Sunday, June 21, 2009

Businesses, birds beasts and blooms

Walking with Black Jack a few evenings ago, we encountered this cat.  It was lying on the sidewalk at a street corner.  It watched Black Jack calmly.  Black Jack tried to be cool, but wasn't successful for long.
Two or three minutes later, we saw this cat.  Again, it was about as calm as a cat could be.  Poor Black Jack.  The ones that stare calmly just about put her over the edge.  
Some time ago, I stopped at the Garden Party Flower Shop at the corner of West 4th and Alma. I was looking for a hanging basket.  I'm not sure that hanging baskets are the main focus of Amy's business, but I could tell that she really wanted to make me happy.  She asked me about the colors I like, and we exchanged several e-mails after that. I still don't have my hanging basket, because Amy is searching for the perfect one.  However, she e-mailed and asked me to stop by.  She had a gift for me.  She said she wanted me to have something beautiful to look at while I was waiting for the basket, and knew I loved the color blue.  Seeing that lovely orchid gives me a jolt of pure happiness.  I have come to appreciate, lately, the people who run small businesses who genuinely love to see their customers happy. 
On Saturday, I had my hair cut by Majid at Spring Hair Design on 10 Avenue.  I had to cancel my last appointment, as it was scheduled for the day after my cycling accident.  I didn't reschedule, as I dreaded the thought of letting anyone touch my head.  But, I will be attending my niece's wedding in Ottawa this coming weekend, and there was no more stall time.  Majid is a gem.  He is kind, gentle, and, like Amy, truly wants his customers to be happy when they leave.  I was.  Actually, I felt like a new person. 
Bill walked Black Jack while I was at the salon, and then sat with her in his lap, until I was finished.  He is so supportive, sometimes I can hardly believe my good fortune.  This next part is positively amazing! We went directly from the hairdresser's to a clothing store called Changes, and Bill sat for ages, while the staff there found two outfits for me.  Other women shopping in the store were ready to kidnap him and take him home to give their husbands some tips.    
A (handsome) man and his truck.
These flowers were near The Wicked Cafe.  With the sun on them, they shimmered like magic.  
The next 8 pictures were taken at Jericho on evening lately when i walked with Black Jack.  I wonder if this heron was EvenSong's Ned.
This bird seemed so small in that tall grass.
The ducklings are growing and becoming more independent.
Black Jack loves to gain altitude any way she can for her observations.
So many shades of green...
... and one beautiful, orange tree.
The sign on the post made me smile.

I thought of the fun the gardener may have had arranging these plants in a circle. 
These were on a street walking home from Jericho.  The combination of blue and purple works for me.
These are the clothes I bought at Changes.  I like the people in this store so much, I sometimes feel, as Bill said, that I will never need to shop anywhere else again.  I know it's a little strange to lay out the clothes on my bed and take a picture of them, but that's how happy I felt.  This from someone who hates shopping. Black Jack loves to go to Changes as well (sometimes, they give treats), but I guess the attraction doesn't have much to do with the clothes. 

And, another angle to show off the blue/purple flowers, and conclude this post.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Part 3 - Mostly blooms

Yesterday, I stopped at The Wicked Cafe for a latte after getting my stitches out.  If time allows, I like to go to The Wicked after dentist or doctor appointments.  I like to go there any time, but planning for that treat almost has me looking forward to things I would otherwise dread.  Bet you thought this post was about blooms.  I'll try to get back on track.  The connection to the post topic is a man named Thomas Berry.  He died on June 1st.  I'll bet I'm one of the few people on earth who hadn't heard of him, but his picture and a story were on the front page of a newspaper section that I picked up to read with my coffee.  There were a few quotes on the page, and the first one to catch my eye was: 
 What happens to the outer world happens to the inner world. If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur, then the emotional, imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual life of the human is diminished or extinguished. Without the soaring birds, the great forests, the sounds and coloration of the insects, the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields, the sight of the clouds by day and the stars at night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human.

Sometimes, I wonder why I feel so excited about a tree or a flower or a bird or a sunset.  That quote jumped off the page and sent me home to find out more about Thomas Berry.  Googling his name brought pages and pages of web sites, but I particularly enjoyed this youtube interview.  It was a bit slow getting into, but when he talked about Nature Deficit Disorder, there seemed to be a connection to some of the unformed ideas that have been running through this blog, almost in spite of me.  At the very least, the newpaper article and interview made me feel less apologetic about devoting this post to blooms.  

I feel somewhat sorry that I can give little information about these photos except that they caught my eye and made me happy.  For now, that will have to do.  It would be great to learn some of the names of the blooms, though, so If any reader has time to point out a few, it would be much appreciated. 

I saw these last night on 1st Avenue, near Tatlow Park.  They seemed blue to my eye at the time, although they appear more purple on the screen.
This was also taken last night, and also near Tatlow Park.  I call it Perfect Bloom #1
I am fairly certain this is a poppy.  It was on a small street near Jericho Park.
Bill has been noticing a flowering tree that he thought was called Dogwood.  The flowers are usually white, but I saw these pink ones, also near Tatlow Park.  If it is Dogwood, I guess the blooms can be different colors.
These bushes are near the heronry in Stanley Park.  It takes a lot to pull my attention away from the herons, but early in June, with the sun shining on them, the blooms were magnificent.
One thing that strikes me as curious, is that I take so little time to grow and tend plants myself.  I have a few at home, and from time to time, they do well, but at other times, they are positively neglected.  Right now, I am working to bring back to life a plant that my mother had in her apartment in Montreal.  When she died, I brought a few "slips" (that's what she used to call them.  Is that term still used?) back to Vancouver.  For a while, the plant was doing really well, but lately, I have had to take a few healthy bits from the sad looking main plant, in an effort to root them and start over.  For some reason, it seems an important connection to her to keep that plant alive.  That need is again curious, since I could not say that she loved her plants.  In fact, hers were often neglected as well.  All that to say, I really appreciate the people who work so hard in their gardens.  

These were at the corner of a street, barely even on a property, but someone has taken time to keep them in beautiful shape.  
I do not remember where I saw this one, but there is such promise in a bud.
Here is the white plant Bill noticed and thought was called Dogwood. 
This was on 3rd Avenue, a couple of blocks east of Alma.  I love it. 
I've forgotten where I saw this one, but remember I couldn't pass by without stopping.  Something about that one coral star.  Will the green ones surrounding it also change color?
I think this would be called a wild rose.  They are growing near my school and smell absolutely wonderful.  Very thorny, so they are definitely a smell but don't touch plant for me.
I left the heronry one day in a rush to get home, but couldn't pass by these without stopping.  The sun was shining on them and the bees were loving them.  I have no idea what they are.  Here is the close-up version...
... and the group perspective.
Perfect bloom shot #2
These are just a few blocks away from where I live.  They look like little jewels to me.
There is a bee at the center of one of these blooms.  Camouflage at its best.
I remember when I was a child, being told I must never combine red with pink.  I guess this gardener on Fell Street in North Vancouver either never heard that advice, or decided to ignore it.  I'm glad.
Another red-pink combination.  Or maybe deep rose and pink.  These were in the next garden to the ones I call jewel flowers.
Last weekend, Bill and I went to a street festival in East Vancouver.  I saw this plant and found it to have a powerful-peaceful beauty.
This is a shot of a pond at Jericho.  They are impossible to see here.  They may not even show in the clicked-on enlargement, but there are pink blooms in the water.
This was on a street corner by a bus stop at Alma and 4th.  Another jewel-like bloom.
This tree is on 1st Avenue, a block or two east of Alma.  There is no way to do it justice with my camera.  It is as huge and breath-takingly magnificent as some of the ancient trees in Stanley Park.  Here, I was able to show only the very top of it.
Here is the trunk of the same tree. Even with both shots, there is much of the tree that isn't shown.  Do you see the one small beast sneaking into the picture.
There it is again.  I couldn't resist giving you a better look.
This is my favorite garden.  It's not far from where I live.
Perfect bloom shot #4
This tree is by the pond at Jericho.  There was perfect light to show off its splendor.
"The universe is a collection of subjects, not objects. Everything has a voice, it speaks - a tree, a bird, whatever, it has a voice. 

Another quote by Thomas Berry to conclude the post.  The geese, the sunset and the pink clouds in the last three pictures all seemed to slip past the bloom topic in spite of me.  His words gave them permission.