Monday, September 25, 2017

Time has a way of...


...disappearing, it seems. One minute, the National Research Council Time Signal is beeping ten o'clock (Pacific time), the next thing I know, it's turning into afternoon.

Salvador Dali knew a thing or two about time and created so many pieces exploring its flexible nature. I felt pretty lucky to have heard about an exhibit of a few of his works -- in of all places, a mall.

The piece at the top is his interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. I love the freedom of its fluidy, dancing lines.

One kind of crazy thing I couldn't ignore was the accidental (I am sure) juxtaposition of Dali's dancing clock, and its placement just outside a shop with a clock in its name. Even their times were somewhat in sync. Something I think that Dali might have liked, might have at least winked an eye at.

The show is on at Oakridge Centre until October 1st -- better hurry, before time runs out.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

from Oh to Why

It's a job that's taken longer than I'd hoped or dreamed it might, but the old four-drawer file cabinet is finally cleared out.

Part of the reason it took so long is that I seemed compelled to look at too many papers. It was as if I simply had to read what had once seemed so important.

As it turns out, some of those papers turned out to be keepers, including this little set from what once filled the bottom drawer. As you might guess, one of the strangest set of clippings captured all the wariness that accompanied Y2K. Lucky us, the world didn't end, didn't even seem to feel a bump in the road.

Even though the actual point of equinox doesn't happen until tomorrow, having that cabinet cleared out feels like a good way to begin the new season, the stepping-off point to who knows where.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

No $ale


All I wanted to do was buy some tape. Some good sturdy clear tape that would hold up, no matter the weather.

But it turned out, because there was no bar code on the roll, the worker behind the counter couldn't ring up the sale.

I asked him, "But it's clear, look at the display. The price of a roll is $2.99. Can't you just ring that in manually?"

"Nope."

It's true. My paranoia is justified. The machines are definitely keeping us in our place. I'd say this is yet another proof that they're winning.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Eyes of heaven

One of my favourite reading series celebrates the work of poets who have died. There's nothing hokey or ghoulish about this -- it's no seancey nonsense -- it's brought together every two months by a group of very-alive writers, and it's called Dead Poets Live.

I always learn about some poet I've never heard of before. This time the poet was a man named Kabir. Unbeknownst to me, he lived in the 15th century and was considered by many to be a saint. Who knew? I have to credit Kate Braid, who told us that she first discovered one of his books in a second-hand bookstore. The selections she read made me want to learn more. And learning more is what often happens at these readings. Alban Goulden presented a selection of work (and much in the way of enlightening comments) on Paul ValĂ©ry. Goulden even included some of his own translations, explaining his dissatisfaction at some he encountered.

Even though these first two presentations were engaging, the second half really kicked into high gear, as these were works by three poets nearly all of us in the audience had known -- three poets who each died too soon.

Weldon Hunter presented works by Nanaimo poet Peter Culley, whose death took all of us by surprise when we were at the Cascadia Poetry Festival in 2015. Hunter read from each book in Culley's Hammertown trilogy and told a few wonderfully personal stories about his friend, Culley.

Barbara Nickel was exactly the right person to present the work of her friend Elise Partridge. Well-loved by so many in Vancouver's writing community, like Culley, Partridge died in 2015 when she too was only 57. She wrote brave poems that cut close to the bone, with lines like these from a poem called "Ways of Going" that was dedicated to her partner, Steve:
Sad rower pushed from shore, / I'll disappear like circles summoned /by an oar's dip. 
However I burn through to the next atmosphere, / let your dear face be the last thing I see.

Closing the event was Wayde Compton, reading from work by another beloved Vancouver poet, social activist and essayist, Jamie Reid. I can hardly remember giving or attending a reading where I wouldn't see Jamie, often leaning against a wall at the back of the room. No matter the occasion, it was never 'about him'. But then, that's just the kind of guy he was.

As for the crazy photo accompanying this post, it was after the reading, and I was still feeling kind of spiritualized, I guess, by the emotions that were so evident in the room, downstairs in the Vancouver Public Library. Looking up, all those skylights in the building looked to me like eyes -- and whether they were eyes looking up, or ones looking down, I couldn't be sure. But I felt like, if there is such a place as heaven, there it was, in plain view, nearer than ever.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Forest fire skies

Today's skies were smoky, giving the day a feeling I heard called everything from eerie to surreal. I thought about getting out the glasses I used for watching the eclipse, as I thought I might be able to look at the sun. Even the light was similar to the partial darkness we had during the eclipse. Hidden behind so much haze, the sun seemed more like the glow you might see in an old-fashioned light bulb getting ready to burn out, glowing a tired-out-looking orange.

The fiery-looking picture above isn't what you might expect at first glance. It was just one of those lucky shots, a phenomenon I spotted the other morning. Yes, morning.

The sun was streaming through a window and cutting through the petal of a nasturtium in a tiny vase. Thankfully, no fire here. Just the power of the sun, compromised today by smoke blowing northward from the blazes raging through Oregon and Washington.

For a part of the world reputed to be rainy, the past few months have seen drought conditions, with watering restrictions in effect.

And no, Mr Trump, there's no such thing as climate change, is there... I hope you've been able to tell that to the people in Texas.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Almost peachy

To someone who lives in Georgia or in BC's Okanagan, our tiny peach tree would be a joke. But here in the Lower Mainland -- or at least in our little yard -- it's a treasure. This year, it has a whopping big crop of nine (admittedly undersized) peaches.

And I figure that's good enough to qualify as peachy. As it turns out, there are a few phrases based on glorifying this luscious fruit, some weirder, some punnier, some more profound than others. (Can anything based on the description of a fruit be profound? Probably not.)

Even though they're getting nice and rosy, they're still too hard to want to pick and eat. But I'm trusting it won't be long -- and also that they'll be at least as good as last week's little crop of three golden plums. Those were so juicy, we had to eat them outside. I ate mine over top of a plant in a pot, and pretty well managed to water it with the drippings.




Sunday, August 20, 2017

Getting ready to say 'Au revoir'


...to the sun. But just for a little while. After all, the meaning of 'au revoir' does suggest 'until we see each other again.'

I've got my fingers crossed that our blue skies will continue, as I really want to watch as much as I can of tomorrow's solar eclipse. Even though where we live will only see an 89% occlusion, I reckon it will be memorable.

I know there are plenty of stories that feature this solar phenomenon, but I'd have to say my favourite is Tintin's adventure in South America, Prisoners of the Sun, where Tintin's knowledge of science (and of a solar eclipse) saves him from death.

The safe glasses are ready, and so am I.