Sunday, February 18, 2007

Between Two Pasts and Two Places

On a bike ride this week I stopped by a cemetery I had never noticed before and took a small set of photos. It's a weird one, with graves not particularly well kept and arranged at random in certain areas. Despite an epic spot overlooking the lake, there's no grass or trees to beautify it -- this is not one of those park-like cemeteries.

One corner has a only infant graves, made even more depressing by the obvious neglect and lack of care in putting the graves in to begin with. One was unmarked, and some had a homebuilt feel with simple, rough concrete. The one pictured here had a sort of plaster headstone that had deteriorated so much that you could barely make out the year 1943 on it. Some momentos and gifts were scattered around, like this tiny trumpet in the dirt.

It was a reflective stop. One thing that struck me immediately was this perception that graves have an inherent permanence, marking our spot and storing our bones for a posterity we think will last hundreds of years. Maybe we even think we'll be remembered better when our names, dates and scattered words are etched in marble.

In this cemetery, graves in some rows were obviously deteriorating, and most weren't more than 50 or 70 years old. Has it only taken a few generations for these memorials to be forgetten? Have the people's lives they represent been forgotten too?

The second impression I had there took longer to emerge, but it was much heavier when it hit me. It was very simple: I realized that these were not my ancestors. The implication was to know that the history and landscape of this place aren't really mine, either. I'm basically a tourist here, disconnected from my own dead, my own history, and my own landscapes.

I can visit the graves of my ancestors in the prairies and try to connect my extended history to the present in some abstract way, but that makes me feel like a tourist there. I'm already disconnected from that past and place, creating a sort of limbo that I hadn't thought about enough.

I've already adopted this landscape and I'm creating my own history here, but I had to acknowledge that it might take generations to be known and remembered (and eventually forgotten) in this place.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Kid Pics

Seems like I've gotten away from the same old photos of the girls. Time for a return to mundane blogging!

Monday, February 12, 2007

February Weather

After the longest "real" winter I've had in 11 years here -- meaning continuous snow and temps below freezing from late November to the end of January -- it's been warm since the groundhog saw his shadow. The snow is disappearing fast. Good riddance, I say.

I've been riding on the roads in anticipation of trails opening, including a 26km slog up to the Garnett Valley Dam on my trusty townie that unfortunately included slush and mud for at least six kilometers close to the reservoir, but I was just happy to be spinning pedals.

Mom and Dad took us out for my delayed birthday supper at Shaughnessy's after my ride, and the Hildebrands joined us later for a heap of Mom's obscenely good eclairs. Friday night was Ivy's first school dance. Seriously. I'm having a hard time seeing her as five when she seems 13 most of the time.

Feb. 16th Update: Really, nothing could be more dull than the weather, but I keep these things around because it helps me compare from year to year when I look back through the archives. Today felt like the first real day of spring, with a warm south breeze, sunshine, and CBC (and our thermometer in the shade) saying 12 degrees. At the end of summer that would feel awfully cool, but the girls were frolicking outside it their t-shirts like birds just freed from their cages.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Go Big or Go Home

I'm celebrating my mid-30s by acknowledging that my sense of personal fashion is almost exactly my lifetime (34 years) behind actual style trends.

Friday, February 09, 2007


It's maybe not the best interface, but I've been hoping someone would create a mashup of Google Maps and something that lets you trace your route on a map to show the distance traveled -- could be really cool for making trail maps, too: MapShuttle.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Peachland Fog

I stopped by Peachland on my way home from the office yesterday to pick up a loaf of my favourite bread in the world, then wandered down to the lake with my camera. Very quiet, calm and foggy -- good for the soul. A bald eagle flew right over me, but I was too slow on the draw to get a decent shot of him. Anyway, a few scenic pics with subtle greys and wintery tones:

Monday, February 05, 2007

Late January Weekend

I was miserable last week and into my birthday weekend -- sicker than I've been in years. So I never got around to posting a few pics from the previous weekend when we hosted our landlord and good friend Bill. Good times here, and it wasn't too weird for him to be staying as a guest in his own house. We had a gorgeous afternoon session at Sunoka that yielded some excellent photos:

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Rocky Knoll

I've discovered little rocky knoll a mile or two away from our place that offers wonderful views and an interesting little ecosystem. Over the last couple of weeks I spent some time there with the camera and captured a little bit of that special spot:

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Top Travel Destinations

Pearl tipped me off to this one this morning: Frommer's Top Travel Destinations for 2007. Short little blurbs make for fun travel dreaming, and it's cool to see the Okanagan make a global list:
"This lush region of British Columbia, dubbed by some as "Napa North" or "the Tuscany of Canada", boasts a mild climate, with rolling hills and plentiful fruits, nuts and grapes. Vineyards are the big business now -- with more than 120 in the region, it is an ideal place for wine tasting. As in Napa, the topography and climate of Okanagan Valley make it a great place for hiking, kayaking, and biking (bike tours will even take you from winery to winery)."