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View of Burrard Inlet from Point Grey Road Park

Several small park sites line Point Grey Road in Vancouver, from the western end of the street, above Jericho Beach, and heading east, all the way to Trafalgar Street in the Kitsilano district. Thanks to the Vancouver Park Board, and many concerned citizens, these public “mini parks” were created to allow everyone to enjoy the views along the waterfront. If they had not been created, expensive mansions would have lined the whole of Point Grey Road, hiding the water’s edge and preventing people from enjoying the seaside. The “parklets” provide welcome breathing spaces between the existing houses, and are a part of what I call the “Treasures of Vancouver”!

Views from these six parks include English Bay, West Vancouver, the Vancouver city skyline, the Coast Mountains, Stanley Park, and the shoreline.

Looking east towards downtown Vancouver, houses along Point Grey Road
Possibly a Blue Spruce tree—look at all those cones!
The rainbow’s end is adorning “Sleeping Beauty” mountain’s neck:)
We are so blessed to have Bald Eagles living right in our city!
“SEASIDE BIKE ROUTE”, one of the many safe bike routes for cyclists. Well, “safer”, anyway!
“Park-goer” admiring a very old ornamental cherry tree

To sum up, here are the names of six small parks along Point Grey Road:

Jean Beaty Park: 3393 Point Grey Road, at Waterloo Street

Point Grey Road Park: 3215 PGR, just east of Blenheim St.

Volunteer Park: 2855 PGR, at Macdonald St.

Margaret Pigott Park: 2743 PGR, just east of Macdonald St.

Point Grey Park Site at Stephens St.: 2699 PGR, at Stephens St.

Point Grey Park Site at Trafalgar St.: 2601 PGR, at Trafalgar St.

Thought for the day:

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

John Muir (1838-1914) Scottish-American naturalist

One of the “Hidden Treasures of Vancouver” is Cecil Green Park House and College, situated in the northwest corner of the campus at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Here’s a short history:

We visited this beautiful location one day recently, on the last day of summer.

Venerable Oak tree on the grounds of Cecil Green Park

Peek-a-boo view of Cecil Green House

Looking north west, toward Howe Sound and Bowen Island, across Burrard Inlet.

This mysterious “welcoming” sign is actually on Musqueam Nation territory, but the “host” referred to is from the Squamish Nation, across the water from Cecil Green Park. The name on the sign is “Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds. 2007”. Indigenous people have lived in this part of North America for many thousands of years. From “time immemorial”, as they say.

Nearing the end of summer, this glorious tree glows golden in the late afternoon sun. Can anyone name this tree? 😉

Commissioned and designed in 1912 by the architect Samuel Maclure, the structure now known as “Cecil Green House” would have been built with wonderful old growth wood from the surrounding forests. No wonder it’s still so solid!

Too bad the door handle and plaque are missing! But it’s still a striking-looking door, don’t you agree?

And the windows—Wow! Leaded, stained glass. Nice!

Imposing entry-way. I can picture a horse-drawn carriage arriving here:)

Prior to “pandemic times”, wedding receptions and other events were held here at Cecil Green Park House, and will be again, eventually!

Around every corner, another intriguing spot to explore.

Bravely carrying on blooming near summer’s end, a small patch of flowers brightens the end of the driveway.

Fenced-off and guarded by these imposing Cedar trees, Green College lies just to the east of the Guest House. (that’s my long, late-day shadow, wearing my “Outback” hat;)

Heading west along Marine Drive, just a short distance from Cecil Green Park you’ll find the Museum of Anthropology, another great place to visit!

PORTAL: A GATE OR ENTRANCE

Such a lovely word, “portal”! It’s not a word that we hear much, or ever, nowadays. It came to mind when I spotted these rustic gates at one of Vancouver’s community gardens, situated on East Boulevard, next to the Arbutus Greenway. The Greenway replaced the old CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) track line, which stretched all the way from False Creek to the Fraser River. No cars are allowed, only cyclists, walkers and joggers.

The Arbutus Victory Garden runs along the boulevard from West 50th Avenue to West 57th Avenue, and is home to many little private vegetable and flower patches, each one having its own unique gate and fencing.

I’m re-blogging this recent post by Dr. Davidicus Wong, a respected family physician in Burnaby, B.C.

Positive Potential Medicine

There is a growing and alarming complacency in communities across Canada including BC. 

Our self-congratulations and comparisons to the worst case scenarios unfolding in the US is like being a C+ student comparing himself to the kids who are failing. It’s not the time to stop studying, skip classes and start experimenting with drugs.

In recent weeks, we’re already seeing a potential second wave in the pandemic and it’s not just because we have opened more businesses and public facilities. Many individuals have forgotten about the effectiveness – and necessity – of social distancing and are just plain confused about “expanding your bubble.”

Birthday celebrations and other house parties, gathering in large crowded groups, playing contacts sports and meeting up with friends at restaurants and coffee shops without physical distancing or masks are contributing to the accelerated spread of COVID-19 infections in the community.

I have spoken to patients who…

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I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

—Anne Frank

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Senecio “Sunshine” (also called by the genus Brachyglottis)

The above quotation is a favourite of mine, from The Diary of Anne Frank, and the photograph is of a favourite plant, Senecio “Sunshine”, a shrubby perennial which grows well in coastal areas, like the one where we live. I find its bold and bright flowers simply gorgeous! And, can you imagine the young Anne Frank, who for many long months was hiding from those who wanted to imprison her, being wise enough to say, “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains”?

Ladybug

Ladybug on Daisy Bud

Even with the world in its present state of turmoil, I’m noticing that the beauty of nature is still very much with us, if we just take the time to look. In fact, here on the west coast of Canada, plant growth is nothing less than astounding this year. We’ve had cool, damp weather for most of spring, and now into summer as well. Could that be the explanation for all of this exuberant greenery, these prolific displays of flowers? Some of my perennials are twice as tall as usual, and at least twice as “floriferous”!

redroses

Glorious Red Roses! (name unknown)

The above climbing rose received a major pruning from our son-in-law this spring, and, luckily for him, it’s flourishing! (I had my doubts that it would even survive, but I didn’t say anything, thank goodness!;)

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Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus)

These flowers smell so sweet, with a fragrance similar to Carnations or Pinks. They are “biennials” which I planted as seeds the year before last, just by scattering them in a bed with poor soil and part shade. A biennial (which I just now looked up!) is a plant that flowers and dies in the second season after germination, producing only stems, roots, and leaves in the first season. I do hope they will seed themselves for another fine show the year after next!

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Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum x superbum, syn. C. maximum of gardens)

The beautiful simplicity of daisies never ceases to amaze me. Maybe that’s why I chose to include them in my bridal bouquet, many years ago. The Shasta Daisy is a robust perennial, a down-to-earth survivor which outlives many of the more trendy varieties of perennials.

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Lychnis coronaria & Geranium x oxonianum (a Cranesbill)
Both of these sturdy perennials seeded themselves in our boulevard garden! They’ve loved all the rain, and are a constant reminder that nature can take care of herself, if left alone and undisturbed. I’ve been enjoying watching the evolution of these “unfussy” flowers as they grow and change over the summer. And they seem to be enjoying being left alone to grow as they please! The Lychnis was originally pink, but reverted to white with pale pink markings. This Cranesbill may be considered invasive by some gardeners, but I love any plant that’s easy-care and beautiful in the bargain. Being a semi-evergreen, carpeting perennial, it replaces any weeds quite nicely.

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Masterwort (Astrantia major)

And finally, its name suits this clump-forming perennial to a “T”. The Astrantia major has such a strong, straightforward presence, and is another reminder of the resilience and beauty of Mother Nature.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

—Victor Frankl

Years ago, when I was visiting a dying friend in his home, something he said surprised me greatly. Even though he was in pain, and enduring much suffering, he looked out the window onto his back garden and said, “It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?” He turned back to me and smiled. He meant the world, of course, not just his own garden.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

So much beauty we need to look after.

—Charlie Mackesy, in “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”

I agree, Charlie Mackesy, we all need to focus on the good and on the beauty, and we all need to look after Mother Earth, in any small way that we are able to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mandala

Crocheted Mandala

Back before the pandemic struck, when I was still able to go into stores, I came across some beautifully coloured cotton yarn in our neighbourhood yarn shop. Around the same time, I borrowed this crochet pattern book from our local library:

***Mandalas to Crochet, 30 Great Patterns, by Haafner Linssen***

Having been an inveterate crocheter for over fifty years (!), I always have a project on the go. During the current very unsettling and rapidly changing times, I find that creating something can be calming and centering. I chose the “Granny Circle” mandala pattern, based on the good old Granny Square which I love so much.

Here’s a link to my four previous posts on the craft of “Crochet”:

https://joiedusoleil.wordpress.com/?s=crochet

As I’ve written before, crocheting can be quite meditative for me. Gardening comes a close second:)

Mandala: The Sanskrit word for circle.

mandalas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simplicity

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.

—Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

white anemone

Anemone, rescued from a long-since demolished neighbourhood garden.

Anemone nemorosa–Wood Anemone? OR Anemone blanda–Windflower?

Simply beautiful, whatever you choose to name it!

Joie du Soleil’s blog is focussing on three main themes: Beauty, Positivity, and Simplicity.

***PLEASE NOTE!! These blog posts are not meant to be preachy “sermons”, but are merely my own “musings” about life in general. Whatever works!

The two previous posts were about Beauty and Positivity. With today’s post, I will attempt to write a little about the subject of Simplicity. The times we are all living through during the current worldwide pandemic have made me think about what is really important for people, and for Mother Earth. During our social distancing, and with most of our usual daily activities curtailed, I’ve begun to ask myself, “What is most meaningful to me? What is absolutely necessary?” The answers are simple. The bare basics, for me, are ideally as follows:

***AIR (un-polluted)

***WATER (clean and pure)

***FOOD (mostly plant-based)

***PEOPLE (who care for and about each other)

***SHELTER (small, simple, clean, dry, warm, or cool, as needed)

***A HEALTHY BODY (goes without saying!)

***THE MEANS TO AFFORD FOOD, SHELTER & NECESSITIES (just enough, without greed)

And for an “ideal world“, I would add the following:

***A HEALTHY EARTH AND ITS BIOSPHERE

***RESPECT FOR AND CARE OF ALL LIFE ON EARTH

***MEANINGFUL ACTIVITY WHICH HELPS OTHERS & DOES NOT HARM THE EARTH

***HARM NO LIVING THING (at least harm as little as possible)

***LOVE OF NATURE

***CREATIVITY

***SHARING

***COMPASSION

***AND FINALLY, LOVE!

Maybe I’m an idealistic dreamer, but I’m also realistic, and I think that humans have the ability to adapt to new conditions, and to make some much needed, simple, and positive changes in the way we live with the Earth, and with each other. It looks as though we’ll have to! We “Earthlings” are all in this together! It’s taking a pandemic to show us that.

There is a destiny that makes us brothers; none goes his way alone.

All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.

—Edwin Markham, (1852-1940) (from the poem, A Creed–to Mr. David Lubin)

Of course, I would add the word “sisters” to the first line of the above poem.

Here’s one more quotation from Thoreau which might help us all to slow down, and to simplify our lives:

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.

—Henry David Thoreau (“Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”, in Walden, 1854)

I can’t resist one more:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bread

YEAST-FREE BREAD, BAKED YESTERDAY!! Yes, baked by my husband. And does it ever taste great! He even “kneaded” it a little. No bread-making machine for this baker;)

Continuing on with the three themes of this blog: Beauty, Positivity, and Simplicity, this post is focussing on the positive. (The previous post, last month, was on “Beauty”.) World-wide, everyone is facing challenging times right now, to say the least. I’m not even going to name what we’re all going through. There’s more than enough about it in the news, online, and in our day to day lives. I’ve discovered that, for me, it helps to actually focus on the positive, rather than dwelling on the negative. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort.

Baking bread is such a positive, creative endeavor, and since we had run out of bread, and our yeast was outdated, the baker had to get inventive. He used beer and baking powder to get the loaf to rise. It worked! This loaf tastes wonderful toasted, with a bit of honey spread on top. Or, you may prefer it with hummus, or avocado!

Being confined to our homes, except for the occasional out-trip for essentials, seems to promote creativity. I’m also noticing a whole lot of spring cleaning that needs to be done! But, that can wait, because the garden is calling, and the sun is shining today.

Here’s a quotation from one of my favourites, Albert Einstein:

I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.

—Albert Einstein

To help fortify us during the current situation, here are a few more positive quotations:

Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wherefore thou be wise, Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

And finally, the following statement from one of the world’s great artists is meaningful to those of us who are not afraid to admit that we are feeling somewhat afraid at present. That’s OK! It actually takes courage to admit to feeling fear in warranted circumstances! That doesn’t stop us from keeping on with our gardening, painting, baking, knitting, writing, offering help to others, and whatever else we may choose to do:

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.

—Georgia O’Keefe

Here’s where our daughter found the “BEER BREAD” recipe:

http://www.shaneandsimple.com

Easy 5-Ingredient Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Shane and Simple offers all plant-based recipes. Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Beauty Heals

All works of healing are works of beauty, and all beauty heals.

—Matthew Fox

IMG_1058

CROCUSES, a little patch of them bravely appearing in a pot out by the garage, in the back lane. Aren’t they amazing? Tiny “works of beauty”, in amongst the Sedums and last Autumn’s fallen leaves and twigs. And I didn’t do a thing to make them bloom. Some mysterious energy within these old bulbs just knew it was time to send the flowers out into the world again. Spotting them brought a smile to my face.

With our world in such a state these days, we beleaguered humans need to stop and see whatever beauty still exists all around us. This blog aims to focus on “Beauty, Positivity & Simplicity”. And these crocuses seem to be offering all three of those attributes, don’t you agree? I think we could all use some healing! “All beauty heals”.

 

SL White Horse 2

White horse being walked at Southlands, in South Vancouver, on a sunny late winter day.

Today’s quotation: “When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.”

—Minnie Aumonier

And, there is always walking outdoors, in the fresh air! Nature heals. These photographs were taken during a walk in Southlands, a neighbourhood in South Vancouver, bordering on the Fraser River’s North Arm.

boathouse

Rhodos

Early-blooming Rhododendrons, (or are they Azaleas?) and Poplar trees.

sign 1

How gratifying that there are still some wild birds and fish left in Vancouver. Amazing, in such a hugely populated city! We all need to protect whatever life remains on this fragile, (but hopefully resilient) Earth.

water in ditch

Water is precious, even in a ditch!

river trail

I grew up by this river, many moons ago! We rode horses here, and played on the banks of the mighty Fraser River, back in the days when children were allowed to roam more freely than they are today. Little did we realize how lucky we were!

Paul walkingMy favourite walking companion. He knows how to saunter along, while I take photographs (I mean, while I “point & shoot”)!

poplars&bluesky

My Mom always told me to “Look up!” while I was walking. She was right. Can you believe the beauty of this incredibly blue sky?

old bridge

Remnants of an old bridge.

Even after walking in certain areas over and over again, I always discover something new, something never before noticed on these walks. Everything changes, while at the same time the place seems familiar in many ways.

Two of my favourite quotations come to mind:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

—Marcel Proust

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower…

—William Blake

And finally, here’s a great little video about two men who live in New York City, and who both walk every block in that metropolis, discovering new people and new places along the way:

https://video.newyorker.com/watch/why-two-men-are-walking-every-block-in-new-york-city

In case the above link for the Two Men Walking in New York City video doesn’t work for you, here’s the film:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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