space its charm and makes it yours. Now I love antiques and for the past couple of years have been collecting, of all things, light fixtures. I know, it sounds positively boring, and if you were to send me into a regular lighting store I would be bored silly for sure. But just look at these gems! Character and charm and most of them probably cost way less than what you'd pay for some gaudy bauble in your regular lighting store. Where do I find them...well, let's see.

This one is one of my absolute favorites. I wasn't sure when I first got it, but I must say that I think it looks fabulous. There's a little store in Spokane called Revival Lighting that carries about the best selection of antique fixtures I've ever seen. They also carry some reproductions but this one is an oldie. They clean up and rewire anything that comes into their possession, so all you need to do is have it installed. Although they have a website, most of their antique selection is not online, so you would have to actually visit the store if you would like to see what they carry.

I hung this charmer in my entryway. I can't remember if it was found in Fort Langley or Cloverdale. In either case, there are lots of little antique shops in those areas for perusing. None of them specialize specifically in light fixtures, however, if you mull around enough, you just might happen upon one or two. I was told this one came from Belgium, I don't know how I would verify it, but I like it just the same.

This is another one of my all time favorites. I purchased this one off of a friend who deals antiques (one of the many things she does). This one she got a real steal on from of all places, EBay. I had to get the thing rewired, but that really wasn't very complicated and I think it was well worth the effort. The funny thing is that my parents have a very similar light fixture in their house. They live in an old heritage house that was built in 1895, although I think the light fixture is probably from about the 1920's

This little art deco number from the 30's comes as a pair. I have them installed on both sides of a little desk nook.

And this final find, also a pair, was another EBay special. They were just what I was wanting for my bedroom. Well, there you have it...a whole post on my collection of light fixtures. Happy hunting.