Tag Archives: reflection

Remembrance Day

30 Days of Gratitude- Day 11

30 Days of Gratitude- Day 11 (Photo credit: aussiegall)

I first published this post on November 11, 2013, a second time in 2015 and again today. As a tribute to my family’s veterans and all those many, many others, I think it holds as true this year as did when I first published it nine years ago. Thank you for your service. We will remember.

In Canada, today is Remembrance Day. Today, we remember those who have given their lives to preserve the greater good, those who gave us what we have today.

Both my parents were veterans of World War II. My dad escaped from Dunkirk and later, in 1944, helped to liberate France and the Netherlands. He went all the way to Hamburg, Germany, before being sent back to England and to my mother.

My mother served in the British army as a radar operator during the London blitz. Her father, a World War I veteran, was a “spotter” who alerted higher command that enemy planes were coming across the channel.

One day, a fighter saw him and killed him.

Three of her brothers served in the army, one of whom was captured. He spent four years in a prisoner of war camp and was finally liberated in 1945. According to my mother, he was completely changed and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for the rest of his life.

Another brother died during his service to the navy, and a third in France. A sister-in-law died in a bombing raid.

My parents worked hard while escaping attacks and facing every kind of rationing imaginable, to say nothing of the constant fear of death. This left them with an enduring determination that their kids would never face the same fears, privation, or responsibility. There had been no guarantees that they would be successful with the task they were given.

But they were successful. And we enjoy the benefits of that success today, a success written in blood.

In Canada, the following excerpt from For the Fallen is recited at Remembrance Day services around the country. Here, this recitation is known as The Act of Remembrance.

For the Fallen ~ Laurence Binyon

They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old:

age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Yes.

The Insanity of Pointless Indulgence: 10 Things I Learned at Crate & Barrel Today

Note: It’s the holiday season, which means it’s also time for me to drag out some of my admittedly over-shared “Christmas” posts. Let’s start with …

The Insanity of Pointless Indulgence: 10 Things I Learned at Crate & Barrel Today

This is a truly hilarious but thought-provoking post from Brian Lageose. Please read, chuckle, and think.

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?

Watching You Watching Them

Alex Badyaev Wildlife Photographer of the Year https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2020/10/winners-wildlife-photographer-year-2020/616710/

Entitled Watching You Watching Them, this photographer was gifted with an example of the bird he was studying right outside his cabin window.

The Cordilleran flycatcher is declining across western North America as the changing climate causes shrinkage of the riparian habitats (i.e. river and other freshwater corridors) along its migratory routes and on its wintering grounds in Mexico. In Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, it typically nests in crevices and on canyon shelves. But one pair picked this remote research cabin instead, perhaps to avoid predation. The nest was built on the head of a window frame by the female. Both parents were feeding the nestlings, flying out to snatch insects in mid-air or hovering to pick them off leaves.

So as not to disturb the birds or attract predators to the nest, Alex Badyaev hid his camera behind a large piece of bark on an ancient spruce tree leaning against the cabin. He directed a flash toward the trunk, so the scene would be illuminated by reflection, and operated the setup remotely from the cabin. He captured his shot as the female paused to check on her four nestlings. Behind her—the cabin serving as a conveniently spacious blind—the biologist recorded his observations.

Happy Friday, everyone. 🙂

Green Growing

The vineyards of the Okanagan Valley are verdant and blowsy with green growing …

… and green globular wine grapes, tight with juice and flavour …

… unless they’re red. 🙂

Most of them will soon be ready for plucking. They will become lots of types of wine, both precious and humble, and everything in between.

Like us.

Greetings from the vineyards of the Okanagan Valley. 🙂