Monday, July 30, 2012

Fireworks night in Vancouver

Ah, Vancouver, there are some things that are just sooo right about the place. One of those is the annual Celebration of Light.

People started filling the beaches early in the day, some even staking out their spots with mini-tents. By sunset, it looked as though every inch was occupied.

Even the bay was filled with boats full of onlookers.

Saturday's show was presented by Vietnam. The remaining shows, Wednesday and Saturday, will feature Brazil and Italy.

The video below provides a little sample. If your speakers are on high, be prepared for a blast!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Where it all began...

One hundred and fifteen years ago, Amelia Earhart was born in this room. No claims are made for this being the birthing bed, as the furniture in the Earhart house has mostly been replaced over the years. Still, standing in this room, with the sun shining in from the East, I suspect it might be quite a lot how it looked the day Amelia was born.

The window looks out over the Missouri River, a view that's mostly sky, a view I like to think might have inspired the young Amelia.

She spent much, though not all, of her growing-up time in this house, a home that's been converted to a museum in her honour. In the back yard, there's a re-creation of a wild-looking 'slide ride' she and her sister Pidge rigged up. So much for proper little turn-of-the-previous-century little ladies.

Today, Amelia is still in the news, as the TIGHAR research team has come to the end of its current search at the tiny island of Nikumaroro.

When my mother was dying, she told me that she was also interested in Amelia Earhart -- that she remembered as a little girl, listening to the radio at suppertime, for news of the famous woman flyer who was missing. So, I guess it's in my blood. Even when Amelia's gone from the radar of others, she'll remain one of my heroines, I am sure.

If you're quick about it, and click on Google today, you'll see that even they are observing Amelia's birthday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Remembering Jack

Had he lived, Jack Layton would have turned 62 today.

The photo was taken at a fundraiser event -- a backyard barbecue where Jack visited and chatted with everyone in attendance.

What a far cry from the barbecue event I stopped in at on Saturday, one sponsored by my always-elusive Member of Parliament. He kept himself surrounded by such a phalanx of worshippers, it felt impossible to talk with him or even ask a question. The thinly disguised security guard hovered so relentlessly, I finally gave up and headed out on my errands. Such a difference from the event with Layton, so much higher a profile official than my local pretender-to-power.

Ontario poet Penn Kemp is editing a book of memories about Layton. Quattro Books has scheduled its publication for next spring. For info about how to submit to this anthology (before the end of August), click here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A place of vision

I suppose it doesn’t look like much – a grassy bit of clearing in the woods. And right now, that’s pretty much all it is. But come autumn, this will be home to a place for inner vision, a labyrinth.

The setting, Surrey’s Kwomais Point Park, used to be a church campground. But, luckily for our community, when the church decided to close the camp, the city moved to acquire the land before it could get rezoned for pricey condos. For that, a loud hurrah, for meeting the needs of the people!

Now, in conjunction with two groups involved with hospice work -- one that's local and one from Vancouver -- the city is going to construct a labyrinth in the park.

The plans look great, as the large trees will be preserved and native plantings will be used to complement the setting. Best of all, the coils of the labyrinth will be wide enough to accommodate wheelchair users.

I’m looking forward to being able to use this nearby site for quiet meditation. In amongst the trees, with a peekaboo view to the sea, it should provide much in the way of deep inward vision, and maybe even some creative inspiration.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Amelia Earhart, where did you go?

Today marks 75 years since the famous aviatrix disappeared. She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were nearly at the end of their around-the-world flight. But something went wrong.

Despite a huge search, they were never found.

But now, a team is setting out on an excursion that may support one of the many theories concerning her disappearance.

The group will explore the area surrounding Nikumaroru, a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific. It's a spot where it's believed her plane may have crashed.

Today's photo shows one of my favourite cups, one from Amelia's birthplace museum, which I visited in April of 2011. It also shows my chapbook of poems about her, poems that follow a route first planted in my brain by Arthur Kopit's play, Chamber Music. He places an Amelia Earhart character in an asylum, a plight I found impossible to resist.

I'm looking forward to following this story. With today's sophisticated methods of DNA testing, any remains that might be there could surely be identified.

Oddly, one story I've heard about Amelia is that she wasn't even on the plane for that fateful leg, but that she'd been replaced, as the ditch was planned -- all in an elaborate ruse that would permit the real Amelia to escape to a live of privacy. Far-fetched? Who can say.

Kopit turned 75 this year as well. Maybe it really is time for someone to settle the speculations once and for all. The expedition is scheduled to last for only ten days, so any answers they find will be showing up soon -- maybe even with some resolution in time for Amelia's birthday, July 24th.