Category Archives: Commentary

The Pandemic Wall

It really looks as if the federal government is going to tighten our pandemic travel rules, a lot. The prime minister is being pushed that way, and, I think, is leaning that way. That means no travelling at all, either nationally or internationally.

Although I’ve hit a bit of a patience wall, I’m in favour of it. I want to do what’s in the best interests of the vulnerable. And the sooner we hunker down, the more we can control this wretched virus, and together with the vaccines, that means …

One of my favourite Penticton restaurants.

… going to a restaurant! Inside!

What else?

Meeting with family and friends! And being able to hug!

This is a picture of a former Canadian politician, Tom Mulcair. That’s not the point, though: it’s a crowded room, and there’s not a mask in sight.

No masks! Hot, soggy, fogging-up-the-glasses uncomfortable. If I never have to wear a mask again, I’ll be very thankful.

I hope to say good-bye to these soon.

And lastly, but definitely not leastly, just being able to live without covid. Without worrying about loved ones, without thinking of all the safeties you have to do to go to the grocery store, … without worrying about my son, the paramedic.

I was lately reminded that nothing lasts forever, including a pandemic. So yes, this, too, shall pass.

We have to continue to be patient. And safety conscious. And thankful for essential workers of all kinds.

Sunny days will return.

It will end.

What do you look forward to the most?

Green Lights at Night

Although I work under the Northern Lights, I have resisted publishing photos of them …

… but this one, with its starry and reflective accompaniment, is a stunner and much too good to ignore.

Taken by photographer Beckey Lee and first published by National Geographic (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/04/your-shot-unbelievable-landscapes/), it embodies all the romanticism of that luminescent northern glow. In fact, many people believe that conceiving under the Aurora Borealis will imbue the child with wisdom.

If you’re interested in seeing them for yourself, there are many choices. Here’s the site for Yellowknife, NWT tourism: https://extraordinaryyk.com/

Thinking about travelling somewhere makes me wistful. Not that I need to (or want to) travel right now, but the idea of that freedom … I hope that we will soon have this pandemic under control, and such things as seeing the northern lights will become possible again. This weird perception that I’m “unfree” is strange. I’m not, not at all, but I feel an illogical and strong sense of entrapment. This must be my limbic brain kicking in. New normal? Hah! New abnormal is more like it.

How about you? Are you feeling trapped?

Happy week. 🙂

Snow People

Here is an eerie but extraordinary picture from …

… photographer Pierre Destribats. It was taken in Lapland, which is a part of Finland.

The light shown in this photo is very familiar to me. It’s that top-of-the-world, angled sunlight that is passing through a clear, cold atmosphere.

I have seen these formations here in Northwest Territories, but only occasionally and the result is much less impressive. What are they, you ask? These are actually snow-covered trees.

An icy coating forms over the trees when humidity in the air makes contact with the branches. The moisture freezes instantly and begins to form a layer of thick frosting. This results in these rather ghostly, human-like sculptures.

An alien landscape on Earth.

This photo was originally published in National Geographic magazine.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/04/your-shot-unbelievable-landscapes/

Happy weekend, everyone. 🙂

Aerial Cloud View

This fabulous photo …

… was captured by Santiago Borja and published by National Geographic.

It is a gigantic cumulonimbus cloud (the kind that pilots are ever vigilant to avoid, especially during summer) over the Pacific Ocean; the photo was taken from about 37,000 ft.

The photographer captured this shot during one of the lightening flashes emanating from the cloud.

As a pilot, I have taken what I consider to be rather interesting pictures from aloft, but I have nothing even approaching this.

The original article can be seen here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/04/your-shot-unbelievable-landscapes/

2020: A Retrospective

I recently saw a sign that said “2020. Written by Stephen King. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.”

Apt, yes?

The calm before the storm.

Well, yes and no. For all its tragedies, fears, stresses, economic disasters, fires. floods, storms, inconveniences and annoyances, 2020 could have been a lot worse. In fact, history has recorded quite a number of years that were much worse than this one. 1944 was the worst year of WW II; June 8, D-Day, saw the deaths of almost 7000 allied soldiers (British, Canadian and American) in that 24-hour period alone.

1918 was the start of the Spanish flu. That plague went on to kill 50 million people world-wide. Whole communities were wiped out.

And let’s not forget WW I. On August 22, 1914, 27000 were killed during The Battle of the Frontiers. That was a single day’s losses. In total, that war killed 1.35 million soldiers; that number doesn’t include civilian deaths.

I could give many other examples, but you get the idea.

In the scheme of things, 2020 just wasn’t that bad. In common with others, though, I did a lot of moaning and complaining. But really, I haven’t been that badly affected. It’s more precise to say that I’ve been inconvenienced.

I kept my job. I didn’t lose anyone to coronavirus. I had to stay locked up and quarantined for weeks, but Spouse and I are both introverts. It wasn’t really that difficult.

Given that situation, a spotlight has been focussed on some things to which we need to pay attention; it’s like we’ve been given a second chance. Let’s not blow it.

So in that spirit, here are some realisations, appreciations and habits I hope to take with me:

The worst may be over. For now.

1. Respect for nature. We don’t need to spread ourselves over every single millimetre of this planet. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that this is the attitude that lead to (probably) bat, snake and pangolin DNA combining to bring about coronavirus.

2. Mindful travelling. (https://mindfultravelco.com/5-steps-to-mindful-travel/). Trying to cram an entire continent into a 10-day package tour where the point is to post as many braggy photos to Instagram as possible? That’s not travel. To me, that sounds like a lot of gobbling and very little appreciation. Much of this type of travel is causing extreme damage to the very things people want to see. And the environmental injury is becoming enormous.

3. Solidarity. We’ve all been hit by this. The whole world. Focussing on our commonalities is much better than focussing on our differences.

4. We are a lot more capable than we have let ourselves become. We figured out some amazing, innovative, and environmentally friendly solutions to the coronavirus issues. And those vaccines! So amazing and so fast!

5. There are wonderful people from all walks of life who have stepped forward during this crisis. And sometimes, I was very surprised by who did (and who didn’t). For all we think we know people, we really don’t …

What do you think?

The Bridge

Deh Cho/Mackenzie River Bridge

The Deh Cho Bridge is a one km-long cable-stayed bridge across a 1.6 km span of the Mackenzie River on the Yellowknife Highway near Fort Providence, Northwest Territories.

I’ve crossed many bridges, both physical and figurative. Some have been “cable-stayed” and others have been ready to fall into an immense crevasse.

The figurative bridges have sometimes been the very worst and I would have given anything to have had decking under my feet.

How about you?

Moon North

A pastel blue and bluish-pink characterised this rising north moon as I drove north two nights ago.

Appropriately enough for the north, this moon is known as the “beaver moon” and is the last full moon of 2020.

I am happy to be moving into the last month of 2020, as well. I hope we learn from it, but I also want it to leave.

Happy week, everyone. 🙂

Winter Skies

This post was first published in early December, 2017. I love these photos and thought it was time to show them again. Have a good weekend. 🙂

Here on the edge of Great Slave Lake, where I am north of 60 degrees N latitude, I feel like I am living inside a winter post card.

The light here is diffused by the sun’s angle.

We are only getting about six – seven hours of daylight now but the landscape that comes into view is spectacular.

The sun peeking through a layer of cirrus cloud.

At night, there is also a light show.

The Aurora Borealis.

At two in the afternoon, the sun is getting ready to go down.

Frosty trees, warm light.

The light and colours are here are almost monochromatic, and very restful.

What does your winter look like?