Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summertime in Vancouver

We biked around the seawall yesterday, enjoying a variety of Vancouver's summertime features.  Our first stop was by a little pond set back from the hubbub of passing cyclists, skateboarders, wheelchair athletes and walkers.  We had enjoyed the waxwings and red winged blackbirds a couple of days earlier but there was no sign of them this time.  It felt like an entirely different place.

A dragonfly, slim and delicate, rested on a leaf.
 Some geese landed noisily.
 A heron hid in the reeds, 
and then flew.. 
 to the other side of the pond.
 The geese cleared a path for..
 the landing.
 A sunbather was eating lunch behind us and this bird (id help welcomed) landed, hoping for a crumb.    
This house sparrow (Thanks, ChrisJ) rejected crumbs in favour of a more natural diet.
 Is that the dragonfly?  Chain of life, I guess, but still sorta sad. 
Back on our bikes, we enjoyed the perfect day.  Not too hot.  Not too cold.  Just a little breeze.  People moved at a variety of speeds and there was a place for all.  We chose a shady bench to sit for a while, a sudden lull in the activity feeling as though the world had come to a stop.  We talked, declared our love for each other and were gloriously content until a cormorant, learning to fly, crash landed on the bike path.  Stunned, it managed to pick itself up, limp to the edge of the seawall and fly from there to the water.  I still think about it this morning.  Nature is as unforgiving as it is beautiful, something that I accept with difficulty.  Back on our bikes, I was grateful to Bill for helping me shake the sadness.  He chose the next stop at Sunset Beach.    A group of young musicians were playing, "You Are My Sunshine."  I learned that they are the Carlo Rossi Gang
 There was a lot of fun..
 and festivity in their music. 
I looked around and wondered for the umpteenth time how we manage to have tropical trees in a temperate climate, but the Palm trees do seem to flourish.
 I took a few more pictures of the musicians,
 thinking that their old-time joie de vivre..
 must make even the seagulls happy.
The sun poured over Bill and Black Jack,
 and over the flowers marking the border between the street and the beach.
 On the other side of the street, there were more flowers,
 and behind those, the shops on Denman Street.
 At first, I didn't see Joe Liang.  He was in the small garden between the two main streets.
 Whenever I have the opportunity to photograph..
 action such as this, I yearn for another chance to get it right.
  Joe is incredibly fit, and was willing to repeat spectacular moves over and over..
 but my big lens had to catch what it could from the other side of the street.
No, Joe isn't holding on to the tree in this one, 
 and yes, these are complete revolutions.   
 I hope I come across you again, Joe. 
 My wish would be for the same magnificent light..
 over a larger and less cluttered space.
   But, if that doesn't happen, I will remember your..
 energy, friendly manner, and remarkable talent.
Our ride home took us down a lovely hill by the ocean (remember that one, Sherrill?) and we rode it with adrenalin flowing but stomachs rumbling. It was 9:30 when we finally had supper! 
Bill said to blame it on the sunset :)  I'll share our day with Our World Tuesday.   Many thanks to the wonderful volunteers who keep it running, and to you for taking time to stop by for a read.  Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Checking out the Blues

I kept an eye out for blue yesterday to share with Smiling Sally's Blue Monday meme.  This flower was on a bush that bordered a rather nondescript street.  Once we looked more carefully, we could see others that were hidden but willing to make an appearance for this post.  Bill held this one so that I could take a photograph.  Do you see his fingers?  I think they add a lovely touch to this flower that I've thus far been unable to identify. Edited to add that TexWisGirl has kindly identified the flower for me as Passion Flower.  I see from this site that it has many uses besides its beauty.  Thanks so much, TexWisGirl! 
The centre of the flower is especially interesting.
There's a clearly defined "Y" that I'm choosing to believe represents a fulfilling Year ahead for my nephew, Kris, and my friend, Phyllis.  They are both celebrating birthdays today.
In this photo, I've just noticed that the Y is standing up in a "glass raised" pose.  Happy Birthday, Kris and Phyllis :) 
Our walk continued to the False Creek waterway, where I took..  
two reflection shots,
before Bill noticed this tiny family.  Mrs. Mallard and her two kids..
swam to a spot just beneath us. Mom stepped out and gave her wings a shake.
I missed that shot, but loved this of one of the kids imitating with stubby little wings.
Then, Mom began to preen, a very important part of all birds' waterproofing maintenance.  You can barely see her blue patch.  I've always loved that marking on mallard females.
Here's another view of a stubby wing that will soon carry this youngster into the sky.
Before they learn to fly, preening skills must be learned, and I thought these two..
were making excellent progress yesterday.
After supper, Bill, Black Jack and I went out for a final evening walk.  We were still watching for blue.  I'm not sure what to call these but they are definitely blue :) 
I thought Bill did a very nice job of decorating them :)  He explained to me that they connect to huge hoses that can handle enormous streams of water from False Creek.  This is part of our earthquake/fire preparation.
The engines and hoses are housed in this building located in David Lam Park, very close to our apartment.  
When I took the photo, I realized the blue skies and clouds were reflected in the windows.
As we walked, we passed a young couple and my eyes immediately found the girl's one beautiful blue toenail.  She and her friend had great smiles, and were kind enough to allow me to take a photo for the blog.  I think it makes a wonderful addition to this blue post.  
The waterway, boats, buildings..
and sky all held lots of blue,
but these blue daisies provided the best background to highlight Bill and Black Jack.
Along with yesterday's photos, I will include just three taken a few days ago.  The one below was taken from a newspaper story that we read while doing crosswords at Harrison Galleries.  Amazingly, photographing the page worked out quite well.  The photograph by Ric Ernst accompanied a story in "The Vancouver Sun" by Steve Whysail, describing Michelle Round's love for the colour blue and for Hydrangeas.  You can read that story here.
After reading the story and finishing the crossword, we rode our bikes to Stanley Park.  It seemed that everywhere I looked, Hydrangeas popped up.  They were at the peak of..
perfection, and I knew Sally would enjoy them as they bring her father, who grew Hydrangeas, to mind.  If you are still craving more blue, you will find lots of it in the wonderful posts on Sally's meme.  Happy Monday, everyone!