rusty rocks




The colour rust seems to have become a theme with my recent photos of sand, water and these rocks, all on Mckenzie Beach on the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island. It’s a favourite colour and of course, I love rocks. The bottom two images of rock faces remind me of rich tapestries from the Middle Ages. Such inspiration from nature!

rust, water, rocks





some of my favourite scenes from the rocky end of McKenzie Beach

rust on sand




odd, lovely rust-toned streaks in the sand on McKenzie Beach near Tofino

We’ve been back home from our Vancouver Island trip for a few days but very busy catching up with home things, including the garden. Spring is at least a month early and too glorious not to be outside enjoying the flowers and budding leaves, even the grass needs cutting.

Now and then I find moments to go over the photos from our lovely stay and try to sort them. We have visited this area on the wild west coast so many times over some two and half decades that some images do reappear many times.

a quick wave




just a few beach scenes from the west side of Vancouver Island where we spent a few glorious days. Poor internet connection there.

Now we are in the Victoria area visiting family, and with a good connection I am able to send a quick wave and hello, dear readers! Lots of photos to come when we get home and I can use my own computer.

glass & rock


sunshine, a glass of water
a round black volcanic rock
a pine table top
play of light and shadow

seeds of oleander



I have grown oleanders for decades and have never seen them go to seed. What a surprise to discover these tiny little gifts. Shall I try see if they will grow new plants? I usually start them from cuttings.

lemon yellow




My first home-grown Meyer lemons, so lovely together with a gift of yellow tulips

news about St. Michael’s


Some readers may recall my posts about our fall 2013 island hopping trip along some of our BC coast, and particularly about Alert Bay where we saw St. Michael’s Indian Residential School. Though that terrible place was eventually closed in 1974, it was left standing as a haunting memorial to those many First Nations children who had lived there.

Now there is news that it will be demolished this month. I only learned this when the reporter requested permission to use my photo for the report in The Prince George Citizen. This has reawakended in me some of those feelings of shock, sadness and horror in seeing it, though nothing like those feelings surely experienced by the families that were affected, so I wish and hope this demolition will bring some peace for them.

Added Feb.15th, 2015: more in CBC/BC News and Global News, the latter with a photo taken in 1970.

Added Feb.19th: Alert Bay residential school survivors gather for the demolition ceremony, in the Globe & Mail, with interesting additional links and video which includes views of the interior of the building.

Plus this heart-rending and heartwarming story and video on The Tyee .

more hellebore


While out and about yesterday, a day that was not under another wave of the Pineapple Express for a change, but bright though cloudy, I spotted some plantings of little hellebore with perky heads, unlike those in my garden with their hanging ones, the kinds you have to lift up to look at their faces.


I even found a fallen or picked blossom, somewhat bruised though it is, to take home and scan. Which do you like better?

I think my favourite scan may still be this one and I do love these macro photos.

Sibelius 150th anniversary


The above is part of a poster about a wonderful event we attended on Sunday (Feb.8th) at the Scandinavian Centre in Burnaby. It was organized and presented by members of our local chapter of The Canadian Friends of Finland. Most interesting and educational was the talk and slide show about Sibelius’ early life, which is generally less well-known. Bob Poutt told us about Glenda Goss, an American musicologist who went to Finland to research Sibelius’ life and music, eventually publishing Sibelius: A Composer’s Life and the Awakening of Finland. She learned Finnish and became a professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Somehow I had missed a lecture by Ms.Goss at the Centre in March, 2013.

Mr. Poutt’s young grandsons acted out delightful scenes of a young Sibelius being interviewed by a reporter, set against a slide show. The audience was charmed.

The Centre’s excellent long-running Runeberg Chorus performed many songs by Sibelius, in English, Finnish and Swedish (Sibelius’ first language). Two wonderful solos were the highlights, Diamond on the March Snow sung by tenor Yasushi Ishimura and Luonnotar by Kaoru Henry, each with glorious visuals on the background screen. Our favourite was the latter thanks to the singer’s professional operatic voice. Luonnotar is based on Finnish mythology, the words coming from the Kalevala. The text is from the first part of the Kalevala and deals with the creation of the world, Luonnotar is the Spirit of Nature and Mother of the Seas.

It was a moving program and a wonderful afternoon of friendship as we were surprised by how many friends were there. Congratulations to all the organizers and performers! I wonder who did the superb visuals for the slide show?

I am so inspired that I hope to get my hands on the book, in fact I put in a purchase request for it at our library. Jean Sibelius was part of a group of many artists, poets and writers who are all Finland’s greatest creators. This 150th Anniversary is being widely celebrated in Finland and beyond with numerous concerts, but only one that we know of here in Vancouver – we must request more.

Of course there are many recordings available for purchase as well as online listening available, such as at Finland’s YLE Radio, where I’ve been slowly enjoying his seven symphonies. The first three highlighted on the page are performances by the Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo and presented in 2006 in Bergen, Norway. Just below these is a link to Symphonies 4 to 7, also by the above except for No. 5 performed in Helsinki. Enjoy!

Yle also has a site Sibelius 150 mostly in Finnish but with some pages in English (scroll down). Even further down is also an audio interview of Glenda Goss in English. (I wish the individual articles were hyperlinked.) I’ve only just discovered this so will be busy reading these articles!

I must also mention an excellent blog which I’ve been enjoying reading for some time. Dust of Hue is devoted entirely to Sibelius, written by a serious and knowledgeable fan who lives in Singapore I think. He has even visited Sibelius’ home Ainola.

Finally, two related posts from my archives: Saariaho and Sibelius (with a photo of Ainola) and Sibelius…the Last Swan.