Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Maybe I'm wrong there.
The purpose is to honour those who have given their one, precious life so that all may have peace, all the time.
We went to the cenotaph at the Civic Center for the ceremony this morning. It always chokes me up. I see a crowd of people who gather there to pay respect. There is no big payoff for going to a Remembrance Day ceremony. There are no balloons or cake or clowns. It is a somber gathering, to stand with those who share the love of freedom and acknowledge that it came, that it still comes, at a cost.
I didn't take pictures. I can describe it though, if you have a moment to picture it for yourself.
There were about two hundred people who quietly and without fanfare gathered around the modest cenotaph in the center of the turnabout at the civic center. The sky was even a quiet, modest grey, no rain fell, no snow underfoot. It was all understated.
A schoolbus with cadets in uniform, and one of veterans, pulled up. The RCMP, in their brilliant scarlet dress and high boots, assembled and stood visiting in the minutes before the formal gathering. Some of the officers had children, who ran up to their dads, and then quietly went back to stand beside the young mothers who found a place on the curb where the children could watch.
A group of four young air cadets, the honour guard, with rifles on shoulder, did a slow, hesitating march to the cenotaph and stood at the four corners, rifle butts down, heads lowered, still.
The uniformed service men and women, RCMP and firefighters, with the cadets in formation, marched in and formed a half circle behind the cenotaph. They stood at attention.
The Captain at Arms of the local Legion was called to march the colours. He led as the flags were carried proudly forward, and they too stood at attention in front of the monument.
Taps was played, to a silent audience. The flags were slowly lowered till they were resting pointing downward. The crowd joined in singing Oh Canada, and I stood with my boys and Daniel, singing, and looking at our flag against the calm grey sky.
There was a moment of silence, unannounced but expected. We, my family, community and I, stood quietly and thoughtfully remembering and contemplating the real cost of our freedom. How the wars being fought now seem politically motivated and unpopular, but to the soldiers who are in the hot zones, it is a daily reality to fight for peace.
The bagpipes played. Is their a sadder instrument?
The Silver Cross Mother was called to lay the wreath, and as she was helped to the front of the monument, others were invited to line up behind her to place a poppy of their own. The first to move was a little girl of four or five, who went forward all alone, walking bravely up to the front of the crowd. A dozen or so little children followed, some alone, many with grandparents, and quietly added their spot of red to the stone below the cross.
"A little child shall lead them".
Then my son moved away from me and walked alone up to the cross. Daniel followed, and Josh as well. I blinked, and took the poppy off my lapel and humbly followed them.
The ceremony ended, and the crowd applauded as the flags were raised high and marched off for another year.
I always feel touched by the quietness and ceremony of the day. It's always the same. I am proud of the crowd that turned out, my community, who take a little time out of their day off and show up to support those few remaining vetrans who still make it out.
Respect is a beautiful thing to observe, and though Canadians are generally not as enthusiastic about showing their patriotism in loud and public venues, it is still special to stand shoulder to shoulder on a chilly autumn day and sing out loud for no other reason than that we appreciate those who give their lives in the service of their country.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)
Monday, November 09, 2009
I love the way the low angle of the sun at this time of year extends shadows. I love how objects stretch and grow and reach.
Shadows are mysterious things, just think of Peter, and Wendy, trying to stitch his shadow back on.
On our holiday in September we spent a few glorious days with my cousin and her family in Vancouver, and traveling up the Sunshine Coast in their boat. We stayed at Secret Cove and I took this picture on the dock, against a neighbouring boat. It is of Josh and Levi's shadows, and it's all in good fun...no sibling rivalry going down.
Then I found this link tonight and all these amazing photos and I started thinking of how I can take more shadow pics.
Watch for them in the future.
Do you have any shadow pics? Would you leave a link in the comments to share?
Saturday, November 07, 2009
But he follows the Grandich Blog and lately he's had a few funnies to share with me.
I am reposting this here, and please note THIS IS ENTIRELY WRITTEN BY PETER GRANDICH. Not Me.
Please enjoy, and hop over to his blog post if you want to leave him a comment. He's hilarious and smart.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
1. Vancouver : 1.5 million people and two bridges. You do the math.
2. Your $400,000 Vancouver home is just 5 hours from downtown.
3. You can throw a rock and hit three Starbucks locations.
4. There’s always some sort of deforestation protest going on.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN ALBERTA
1. Big rock between you and B.C.
2. Ottawa who?
3. Tax is 5% instead of the approximately 200% it is for the rest of the country.
4. You can exploit almost any natural resource you can think of.
5. You live in the only province that could actually afford to be its own country.
6. The Americans below you are all in anti-government militia groups.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN SASKATCHEWAN
1. You never run out of wheat.
2. Your province is really easy to draw.
3. You can watch the dog run away from home for hours.
4. People will assume you live on a farm.
5. Daylight savings time? Who the hell needs that!
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN MANITOBA
1. You wake up one morning to find that you suddenly have a beachfront property.
2. Hundreds of huge, horribly frigid lakes.
3. Nothing compares to a wicked Winnipeg winter.
4. You can be an Easterner or a Westerner depending on your mood.
5. You can pass the time watching trucks and barns float by.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN ONTARIO
1. You live in the centre of the universe.
2. Your $400,000 Toronto home is actually a dump.
3. You and you alone decide who will win the federal election.
4. The only province with hard-core American-style crime.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN QUEBEC
1. Racism is socially acceptable.
2. You can take bets with your friends on which English neighbour will move out next.
3. Other provinces basically bribe you to stay in Canada .
4. You can blame all your problems on the “Anglo A*#!%!”
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN NEW BRUNSWICK
1. One way or another, the government gets 98% of your income.
2. You’re poor, but not as poor as the Newfies.
3. No one ever blames anything on New Brunswick .
4. Everybody has a grandfather who runs a lighthouse.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN NOVA SCOTIA
1. Everyone can play the fiddle. The ones who can’t, think they can.
2. You can pretend to have Scottish heritage as an excuse to get drunk and wear a kilt.
3. You are the only reason Anne Murray makes money.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
1. Even though more people live on Vancouver Island , you still got the big, new bridge.
2. You can walk across the province in half an hour.
3. You can drive across the province in two minutes.
4. Everyone has been an extra on “Road to Avonlea.”
5. This is where all those tiny, red potatoes come from.
6. You can confuse ships by turning your porch lights on and off at night.
TOP REASONS TO LIVE IN NEWFOUNDLAND
1. If Quebec separates, you will float off to sea.
2. If you do something stupid, you have a built-in excuse.
3. The workday is about two hours long.
4. It is socially acceptable to wear your hip waders to your wedding.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert FrostNature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Then November came.
It was a gorgeous day today (almost 20!) and he spend the day in the garage working on his Pumpkin Art.
Not a Jack-O-Lantern.
Do you recognize these hands?
Monday, November 02, 2009
I interpreted it as best I could in light of all the filters imposed by my upbringing and culture, which I try to control but you can never do a perfect job.
That doesn't exactly settle it,
but it does give me enough of a platform to build my values and decisions on."