Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quote for the day

Songs are thoughts sung out with breath when people are moved by great forces and ordinary speech is no longer enough.
-- Orpingalik, recorded by Knud Rasmussen

Monday, October 10, 2011

Heureux d'action de grâces!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kitsilano Beach Park, Vancouver

UBC Farm harvest; image source here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Haida canoe: living icon of 10,000 year-old culture

'The Everything Canoe'
The Tyee: Dug out of a single log, carved into a distinctive shape and steamed open to become a seaworthy vessel, the Haida canoe is connected to the forests, the ocean, supernatural beings, great voyages, war, trade, feasts and potlatches of the island archipelago of Haida Gwaii.. The Haida Gwaii Museum's recent publication, Gina Waadluxan Tluu: the Everything Canoe, was designed as a resource... bringing the rich history of Haida culture into school curriculums...

From the elders: "Canoes were part of everyday life... Everywhere they went was by canoe -- from the winter village to the different gathering grounds... They would follow the seasons... The islands' goods were bought and sold by canoe... The canoe shaped Haida expressions of welcome and agreement: "In Old Haida, when they said 'I agree with you,' they [used the word meaning] 'crew.'...One might say, 'I'm going to be your crew, get on with you.'"

Guujaaw, master carver and current Haida Nation president, worked on one of three canoes commissioned by the Skidegate Band Council in 2006... Guujaaw was also instrumental in helping Bill Reid create the initial 24-foot canoe that led to the creation of the Loo Taas... "It is important to know that the supernatural world is not in the past, but with us today. The more you experience the action and the way [the canoe] handles in the water, then the more you start to believe it."..

Several journeys have been made by Haida canoe in recent memory, including the return to Loo Taas to Haida Gwaii after Expo 86. But as Captain Gold explains... "Making that craft and that skill had to be relearned all over again."
Image: Torch relay in the Loo Taas ('water eater'); source here.

Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis preaching to the birds and animals.
Image source here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quote for the day

The Inuit word meaning 'to make poetry' is the same as the word for 'to breathe,' and both derive from the word for 'the soul.'

-- Jonathan A. Vance, A History of Canadian Culture

Thursday, September 29, 2011

for Michaelmas

Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, honours the greatest of all the archangels, the principal angelic warrior, who defeated Lucifer in the war in heaven. In some traditions this day is the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, including Gabriel, the messenger and Raphael, the healer. Michael is protector against the dark of night, administrator of cosmic intelligence, guardian of souls.

Saint Michael, protect us.
Image source here.

Today also is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, first of the High Holy 'Days of Awe,' representing the creation of the world. The Day of Judgment and remembrance, it begins the time of our repentance, to be sealed on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, holiest day of the year. May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life and sealed to live.
Image source here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Canada's reputation #1

Canada has best reputation in the world

Vancouver Sun: Canada has the best reputation in the world, says a study measuring public perceptions of 50 countries around the world... The Reputation Institute study measures the trust, esteem, admiration and good feelings the public holds towards 50 countries, as well as perceptions of peoples' quality of life, safety and attention to the environment.

Results from 42,000 respondents worldwide ranked Sweden next, followed by Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand... The countries scored high for their steady democracies, high economic output per capita, focus on active lifestyles, well developed political systems and perceived neutrality to international political upheavals.
Image source here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poem for the day

for Terence Brown
Seeing the bags of meal passed hand to hand
In close-up by the aid workers, and soldiers
Firing over the mob, I was braced again

With a grip on two sack corners,
Two packed wads of grain I'd worked to lugs
To give me purchase, ready for the heave --

The eye-to-eye, one-two, one-two upswing
On to the trailer, then the stoop and drag and drain
Of the next lift. Nothing surpassed

That quick unburdening, backbreak's truest payback;
A letting go which will not come again.
Or it will once. And for all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toward the Equinox

Spring and Fall
to a Young Child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed;
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Books are our friends VI

Pie de Amigo (Foot of Friend) by Miler Lagos: 'An arc of stacked architecture books with one pencil placed in the leaves of each book that, if removed, would cause the whole piece to tumble.'

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Feathers in amber: birds and dinosaurs

Amber cache reveals feathered dinosaurs, birds shared habitat

The Canadian Press: An ancient deposit of amber from southern Alberta has revealed that birds with feathers not that different from their modern descendants shared habitat with dinosaurs still sporting the most primitive of plumages.

'We've got two ends of the evolutionary-developmental model co-occuring,' said University of Alberta paleontolgist Ryan McKellar, co-author of a paper on the Medicine Hat amber deposit in the journal Science... The amber deposit is from the last days of the dinosaurs [the Cretaceous period] between 78 and 79 million years ago.

Scientists have long known that some dinosaurs had simple feathers. Most of the evidence for that comes from fossils discovered in China. But those proto-feathers have been crushed into a thin film by the weight of millennia. In Alberta, however, the tiny filaments from both dinosaur and bird feathers... are so well-preserved that researchers can even guess what colour they were.

More images here:
Wired Science: 'These simple feathers clearly had nothing to do with flight, and probably had everything to do with thermal regulation. They were essentially a feather homologue of fur,' said paleontologist Alex Wolfe of the University of Alberta, a co-author of the new study.
Image source here.