Trembling aspen taken near Link Lake in October, 2017. Each of these “trees” is part of a single root mass – comprising a single organism that could take up as many as 100 acres. Each shoot may only live for a short time (50-150 years), but the mass as a whole may live for 80,000 years or more. The sound of the wind in these trees is what makes them most notable – a fluttering of thousands of tiny wings against one another. I often find myself on my knees in the forest loam – the best posture for both awe and photography.
After what has been a pretty cold and wet winter, my corner of the west coast was treated to a weekend of beautiful sunrises, just in time for the May long weekend.
Yesterday was really insane for wildlife viewing – as I crossed over from the BC interior and onto the island – not only did I see the elk herd first thing in the morning, but on my Vancouver-Nanaimo ferry voyage I caught sight of a Humpback whale (pointed out by the ferry captain as we were nearing Departure Bay) and managed to get a shot of it breaching. It’s not the best photo because we were at a distance and it’s hard to get a whale in action (you have to predict where they are going to come up next) – but still – it’s a Humpback whale!
On my way home from the cabin outside of Princeton, I encountered these elk on the side of Mine Hill, also known as Elk Ridge. I have driven this highway dozens of times and never encountered a single elk – but today there was a whole herd there, thundering beside the road. When I got out of my car to take pictures, they ran up the hill – which means I didn’t get very close shots. But still! They were mesmerising, and majestic. I cried from the beauty of them as I continued on my drive in the early fall morning. If you look closely at the photo you can see the bull, of which there is only one per herd. He is surrounded by his “harem” – who he will spend August to December with in order to mate with and protect them. In my photos, I count 24 cow elks, which means that this bull is at peak breeding age – between the ages of 4-8.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen or heard elk – but the I’ve never gotten photos before, nor have I seen a herd this size in such detail!
Taken on the delta at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, January 2016.
I’ve been walking to work almost every day lately – and this morning I pulled out my phone camera to do a little documenting of the amazing sights of my 6 kilometre trek. A couple photos didn’t get uploaded, they are on my work computer I guess – but I’ll post them some other time (one is a photo of my office – ain’t that exciting). My route takes me to Adanac and Penticton, down the bike route to Campbell, up Campbell and over to Pender, and then along Pender to Burrard. Almost every time I walk I am astonished by something new and out of the blue – which is one of the many reasons I love East Van neighbourhoods.
East Vancouver really does provide the most interest points on any given walk. It’s making my new commitment to commuting by foot twice a week (all six km!) pretty damned enjoyable. Getting re-acquainted with my favourite quirky ‘hoods!
If all of philosophy really is the question of what it means to have a “good” life, then I think I am getting closer to the answer every day. And on Friday night I was presented with my answer (the one that Brian and I have come up with anyways) in pictorial form. For my fortieth birthday gift (which I received early during our cabaret on Friday night), my dear B. commissioned a piece of artwork from our friend Sam Bradd to encapsulate just what it is that makes our life together so incredible.
I would encourage you to now click on the image above and then zoom in to see all the wonderful detail in this piece.
All I can say is that between Brian’s stories and Sam’s art – they totally got it right – and I so look forward to having this piece in my life for all the years to come, as a reminder of all that we have built our life on since meeting five and a half years ago.
One reflection Brian and I had this weekend (after hosting a fabulous cabaret that went until four in the morning on Friday and going to bed on Saturday night after a feast with friends) is that a good life is something that requires a fair bit of effort and input. It doesn’t just happen on its own. And even with the effort/input there is always the luck card which comprises at least 50% of the choices you get to make towards the life you want to create. Not to mention the fact that there are dips and pitfalls in any life which must be factored in when building the resiliency that carries us through those rough times.
Brian tells me that he never knew that life could be as good as the one we’ve created together is. I tell him I always knew that life could be this awesome, but I needed the right partner in co-creation because it’s way too much work and energy to sustain on one’s own (or with a partner who isn’t equally on board). But no matter our perspective, it’s definitely a joint effort!