Two 2017 First Sightings


The above two photos, taken today at our feeder with the Sony’s 70–210 E-mount lens fully zoomed, show that the migration continues. This species has graced our sunflower seed feeder since 2011.

When I returned in the Toyota shuttle from delivering the car for its annual maintenance my spotter excitedly announced her sightings of the above and a black-throated blue warbler, who was in the two pink rose bushes that climb, and crown, our ancient arbor at the bottom of the deck stairs. I was too late for that warbler.

A few other recent photos:

Update May 2: Could not find the night-heron the next day and haven’t looked since. 

Dishwashers, Goldfish and Death

Years and years ago my grandson and daughter lived with us. We bought our grandson a goldfish when he was almost four. He named it Skipper. One day, after several months, he came to me and said “Grandpa, Skipper stopped.” He was new to the concept of death. Observing him taught us so many new ways of looking at life. He turned twenty in October and is doing well in his sophomore  year working toward a Bachelor of Animation. He is now showing his professors new ways of looking at their worlds and their art.

Now for a more mundane topic: About six weeks ago our dishwasher, like Skipper, “stopped.” It was only six. No lights at all. No noise. No water. Nada. Continue reading “Dishwashers, Goldfish and Death”

My Uncle Eric

My uncle Eric was my closest uncle and a wonderful mentor.

He gave me my first watch at 7, my first ukelele at 9 and introduced me to photography when he gave me my first camera at 13 or 14, showing me how to use it – the intricacies of combining shutter speed, f stop and film sensitivity to create a properly exposed photo. He did his own darkroom work and had an incredible ear for finding the right, very sophisticated chord on a guitar.

Eric and my mother’s younger sister, Rita, were wonderful to my sister Anne and me. Eric could pull an original bedtime story out of his head and we loved his stories. He was devoted to Rita and welcomed Stella, his mother-in-law, into their home, where she lived for many, many years.

His sense of humour was really original, as one of the macabre photos below and in this short, YouTube tribute I put together from old photos demonstrates.

Here are a few more photos:

John Lennons and Otrazhenies – So Needed Now

Averroës - an Islamic/Aristotelian philosopher from 12th C. Spain during its golden age centred in Córdova
Averroës – an Islamic/Aristotelian philosopher from 12th C. Spain during its golden age centred in Córdova

Woke up this morning late to the local 7 AM CBC Toronto news on our clock radio. That’s late for me. Lately I’ve been waking up at 4:30 AM with all sorts of timely crap buzzing around in my head.

The radio is an alarm – this morning it was more than that – it was alarming. There were half a dozen items – five wars and Harper visiting the Arctic to stake out Canada’s claim to part of the high Arctic – and, of course, the rights of the “Canadian People” to drill for oil there. Or, more accurately, the right of that same nebulous, convenient, idea, the “Canadian People”, to let foreign multinationals drill there and scoop up most of the profits.

On our regular 4 km walk before breakfast, I reflected on how harmful and obsolete the ideas of nation, state, race, creed, etc. have become. I had just read Otrazhenie’s heart-rending poem/post, War Is Evil, War is the Devil…. The raw emotion and deep insight in this piece touched me vividly. Otrazhenie is a person whose grandmother was Ukrainian and grandfather was Russian, as revealed in her post A Prayer for Ukraine. Her youthful summers visiting relatives in a coal-mining town in the Ukraine in the 1980’s are related in this delightful, candid and carefully crafted post, Private Mousen.

In these days of intermarriage there are a growing number of people like Otrazhenie who see the big picture. That is one of the few hopeful things on this planet.

We need to see all humans as one. More than that – we need to see all life as One. Creeds and borders must become things of the past, as must the hatreds that spring both from genuine persecution and manipulative, profit-centred propaganda.

All this made me remember John Lennon’s song, Imagine, and feel it more deeply than ever. It is truly a recipe for what ails the human spirit.