Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: on Mt. Seymour

on Mt. Seymour






"Opa" took the granddaughters up to the mountain for some sledding and captured some striking photographs which he's allowing me to share here. I love that clean bright snow, those moody skies and that beady-eyed raven hoping for a snack.

You may remember my photos from a visit up there in 2011.

Marja-Leena | 19/02/2013 | 16 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Home



Nice that children's Opa took them for sledge run! You remember that we have for the carnival week Tuesday the day for going down on hills, laskiainen? Which I take to mean the last fun on the way down to fasting (paasto). And at the end of the day for kids, everybody gets to eat pea soup and pan cakes? I wonder if your parents kept old habits over there. But many Finns did.

Interesting that your husband uses the name Opa. My brother is also Opa and her wife Oma. They chose the calling names for the grandchildren simply because they thought they already have a grandma and grandpa (mummi ja pappa). And my sister-in-law (käly) has been living and working in Germany in her study years.

Our names are for my husband Grandpa and for me just Marjatta.

To add yet about our winter: the first day with sun shine for weeks, maybe even months. It's been darkest winter here for 25 years.

Marjatta, I do remember the day of pea soup and pancakes, called Shrove Tuesday here, but not the sledding part. We haven't kept up that tradition. It was natural for my husband, being German, to be called Opa and I the Finnish Mummi. Those are very easy for young children to say, and different also from their English grandparents' names.

I've read about your dark winter, made more so by cloudier days. What joy to have sunshine. We haven't had many sunny days here either and we haven't had the snow to brighten things except on the mountains.

When I first looked through the pictures I thought it was you who'd been up there riding the sled back down. I was even a bit concerned when I saw what looks like a steep drop with the mountain mist and snow in the background. I'm glad it was your grandchildren on the real sled run instead. I bet they had a wonderful time.

I like the terms Opa and Oma for grandparents, Mummi too. Being English, my grandmother and my mother were both called Nanna.

ps: He's a beautiful raven, isn't he?

I love love love that raven!

Susan, no, I didn't go up this time. The girls sure did enjoy it. I think short names for grandparents are good for little children. Nanna is easy. Ukki was the Finnish name used by our children for my father and my mother was Mummi. If they'd lived long enough to meet their great-grandchildren, I wonder what they would have been called?

Yes, that raven is a handsome character indeed, Susan and Hattie! They can be scary sometimes in my experience. I can understand why they are revered in the First Nations mythologies and old European tales.

Marja-Leena & al

Yes, and ravens can learn to talk the same way as parrots do. Apparently understanding what they say, not just "aping".

I have heard that lately ravens have come to cities after the leftovers from people. I hope they stay alive after that diet!

Opa takes good pictures! I especially like the roiling mist and the raven...

My parents waited for the first child to choose their names, and they ended up as G'ndaddy and Mamama. Not bad. I had a friend who was Gungie.

Marjatta, I've heard that about ravens too. It seems that we often underestimate the cleverness of the creatures in the animal and bird world. And yes, our messes do impact on them greatly, sigh.

Marly, yes, he is an excellent photographer and I've learned a lot from him, only becoming a more serious one myself much later in life, partly thanks to digital cameras.

Such amusing names for your parents! Do your children still use them?

Yes, they do. My father died several years ago, but they still use that name for him. And Mamama is still Mamama. For a while, my middle child called her Granmamama...

Marly, that is sweet and loving!

Speaking of weather - it's suddenly very cold and rainy here. At daybreak I noticed wet snow on the deck and skylight, gone quickly but there's still some slush mix in all that rain. Brr.

Poor Raven looks cold. My sympathies next time you see him,

Joe, it seems to me that ravens can tolerate even colder temperatures. I'm recalling one time when we were driving through the Rocky Mountains, south of Jasper, Alberta. It was late fall, very cold with snow and ice on the ground where we made a stop near a well-known viewpoint over some majestic lakes. Some hikers told us it was too dangerous to walk down there. While having a sandwich by our car before driving on, several huge aggressive ravens came by, attempting to steal our food. We left rather quickly!

If they need food around mild Vancouver, I'm sure they can find plenty below the snow line. If I see one, I will be sure to pass on your sympathies. Only once have I seen them around our yard, scaring off the resident crows. Do you have them in your area, Joe?

The Raven is probably giving sledding advice. I recently watched a program on pbs Nature that followed a team of scientists. They were trying to prove that young ravens "learned" from their parents. The results of the study indicated that raven families do indeed pass on knowledge to the next generation. Wonderful photo! Wonderful trip with Opapa!!

Rouchswalwe, that program reminds me of a similar one we'd seen on crows. 'Opapa' is cute, I think the girls would love that, thanks!

Stunning photos! I especially like that red fence (?) floating in misty wintry space - it's like one of those beautiful Chinese paintings in ink and wash. And the raven standing on diamonds...brilliant!

Natalie, yes, thanks to Fred, they are stunning. That red "fence" is a plastic mesh that is commonly used as a temporary snow fence, to catch blowing drifting snow from going onto paths or roads. It is very common along the edges of Canada's highways in the winter, especially on the prairies. I really love this for being such an iconic image from our youth, and you are right it does look like a Chinese painting.