My grandfather, Captain John Smith, seems the perfect way to start a post that highlights the letter "S" and that also features the sea and the sky. I didn't have the opportunity to meet him as he died before I was born, but his story is seldom far from my mind. It was described in a book of sea disasters by Robert C. Parsons called Wind and Wave. I have also told some parts of it in a previous post.
Any time I am tempted to complain about my life, I think about those words. In Will's letter, he described the water like a "tub of soap suds" and the photograph below brought that image to mind. It was taken at Hog's Back Falls in Ottawa when Bill and I visited my sister and her family last February.
There's my sister, Sherrill, my only sibling. Bill and I had just got off the plane from Vancouver and I had rushed out of the airport to let Black Jack relieve herself after her 5 hours in a little carrier at my feet. In fact, I was so anxious to get Black Jack out, I ran right past my sister without seeing her. She was laughing because she knows how I am and she knew what was on my mind. No need to explain. Sisters are like that. I love her and I love this photograph with laughter in her eyes and her smile so happy. Thank you, Jean, for reminding me to let her (and the world) know that.
The picture above and the following three were also taken during our walk at Hog's Back Falls. The artificially created waterfalls on the Rideau River in Ottawa are an impressive sight, especially on a crisp, blue February day. The story of their construction is told by Ken Watson and is a spellbinding read. Watson has spent years learning all he can of Ottawa's Rideau River, a waterway that he clearly loves. He makes all of his research available on line (the link above will take you to that site), as his way of bringing history to our doorstep.
Of the many ridges in the rock formations, one of them resembled a hog's back. Nature and man obliterated that particular view, but the name has stuck, even though the official name of the falls (rarely used) is Prince of Wales Falls.
This photo brings out the blue reflected from Ottawa's February sky, but..
taking you back to Vancouver and False Creek, you will see that the colour blue has been quite rare lately as we've been in a grey phase for some time. The sun made a momentary attempt to break through here, but was overpowered by dramatic clouds. But, there is something else I want to point out. This is directly in front of David Lam Park and about a half-minute's walk from my apartment. See that walkway and the steps going down to False Creek? There are actually three deep steps that are more like six normal-size ones.
The photo below is taken from the same location. The tide has risen to completely cover the steps as well as the walkway. In my two years at this location, I have never seen it that high.
Not a soul was using the benches that day. There was just one little spot where I could stand to take the picture.
Bill and I took Black Jack on that ferry yesterday. Here's a peek at the inside. You can see quite a few water droplets on those plastic windows. Still, it was warm and cozy inside, and Black Jack was happy. She loves these short rides across False Creek.
Some days, when the wind is up, it's quite a feat for the drivers (captains) to stop, jump out and hold the ferry so that we can board and disembark safely. I am happy for the colour in the ferries on these grey days,
but Mrs. Mallard, seems perfectly satisfied, whether or not blue appears in her world.
Black Jack, however, is a sun lover and savours those clear skies. She wasn't really looking for blue here but it makes a good story :)
I don't read weather vanes or wind patterns very well, but this unique vane high on top of a building near my apartment, seemed sure that no blue was expected on Wednesday. The artist is Rodney Graham (introduced in my "G" post), the rider is Erasmus and why he reads while sitting backwards on a horse can partially be explained at this link. The crow was, I think, reading over his shoulder, maybe hoping for a sunny forecast :)
That wasn't to be, but the rain held off and there was an emotional sparkle in the day. Black Jack and I walked along Point Grey Road, on the way to meet Bill for an outing at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC. The walk took us by many small parks and lots of trees and i kept an eye out for "S" shapes. Below is a zoomed-in version of one find.
and the Blue Whale is a huge draw to the museum. Bill solicitously removed some signs..
so that I could have an unobstructed view of the whale. (He skillfully returned them in a most subtle way, so that staff members still smiled in a friendly way at the end of our visit.)
Driving back to Yaletown, we stopped several times. We were going back the same way I had walked earlier, but somehow, there was magical light in the sky. Bill stopped and we checked out the view looking across the water towards downtown Vancouver.
We had an idea to try a downtown vegan/raw restaurant called Gorilla Foods. As it turned out, we couldn't find it, but that's a story for another day. Meanwhile, our downtown drive was colourful and there were some sumptuous blues. I hope to post a few pictures from that drive another day as well, but in the meantime, perhaps you are sensing a blue theme here. I'm going to call it sapphire blue and will state that it is my favourite colour. Below is a shot taken through the truck window of Birks jewellery store.
A quick decision to eat tostadas at Salsa & Agave (we love that place) worked out really well, and then we were off again, this time to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. We are on a mission to photograph the moon with the Lions Gate in the background. It has taken us to quite a study of moonrise and moonset phenomena. Who knew that the moon's cycle repeats every 17 years? Okay, probably that was old news to many of you, but it was new to me. With so many grey and/or rainy skies lately, that project hadn't been going so well, but at least it wasn't raining, and a full moon was coming up soon so, as Bill said, it was time to do some reconnoitring. Although we couldn't do much about the fact that the moon was so high in the sky, I was pretty happy with this shot, and we sure did have fun.
Our next stop was at Prospect Point. The moon was in the wrong place for a combined shot, but I loved the span of the bridge here.
Another day, another boat ride, and miserable weather, but amazingly, Black Jack (who had started whining about the rain as soon as she stepped off the boat) led me to a viewpoint along False Creek where the stadium roof gave me that sapphire blue fix.
And, yet another day, walking the same route with Bill and Black Jack, she insisted on a detour that Bill simply couldn't deny her. It took me to these watery droplets that I love.
No blues, no skies, but just a sweet picture of Black Jack peering at me in the hopes that we are about to play a game of ball as a substitute for outdoor rainy activities.
She is sanguine now (my new "s" word, hopefully correctly used), and really playing up the "cute" factor.
From my chuckle, she knew she had me, and playfully pounced as I was taking her picture from a sitting position on the floor. I fell back, and snapped this through the balcony window behind me. Can you picture the moment? Black Jack brings so much laughter into my life. The thought flashed through my mind that living without a dog is not and never will be an option. And, somehow, the sun found one break in the clouds that lasted just long enough..
As with all of my ABC posts, I like to find one new-to-me artist with the appropriate letter in their name. How perfect to discover Charles Sheeler (1883-1965). A painter who then found photography, he is one of my favourite finds thus far.
I have had a great time exploring some of his work at this link.
Finally, for a new-to-me musician, perhaps you will want to listen to Sharon Knight seeking to return to her Celtic roots with this Song of the Sea. Thank you so much if you have made it to the end of this post. As stated earlier, you can read about other ABC, sky, or watery themes by checking out the links given. I hope your week ahead will be a scintillating one!