Wildlife, and flower counting on the Island

Many of you have no doubt viewed in 2007 the Eagle webcam at Hornby Island, waiting for the Bald Eagles’ eggs to hatch. They never did. However our determined Eagle watcher says the Eagles are back in the nest and he has a gut feeling this year they might succeed at having chicks.

We were privileged to meet the fellow, Doug Carrick, at his home on Hornby (the eagle nest is beside his property), courtesy of a friend, Beverly, who also lives on Hornby Island. Doug also keeps a record of the whales that come by.
He showed us a video of the nest, very high up in the tree.
Now why do we bring up the topic of Bald Eagles? First, they’re not bald! They have lots of white plumage on their heads and necks; whoever named them first, I guess from a distance they looked bald.
We mentioned in an earlier post about those two Baldies turning “Rambo” and who destroyed many nests and chased the herons, making over 100 homeless, Thank You, out of the treetops here at beautiful Beacon Hill Park. So now they have that realm all for themselves. But, hold on! They also refuse to let other Baldies build a nest next to theirs.

This brings us to our local wildlife story. For on the rooftop of our ten-storey apartment building (we’re on the 7th floor), right here on the Pacific coast at Juan de Fuca Strait, we have a happy pair of Bald Eagles which have made this spot their base.
We often watch them going for breakfast at dawn, returning with a good catch. To the consternation of the seagulls and crows. How about that? Having a pair of Baldies right above our heads!


Put Artists in Charge of the Economy?


In an earlier post we mentioned artist Emily Carr, now a Canadian icon but who in her lifetime was mocked and ostracized.
She was treated ‘less than a dog’. In that post we talked about a proposed bronze statue, life-size. Now it’s almost completed. A site at the Fairmont Empress Hotel (another landmark here in Victoria) has been chosen for her.
We’ll come back to this topic of recognizing artists, when the statue arrives. Let it be known, however, that anyone who wishes to see work by Emily Carr needs to travel across the Strait of Georgia, to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
That’s where most of her works are located. Somewhere maybe there are documents giving instructions that after her passing, she did not want any of her work at the Art Gallery of Victoria?
Long after the critics, administrators and politicians have gone, good and great art survives. And indeed artists often function as ambassadors for the nation of the artist’s birth (more often when they’re dead.).

Now, with the current global economic meltdown (as it is called), we came across this item:  "Put Artists in Charge?"
“I’d like to make a modest proposal”, writes Liz Lerman. “Put the corporate executives to work as artists while the artists run Wall Street. Some of the advantages:
-Artists work ridiculous hours for no pay. And most of the artists I know will keep working until they get the job done right.
-Artists do not need fancy offices. In fact, they usually work in the worst part of town.
-Artists do not need financial incentives. Artists do the work they do because they love it. Or because they believe in it.
-Artists do not expect to get anything if they do a bad job. Except maybe a bad review.
-Artists keep very tight budgets.” 

This is something yours truly knows all about, i.e. tightening the belt, dire economic living and what goes with it, having stood in line during wintertime at soup kitchens of the Salvation Army in Toronto. Also salvaging T-bone steaks and other food items discarded in bins by the owners of homes where I was a part-time gardener (and planter of tulip bulbs). All to sustain my urge to paint.


Believing or Experiencing

My approach to life is doing, putting things to the test. (Not ‘blind belief’). Experience it yourself.  Everyone has their so-called truth. Believing, on a larger scale, belongs in a way to tradition and its rituals, which use symbols.
If you cannot experience something directly, then the next best thing is to seek someone who has, or a reliable source: Who speaks about what.

For instance, when the late Jacques Cousteau talked about the Oceans, he was a good source on that subject to learn from. Same with astronauts who have been in Space.

Whatever we believe, it will stick. Just look at all the religions, the problems, wars, atrocities and horrors, caused for a couple of thousand years, just by “believing”. And it's still going on, today!  Believing 'What'?

Thirty years ago, in September, I was in Singapore and guest at a garden banquet of a fellow Circumnavigator Club member, a wealthy businessman. It was a celebration of the harvest Full Moon Festival. The garden was decorated with colourful Chinese lanterns. Halfway through dinner, the Moon suddenly rose on the horizon, so big and near, you felt you could reach out and touch it.

One of the banquet servers, wearing a white uniform, prostrated himself on the grass in honour of the Moon. When he got up, and came to our table, I said, “Isn’t it amazing to realize we humans have walked on the Moon?”

“No, no”, he said, “All Hollywood fantasy and lies. We have not been there, it’s all pretence.” So what is one going to do or say? For him, the Moon was sacred as evidenced by his prostration on the grass.