Saturday, July 30, 2016

Aug 2016

My home beyond the veil...
The history of bridges is rife stories of the drive for communication and expansion. In 1911 my mother was being being born in NYC, home to over 2,000 bridges and tunnels... lots of expansive talking going on then and there. At the same time in Toronto citizens were trying to decide whether to build a bridge across the Don River to further their own expansive conversations. Referenda were held each year from 1910 til 1913, with residents voting against its construction in 1912 by 59 votes and finally in favour in 1913 by 9236 votes.

Known officially as the Prince Edward Viaduct, today we mostly now call it the Bloor Viaduct. It's part of a set of three bridges: this big one crosses the Don River (and now the DVP and the train tracks and the Bayview Extension plus a well-used bike path), then there's the bridge that crosses the Rosedale ravine and the other that connects the original terminus of Bloor Street to the Rosedale section.

The three-bridge system was designed by Toronto architect Edmund W. Burke. He also designed Trinity-St. Paul's United Church and the Robert Simpson's Department Store building, now home to The Bay and most recently Sak's Fifth Avenue. Time marches, eh?

But back to the Viaduct. Because it was second only to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in attracting suicides, in 2003 a barrier of steel rods was added to shield would-be jumpers. The barrier was designed by architect Dereck Revington and is called the Luminous Veil. Yes, it is. And last year lights were finally added to the veil so it glows in colour at night. Yes, it does.

Edmond Burke's bridges opened in 1918 and just a few months ago a great little pub bearing his name opened near the big bridge and its enlightened veil... and just around the corner from my home in the sky.

You can see that home beyond the veil here... it's that tall building in the background with some lights on, but not mine, because I was standing on the Prince Edward Viaduct taking this picture for you.
If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.

                                    ~Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 2016

Blueberries now and remembered...

Soon after arriving in Canada, we lived in a hidden part of North Vancouver, BC, called Deep Cove. Our backyard there was a mass of brambles and vines. Indeed our yard was a tangle of blueberries and salmonberries with a few raspberries dotted here and there. We spent our first spring clearing paths so we could gather our bounty... and the rest of our time there trying to maintain those paths against nature's rampant power.

Turns out we had some serious competition for our berries. As the last house on a street at the foot of Mt. Seymour, we were a part of The Wild. Visitors included countless raccoons of course, but the most dramatic visitors were bears. We could always tell when they were around because the neighbours' dogs went wild. Guess bears are really smelly. Like our neighbours, we kept our garbage secure in our basement, but those berries! Bears loved our berries... and they loved our easy-access pathways. They came in the night. We never saw them in person, but those barking dogs warned us to stay indoors. We always saw evidence the next day... and those bushes kept creating more berries for all of us.

Many years later, driving on Salt Spring Island, we stopped and picked berries on the sides of the roads. I wondered then, if bears shared those bushes, too.

Now, I get my berries from the grocery store... and when I'm lucky, local markets.

I always think about the bears... and how generations of both our species keep sharing our treasures.
Thank you to David's sister Annie, for this perfect pic of your yummy Portland picks.
This month, I invite you to let all your berry feasts
remind you of the bears—and Kurt Vonnegut's urging:
      . . .  please notice when you are happy,
       And exclaim or murmur or think at some point,

      If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.