Friday, May 29, 2015

The path to Nirvana

The path to enlightenment...
Fire one up!
Does this Buddha... found in the main square of the community of Coombs... have something to teach us?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Turkey vulture

Turkey vultures in flight over Christmas Hill in Saanich, BC...
Turkey vultures on the wing...
Turkey vultures are pretty common around this area. Climb up to the top of nearby Christmas Hill on a late warm afternoon and you'll typically see several of these big birds coasting on the thermals in search of food.

With their naked pink heads -- the better to dig into a freshly dead carcass without getting bits of meat and blood caught up in your head feathers -- they are visibly distinctive from the big eagles that sometimes cruise the local hills.

For all the times I've seen them in the air though, I've never seen one actually down on the ground digging into a big ol' pile of dead flesh.

I've also never caught a good close-up of one of these birds so I'm still on the lookout.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pretty in Pink

Foxglove in bloom on Christmas Hill...
Foxglove in bloom...
I don't normally take photos of flowers because I consider them to be for lazy photographers. It's near impossible to take a bad photo of a flower and you don't have to venture any further than your local park or backyard. Not much effort or thought required.

That said, I was hiking nearby Christmas Hill when these flowers jumped out at me for their unusual shape and bright colour in an otherwise field of wild growth.

I'm told by fellow photographers that these are foxglove and that they aren't native to this area.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cobourg

An empty life guard station on the main beach of Cobourg, ON...
The beach is empty...
Toes dig into the warm sand
Shades of blue bring joy
East of Toronto are a series of successively smaller communities that more or less blend into each other. The last of these is the community of Cobourg on the shores of Lake Ontario.

It's a beautiful little town in spring and summer with its downtown core of early 20th century architecture and gift shops. Nary a chain or franchise store to be seen and that's a good thing.

The jewel of the city though has to be its awesome beach. I'm told that at the height of summer tourist season, it's packed with tourists. Fortunately that wasn't the case a few weeks ago when I visited.

One of the heritage buildings in downtown Cobourg, ON...
Cobourg's historical city hall...



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dog Day Afternoon

Best thing to do on a warm, sunny day...
Best thing to do on a warm sunny afternoon...
A warm afternoon… sun beating down the jetties of Fishermans Wharf… What's a dog to do but soak it all up? 😊

Elsewhere Victoria's iconic water taxis shuttle tourists between the jetties and other points along Victoria's inner harbour.

A yellow water 'cab' arrives at Victoria's Fishermans Wharf...
A water taxi pulls into Fishermans Wharf...

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fishermans Wharf

Fishermans Wharf in Victoria, BC...
Fresh paint marks the start of tourist season for the local float homes...
When the nice weather comes to Victoria, a great place to hang out is Fishermans Wharf. There are a variety of food outlets, including world famous Barb's Fish and Chips. For the kids -- and, yes, the adults too -- there is a chance to hand feed the harbour seals off the jetty. In the background, buskers entertain the crowds with music.

My favourite activity is to grab an ice cream cone and walk the jetties to see how much the colourful homes have changed since the last time I visited. During my most recent visit, I noticed that a lot of them are sporting fresh coats of paint in vibrant shades, just in time for tourist season.

I also stopped by to see the Lady in Red. She was sporting a black outfit on the day, but was still lost in her reverie as always...

The Lady in Red is dressed in black today.
Looking sombre in black...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Sanctuaries Re-visited

Roadside memorial to Cole Howard...
Cole Howard... not forgotten...
It was just last June when I first posted about the sculpture, Sanctuaries. During my recent drive to northern Ontario, I stopped to check out the exhibit. Laval Bouchard's sculpture is a little more rusty than when I first saw it nearly a year ago, but otherwise seems to be well-visited.

Sanctuaries... a roadside memorial...
Playing for the passing drivers...
Visitors have taken to leaving change on the drum, presumably to cover maintenance costs?

Friday, May 8, 2015

So long to a friend...

Bruno in his early days...
Our young pup 15 years ago...
Earlier this week my wife and I were heartbroken to say good-bye to our dog, Bruno. He came into our lives as a puppy and left us weeping for his passing fifteen years later.

As a guard dog, he was awful. He didn't fetch balls, or otherwise play with toys. He didn't swim, despite the fact that he was half retriever. He didn't run so that ruled him out as a running partner when I was younger.

However, he was the epitome of quiet equanimity, content to go for long walks with me, to stop and say hi to the familiar faces -- human and canine -- that he encountered along the way. For that our gentle 'giant' will be remembered and deeply missed.

As I listen to the silence of our empty house I take some comfort in the wisdom of Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss):

"Don't cry because it's over... smile because it happened."

S'long old friend. I hope we get to share walks again in another life.

One of many happy walks on the local beaches...
Sharing one of our many walks on the local beaches...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Invaders

Do not mess with this plant!
Do not mess with this plant!
Walking to our nearby nature santuary recently, I noticed a sign staked into the ground next to the road.

Read it for yourself above…

"This plant is toxic to most mammals."

Yikes!

As a mammal myself, I took an immediate interest in this threatening plant. So what does this insidious flora look like? Some innocuous yellow flowers that could almost be mistaken for buttercups.

Looks can be deceiving...
Cheerful looking but deadly!
With our warm climate, and rain forests Vancouver Island is becoming BC's ground zero for invasive species.... a trend that is predicted to get worse with global warming.

American bullfrogs, hobo spiders, hogweed… all sorts of alien critters and plants are appearing on our shores. Thankfully no pythons or anacondas yet.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Church

The Church of Christ the King in downtown Sudbury, ON...
The Church of Christ the King...
I was raised as a Roman Catholic and briefly did a stint as an altar boy here, The Church of Christ the King in downtown Sudbury, Ontario.

Sadly, one of the priests here during my tenure - actually a casual friend of the family and now deceased - was later convicted of sexual abuse of some of the boys under his care.

Our group always had our suspicions but, decades ago, it would have been akin to heresy, to suggest such a thing to authorities.

Despite that I do have fond memories of my time here. Once or twice a year, the church would treat its altar boys to a movie-and-donuts event in the basement. I still remember watching The Fighting Prince of Donegal and The Great Locomotive Chase.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Shy

My shy great-nephew...
Camera shy...
During my recent Ontario visit, I met my great-nephew for the first time.