Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blood Donor Blues



I never gave much thought to giving blood until my wife, who had done it for many years, was finding that she was being rejected because of a lack of iron. I tagged along one night so she could initiate me in the procedure. My blood proved to be iron rich so I was 'in' and so began many years of frequent visits to the Red Cross Blood Donor Clinic.
I felt I was providing a valuable service for my fellow man and did not mind the wait times and the all the annoying questions each and every time. Things improved when they adopted a system of appointments and providing you came on time, the wait was more tolerable. The questions regarding Africa and drug use were still annoying but the good natured nurses went along with my sense of humour about it and in no time I would be lying on the cot being prepped for the blood letting.
Needles have never bothered me, nor the sight of blood, so I guess you could say that I was a natural. In fact, I usually felt rather invigorated after the pint of blood was taken from my body and upon inquiring about it, found that there were quite a few folks who felt the same. One would think the opposite would be true. I didn't really want the cookie and juice after the procedure, but the nurse on 'post op' duty insisted.
And so it was another routine clinic as I lay on the cot, waiting for the nurse to poke me. I had got to know many of them in a casual sort of way, and noticed that the gal that night was new. I commented about it and she did admit that it was her first time. I should have been nervous, but there was a trainer right there beside her. It was reassuring and I thought nothing of it. After rubbing my arm with the disinfectant for a very long time, she eventually poised the needle over my inner elbow, made her decision as to where the needle should go, and pierced me. No problem.
Until I heard her exclaim, "Oh my God. Look how fast the blood is coming." Just as her trainer was about to check the flow, the rookie exclaimed again, " Oh my God, and look how red it is."
Being a veteran blood donor, I thought nothing of it except that if it was coming fast, I would be out of there sooner. So I asked her, "What colour is it supposed to be, blue?" Nothing was said except that the trainer sent her to get the shift supervisor. I knew that arterial blood, being more oxygenated, was a brighter red that the blood from the vein, where it was supposed to be coming from.
Only then did it dawn on me that the needle had pierced an artery instead of a vein and that something like that was a no-no. I was not worried as the building was full of qualified nurses and they would know what to do. I was wrong.
The supervisor came over and looked for about 30 seconds, said everything was fine, and walked away, speaking softly to the trainer. At that point the collection bag was full to the brim, record time, I was told. They pulled the needle out and gave me the usual cotton swab to hold on the pin prick, applying pressure for about 5 minutes. The blood only stopped as long as there was pressure. Five minutes soon turned to twenty and eventually the bleeding stopped. They let me go, finally, and I commented that I had donated blood many times and had never had pain after the fact. There was a throbbing in my inner arm that I had never felt before.
I took my cookie and juice and went home with the instructions, as usual, that if any bruising or soreness occurred, to let them know. The phone number was on my donor card. Still, I was not concerned. Later that evening, when the throbbing had not subsided, I rolled up my sleeve and was surprised to see a bruise about the size of a twoonie on arm. I had had that one other time before and by morning it had been almost gone, or at least had not grown. By bedtime, it had grown and I thought I would make the phone call then instead of in the middle of the night, if need be. There was no concern on the other end of the line, only the suggestion that if the bruising had not stopped growing by morning, I should call again.
I could not sleep much that night because of the throbbing in my arm. By morning, it became quite alarming how much pain there was and how purple my arm had become. The stiffness and ache had travelled up my arm and it was difficult lifting my hand over my head to get my shirt on. I went to a walk-in clinic at 8 am.
I gingerly remove my shirt and showed the arm to the Doctor.
" What on earth happened to you?"
" I gave blood last night, at the clinic. I think they tore the back of the artery and it is bleeding into my arm."
He looked hard and exclaimed that he had never seen anything like it. Then he told me what they should have done when they first pierced the artery. The needle should have been withdrawn, the arm should have been held high over my head, and ice should have been applied immediately.
At this point there was nothing to do but wait it out.
The next few days were agony and I could not work. I did not sleep for 3 nights and although the bruise, now covering the entire arm right into my arm pit, had finally stopped growing, it was little comfort. I finally went to work to finish a job I had started several days ago, but that evening, I realised I would not be working for a while again. It did indeed take one week of recovery time.
Forty days later, I got a call from the friendly donor appointment lady asking if she could book me in for another donation. I was, after all, a steady and loyal customer. I told her I didn't think I would be giving any more blood. Naturally, she wanted to know why. Steady donors are difficult to find and she was not going to let me go that easy. I then told her about the incident and said I was sorry, but I did not have the confidence to return, I simply could not afford to ever let that happen again, not only because of the lost time, but because of the pain.
A few days later, I got another call from the Red Cross, and this time it was from Toronto headquarters. It was a very professional, articulate and sympathetic woman I talked to that morning. She was, or at least sounded like she was, very concerned and understanding. When I told her I saw a doctor, who was shocked, and who told me what should have been done, her voice took on an extra conciliatory tone. I suddenly realised that she was trying to placate me so I would not be suing the Red Cross. She assured me that the offending nurse had been disciplined and heads would roll. I assured her that I did not want that to happen. All I wanted was for the nurses to be trained properly so this would not happen to somebody else, and if it did, that they would do the right thing and admit that they made a mistake and take the appropriate measures to prevent the internal bleeding. I told her I had pictures of my arm. There was a moment of silence and then she really got friendly. By now I was playing with her because I knew she was very nervous.
After a one hour conversation, I made a deal with her. I would completely drop the matter if they promised to never call me for donating blood, ever again. She sounded relieved, but still unbelieving. She then went into a long song and dance about how much she appreciated the times I did give and again, how sorry she was, that she understood, and that she, personally, would make sure that my name was taken off the list. I never heard from the Red Cross again.
I still have my 25 pint donor lapel pin, but only as a reminder that some good came of it for somebody else. And that last pint was very good!

Weather, or Not.



As we drove up the valley yesterday morning, the heater in the car was a blessing. The snow was low on the mountains, and later on, we had a hail shower. Moments later, I read the paper and discovered, with a smile on my face, that we would be having an unusually warm summer and severe water restrictions would be enforced. The only weather forecast that is truly dependable is the one that George Carlin gave a while back: Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Light in the Path




A narrow country road with surrounding beauty, some obstacles, and a destination unknown is in some ways representative of our lives. But, the central focal point of this photo is the lamp. We all look for guidance and it can be found in varying degrees from various sources. I have stumbled in the dark numerous times and even a pin prick of light is welcome and gives a sense of direction, if not illumination. A reliable and true light will give purpose and direction to our steps. Psalm 119: 105 says "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

What a beautiful metaphor!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Looking Down on Contentment


We malcontent humans can certainly take a lesson from the flowers. How often do we wish we were elsewhere, or in a different circumstance? "If only" seems to be our life's battle cry. Here, the gardener gently places the bulbs in the cold autumn soil, and as the sun warms the ground, and the bulbs shoot forth their green spikes, the tulips eventually bloom where they are planted. We have had reminders for the last two weeks about contentment and about being right where God wants us to be. When we surrender to that reality, maybe we too can show forth the beauty that the creator has placed within us. Imagine if all the flowers were in Butchart Gardens, a place they all dream of. How dull and colourless the rest of the world would be.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Golden Day


This was a day well worth waiting for. How the blossoms perked right up when the sun touched them with warm fingers of light. The drooping pansies lifted their heads as if to say 'thank you' and kept beckoning me with their bright colours and looked downright proud when I asked them to pose for this photo. By the time the truck was washed , the light was just right and now when it rains tomorrow, I will remember the warm spring day, with the help of a quickly shot photo. It must rain. I washed my truck!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Farewell

We attended Peter's memorial service today. More than a tribute to the man's life, it was a tribute to God's grace and a man's response to that grace. Heidi's Dad was a man who was well versed in eschatology, a study of the happenings of the end of the age from a Biblical perspective. I could not help but think of him when I read a quote, this week, from Henry van Dyke, American author, educator, and clergyman.

"I am standing at the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. I stand and watch until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud, just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other ... And just the moment when someone at my side says: 'There, she's gone!' there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: 'Here she comes!' And that is dying."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

All Aboard?


This is one of the many beautiful homes we have worked in. The colours and style remind me of the CNR railroad stations of yesteryear. However the interior is nothing at all like the stark wooden floors and benches of those train depots. Two interesting things happened when I was working here. I feel a story coming on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Old Barn

I drove down a street last week that I had never seen before and there was a barn hiding between two big Maple trees that was needing to be photographed before it fell down. I must go back in fall when the Maples are in their golden prime. I find that old buildings photograph the best in the Autumn. Until then, black and white will keep it looking old. I have noticed too that the best portraiture of the elderly is in black and white. The age lines come out better. Time for a black and white self portrait, I guess.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fresh Bread

I was driving through Mt. Lehman on Friday, hoping the sun would come out, camera at hand. The fresh colours of Spring are not particularly at their best when it is grey and overcast, but in spite of the dullness of the day, I found this scene rather appealing, and the sign was a bonus.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Precarious


I stood at this viewpoint for some time, in absolute awe of the scene spread below. But it was not until I changed perspective that I realised how precarious the out cropping of rock was. There was only a 'thread' of protection in the form of a thin wire railing. All who stood there were only one tiny slip away from sure death. How like our life's journey! Heidi's dad 'slipped away' a few days ago, the thin rail protecting him all these years at last giving way. However, unlike a fall into the Grand Canyon, which is sure death, his fall was into eternal life.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Think We Will Walk This Time

After filling both fuel tanks this weekend, I have had to re-think my retirement plans. I will either have to keep working forever and drive to where I am going, or I can sell (maybe have to give away) both vehicles and we will be walking everywhere, and just work in the neighbourhood. Ethanol requires more energy to produce than what it gives back and is tapping our world food supply, but like a lot of things, has taken on a life of its own and will not be stopped. The world is going crazy and I want to get off, but obviously, I will not be driving there.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Seeking

In my search for Spring beauty, camera in hand, I did not have to go far. These are the pure white delights that would greet you, should you come to our entry. Often that which we seek is right in our own back yard, or, as in this case, in our front garden. On these cold bleak days, these cheery white Osteospurmum (Star of the Veldt) are an inspiration.

There is a push to get on board with the '100 mile diet', an idea which would encourage us to eat only food produced within a 100 mile radius of our home. I have always prescribed to the idea of finding the beauty (photographically speaking) within a 100 mile radius of our home. There are exceptions, but mostly it has worked. Sophocles said: "Look and you will find it; what is unsought will go undetected."

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Big Snow


Today, April 18, 2008, it was very cold and it snowed. I drove through a blizzard in the late afternoon, and had it been a few degrees cooler, it would have turned into a scene similar to today's photo. It was Christmas '69 in Ocean Falls. Known for the highest rainfall in North America, naturally this can easily become record snowfalls when the temperature drops. Perhaps Spring will come tomorrow. This is beginning to sound a little repetitive.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Early to Rise

I have never been an early riser by choice. Nor have I been one to 'sleep in'. As a creature of habit, I stagger to the bathroom around 7 am every morning and it seems to work for me to stay up at that point and get on with my day. There are two things that I can think of that get me out of bed earlier than that. One of them is an early flight to a tropical vacation spot in the middle of winter. The other is the prospect of catching a spectacular sunrise on a foggy morning. This is on the Fraser River, about as early as I can handle. (circa 1975)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tulip Season

There are many varieties of Tulips and this time of year you see them popping up everywhere. Botanists will spend their life time trying to develop a unique Tulip that they can enter in competitions, seek a prize, and have the Tulip named after them and then market it to the world. Me? I'm just lazy, but I too like new Tulips. So, ten minutes in Adobe Photoshop and here we have a new variety. It grows only in the pitch dark and looks like it has a mildew problem. I just can't come up with a name for it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Give Me Shelter


I believe the Daffodils are going to last forever this year. They love cool weather. This one may be the exception because it is sheltered in our warm home. When a photo is a little out of focus and the back light is a little too harsh, no fear. Something good can still come of it. It has been a tiring day and when I can create something beautiful at the end of it, I am energized just enough to crawl from my computer to my waiting bed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fruit and Flowers

We rescued a few Daffodils from the heat on Saturday and put them in this vase with some leftover Tulips from a party on the previous Sunday. Apparently the Tulips do not care for the Daffodils. They got very shy and drooped their heads, trying to get away. The evening light streaming through the kitchen window gave the fruit and flowers a rich look and without really arranging anything, I just snapped a shot before the Sun hid behind a cloud

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gerbera Daisies





Heidi brought these beautiful Gerbera Daisies to busylizzy the other day at a time when Lizzy needed some encouragement due to some health problems. We have received unending joy from them as they sit on our kitchen table, bringing a breath of beauty at all times of the day. I photographed them several times and after playing with them in Adobe Photoshop, a new level of enjoyment was achieved. On my next post, you will see them up against some pretty tough competition.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Square Dancing and Sardine Sandwiches

When I wrote this story, I tried to keep the perpsective of a ten year old growing up in the 50's. It is another of my boyhood memories, growing up in the Canadian Prairies.


Sports and square dancing were the two truly redeeming factors of school. But, you say, boys are usually only interested in sports and girls. Or later, sports, girls and cars. Okay. Let me get to the square dancing first.
It was mortifying to think that we had no choice. There was just no way we were ever going to get out of it. It was written in stone. Physical education could only be accomplished so many ways in a gym, with a blizzard blowing the minus 30 degree air around the playground of the school. To break the monotony, the teachers decided the children needed to learn square dancing.
The girls giggled and whispered amongst themselves while the boys fidgeted with their hands in their pockets and glanced at one another with a combination of horror and loathing on their faces. There was a lot at stake here. You see, there were certain girls that were OK, but they were in the minority. Even so, you just didn't touch them. End of subject. Then there were the 'others'. These were the ugly ones, the ones that stank, and the ones with reputations, although none of us could actually define what a reputation was. These creatures were avoided like the plague, and indeed were a plague, if even touched or brushed past. Call them fleas, germs, or whatever, but these untouchables had them in spades and they were easily transmitted. The contagion was so reprehensible that indeed, if one brushed past one of these persons, say with an elbow, the infected part of the body could be cleansed only by running to another boy, rubbing the elbow hard on his body, somewhere, and calling out the name of the girl and the word fleas. The disease could be continually spread throughout the classroom until it was watered down to the point where interest was simply lost, or there could not possibly be any fleas left after having been rubbed on so many guys.
So you can imagine the reluctance to learn square dancing, because, although we did not know much about it at all, we had all seen or heard of Don Messer's Jubilee, a hot bed of square dancing kind of TV show. And having seen the goings on with those dancers, we knew there would be touching and there would be lots of it.
There was some basic instruction, an introduction to the music, (curses on those portable record players) and the inevitable pairing off into groups of eight dancers per square. There was a momentary glimmer of hope when one of the boys lamely suggested that boys dance with boys. This was a brave gesture as we all knew that there was death in touching girls, but there was also death in being called a homo.
Having grown up with sisters, I deep down knew that touching a girl would not kill me, but there is this thing called mob mentality. I was one of the guys and we were all doomed. Four girls were selected, and immediately, I, together with three other guys, was told to "go stand over there with them". There, in the group of four, that would soon be transmitting their fleas to us innocent young men, were two girls of the first category, the OK category. I was relieved, but at the same time, there were two 'others' in the group also. ‘They’ who brought sardine sandwiches to the last Friday of the month Red Cross Meetings and subsequent 'last lesson of the week' parties. Nobody ate them for two reasons. They were sardine sandwiches, and they had the worst kind of fleas possible, having been handled multiple times by their creators. Nobody knew what really happened if one actually ingested these fleas of the first order. Not one of the guys was willing to find out.
I will never forget it. There was 'OK' Marion Rode, there were the incurable flea ridden Gloria and Jeannie Romashenko, and then there was Jackie Rosea. Of all the OK girls, Jackie was at the top of the heap. She was a dark haired, brown eyed, swarthy skinned girl. The exact opposite of my blonde, blue eyed, fair skinned sisters. That intrigued me. The moment of truth snuck up on us rather quickly. The girls were to choose their partners and no fighting over the best dancers. That was a lame attempt at humour. Jackie made a purposeful few strides in my direction as soon as the instruction was given, and to this day I do not know if it was because she found me appealing, or if it was because the other three guy in our group smelled of farm animals and she preferred the smell of groceries. I sent up a quick prayer of gratitude.
The first hurdle was overcome, but there was still a mountain to climb. The first lesson was basic movement around the square and familiarizing ourselves with the different calls and the terminology. No touching. Another prayer of thanksgiving. Maybe by tomorrow, President Kennedy will have bombed Cuba, Kruschev will have retaliated, Saskatoon will have been wiped off the face of the earth, and there will be too much plutonium in the air to conduct classes. That would be a truly good news, bad news type of thing. No more square dancing, but no more Saskatoon Pioneer days either.
When my mother would make a dentist's appointment for me, out of necessity, it would be months ahead. I thought of it everyday and dreaded it, playing it out in my mind until it became a monster, a thing of fear and dread. So too was the dawning of a new day, a day that would find me dancing with a girl, touching hands and horror of horrors, touching other parts of our bodies. (Please, not cheek to cheek!) But, like the dentist appointment, the time does eventually arrive and you just have no choice but to go through with it. The lesson I had never learned was that it usually was not as bad as I had imagined.
The moment came. Her hand was soft and warm. We gently clasped fingers, palm to palm, and the other hand suddenly became my universe. It was supposed to hold the waist of my partner. My hand went just close enough to brush the fabric of her sweater. Technically, this could easily be close enough. However, this finely measured distance could not be sustained as we began twirling around the dance floor and it became a necessity to firmly grasp her waist in order to maintain direction and balance.
Jackie Rosae! My first love.
As I felt her hand clasp mine a little more firmly, and I felt the slight curve of her waist move beneath my other hand as we dosey doed around the square, I became intoxicated. I had no clue what this was all about, but I did know that I suddenly liked square dancing. And I liked it a lot.
The other part of that story is that square dancing, unlike conventional types of dancing, requires that the dancers change partners frequently, alamanding left and right, and swinging other partners to and fro. This inevitably resulted in multiple contaminations of girl fleas. Because all the guys were in the same boat it did not make any sense to try any kind of decontamination ritual. This, then, became the beginning of the end, for all us boys, of the fear of fleas. Sardine sandwiches, however, were still taboo.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Costa Rica Connection

I met a fellow today who is in an enviable position. He is five years younger than me, his business is so successful he only works three days a week, he is going to Cost Rica next Friday to check out the new house that has been built for him, and starting this winter, he will spend six months a year there. Would I trade him lives? Consider that he has diabetes, very high blood pressure, he smokes three packs a day, and he believes he will be dead in 5 years. No, I would not trade places, and besides, he has no grandsons.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

I spoke to a man a few years ago whose wife had just had laser eye surgery after a lifetime of very poor vision. A few days after the procedure, he came home from work to find his wife in the garden, standing there, weeping. Being very concerned, he rushed to her side to inquire about the cause of her tears. Fearing something had gone wrong with her vision, he was surprised and relieved to hear her reply. This is what she said to him. " A small summer shower just passed by and I came out to the garden to smell the fresh rain on the dry soil. When I stooped down to look more closely at the flowers, I saw the tiny droplets of water on the petals. I have never seen something like that in my entire life and I thought it was so beautiful that I could not help but cry."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Badlands


The Badlands of South Dakota are amazing. The only reason they are 'bad' is because they are useless. But hold on! Is beauty ever useless? If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will see a motor home winding its way down the curves into the little green valleys. Tourism is good. I was quite taken by the contrast between the moonscapes of the badlands and the lush farming lands that surround it. As you first stand on the edge of these clay hills, you are struck by the fact that they seem to go on forever. And like the badlands in our own lives, there is the occasional oasis of greenery and life, but sometimes only seen by looking from overhead, or in other words, in hindsight. So be encouraged. Badlands do not last forever, there are bright spots, and they can be beautiful. It is all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Barn at Sunrise

As I looked at this photo taken in the mid seventies, it struck me that the sun always rises, but the pictures we have of these beautiful events are never the same. Not only are the sunrises varied, but the cows, the barns, or the palm trees we use as foregrounds, are no longer there. Did anyone else ever photograph this barn? Did anyone ever capture those bovines on film? The sun, the moon, and the stars have outlasted everything that we ever put against them as a foreground for a photo. Why is it that the objects of permanence are in the background while the temporal subjects are the main focus of our attention? Do we tire of the daily occurrence of sunrise and moonrise, and are more interested in the things that do not last? The parallels to our spiritual lives are there if we dare to look.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Blossoms

The expression we often use in spring is that the trees are 'coming to life'. They were never dead. Even 'bursting forth with new life' is not accurate. There was always life there. It is surprising how a tree can appear dead, but when the sap starts to flow, the buds push out to seek the light, and the tree suddenly has the appearance of being quite alive again. I have witnessed something similar to this, the last few weeks. My friend lost his wife to cancer several years ago and as a result, had the appearance of a tree in winter. Recently, he has found new love which has resulted in a spring-like transformation. His demeanor now resembles the 'bursting forth of new life' that makes a dormant tree once again green and vibrant. Spring is a season for miracles.

Tulip Anticipation

You just know it is going to hit any moment now. The sun is high, the days are long, and when this cold front moves on, we will be hit with a heat wave. Well, a warm spell, maybe. It might just be warm enough so we can complain about the 'heat'. After all, we will not be acclimatized. These poor tulips, who are so longing to break out, like cool weather, so when the heat hits, they will burst forth, and within days, will wilt and die. I might just slip out of the shade long enough to get a photo or two of them before they do that.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Visible Minorities


Our little town now has the distinction of being the community in all of Canada with highest percentage of 'South Asian' visible minorities. For anyone living here for some time, this is not a surprise. In the city of Richmond, the Caucasians are now the visible minority in a city of people of Chinese descent.
Consider the Daffodil. The white variety is a recent 'immigrant' to the world of horticulture. Suppose it became the predominant colour in spring, and the traditional yellow ones were to fade into oblivion. We would still have daffodils in the spring, but it would be different, not the same as it was, not traditional. Whether or not this happens is totally up to the gardener. The flower that is planted, nurtured, and encouraged is the one that will flourish. I like all the varieties of Daffodils, even the miniatures, but I believe that balance is the key for a happy and beautiful garden. It is all up to the gardeners, who we elect.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What's in a Name?



It has happened to all of us. We hear all about a Harold or a Samantha, but having never met them, we conjure up an image in our mind's eye, to help us relate to who that person really is. When we finally meet them, or see a photo of them, we are not even close with what we thought they looked like. In my 'hunting ' days, I met a very attractive young lady and would have pursued her had she not had a very unattractive name. Funny how that works, but it is all a function of mind associations and cultural influences.


Don't you think those two absolutely lovely flowers deserve a better name?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Rock Climber

I have hiked many mountain trails over the years, but would never consider myself a mountain climber or a rock climber. And yet, once a year there is a very large rock pile in my life that has to be scaled. There are many pitfalls, outcrops, crevasses, and few handholds, but somehow I make it to the top. Without safety ropes or harnesses, I have come to within a few feet of the crest, where, while peering over the precipitous edge, I see a cool drink and a relaxing hammock which awaits those who endure. On Monday, my accountant, who is an accomplished mountaineer, will haul me over the edge, I will pay him handsomely, and I will once more bask in the freedom from income tax worries, at least until next April.

Electric Blue

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you will have noticed that I rarely match the photo to the season. In a few months, I will be able to relax in the garden and be surrounded by these amazing Morning Glories, and at that time will not be motivated to post a picture of one of them. But right now, browsing through my photo folders, these flowers with the inner light, catch my fancy a great deal and I want to share them with all of you. They bloom in the cool of the very early morning, and the heat of the day will shrivel and knock them off their stems by mid afternoon. Unlike me, a Morning Glory is a 'morning person'.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mallard

We can learn something from birds. They fly back from a warm winter in sunny California, and when it is too cold to build a nest, mate, lay eggs, and whatever else it is they do in spring, they do not pack up and fly back. They patiently wait, and watch. How do they know this? We would be checking the calendar, looking at our watches, staring at the Weather Channel, and fretting. Our favourite topic of conversation seems to be 'the weather'. The weather is what the weather will be and it will always be thus. Let's just be grateful that we do not have to sit in a cold pond while waiting for spring. When it turns wet and cold again tomorrow, I will not be talking about it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sunrise or Sunset

There has been much said about aging, and I have been bombarded with all the cliches this week. No, I do not feel any different now that I am 60, but over the last year, in anticipation of this milestone, I have been thinking, that what has changed, is my perspective on dying. Up until recently, when faced with the prospect of death, my first reaction would have been," Not now! I am too young. I have too much living to do." My thinking has gradually changed in that I still feel that I am too young, and yes, I have a lot of living yet to do, but the prospect of dying now is OK if it must be. I do not think I have ever feared death, but perhaps feared missing out on something if I were to die. That feeling is gradually being replaced with something else.... the beginnings of anticipation.

The photo: Is it a sunset, representing the fading of youth, the waning years, the beginning of the end, or is it a sunrise, representing new beginnings, the start of a new day, anticipation of what is in store? The truth is, I had to get up very early in the morning last fall to get that shot at Willband Creek Park. Sunrise is more my outlook these days than sunset.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Old, Older, Oldest

A big thank you to all of you who not only remembered my birthday today, but helped make it a very special day. No time for a picture post tonight. Too busy opening cards, being taken out to dinner (by 14 people) and being recognized on the family websites. I accept the lavish attention only because it is not everyday that one turns 60! I love you all and thanks for making me feel young.