Seeing the World

Princess Louise Park (Apr. 27/17)

Sussex has the best all-in-one park I’ve ever seen: Princess Louise Park on Leonard Ave, just off Main Street. There are other recreation areas in town, but PLP puts a whole lot of everything in one place…Canada Day Princess Louise Park photo Jim Stewart

Hanover Horses (Jan. 10, 2017)

Waco Hanover and Donnie MacAdams photo Barbara LivingstonA Facebook share – Waco Hanover celebrates his 40th birthday in 2017. He’s a Standardbred pacer, living in Vermont.

From his name, I knew he was of Hanover Shoe Farms. I’ve read Donald P. Evans’ Hanover: The greatest name in harness racing. It tells the story of a Pennsylvania racing and breeding stable that the Hanover Shoe Company owners started at the turn of the 20th century.

About ten years ago, after reading the book, I read online about Ralph Hanover who won the US pacing Triple Crown in 1983. He was the only Canadian-owned horse to do so…

Christmas Stable (Dec. 21, 2016)

Their stalls are decorated, the horses snugged in. Wintertime at the stable, and Christmas approaching. Stockings soon will be hung on stall doors.Fletcher in decorated stall photo dorothy stewart

The riding students who decorated the stalls will come to the barn on Christmas Eve, so one told me, to have a Christmas party with the horses. They will fill the horses’ stockings and give them their presents…

Dan Patch (Dec. 13, 2016)

Dan Patch was a harness racing horse, a pacer. He was crazy good, they said. 110 years ago, he was the best pacer ever seen. He was a Harness racing Dan Patch Breeder_and_sportsman_mag_1911_wikicommonshuge celebrity in the US, the first multi-million dollar sports superstar.

His story is told in Charles Leerhsen’s 2010 book Crazy Good. You will enjoy it even if you know nothing about harness racing. It’s a story of triumph over adversity, of middle America at the dawn of the automobile age, and of the hucksterism that Americans do so well…

Therapy Visitors (Nov. 2, 2016)

“A woman was here today, a long time. I don’t know who she was. She had a dog. I don’t know if she was lost”

mom and charlie dog 2012My mother told me this one day at her assisted living home. She didn’t have anything she had to do. She had Alzheimer’s. I doubted that this woman and her dog really existed. But to be sure, I asked the nurse if anyone had been to see Mom. “Today is the day the therapy dog comes,” she said…

Horse Show (Aug. 13, 2016)

jamie-waitingA horse show is a great way to spend a day. Sleek horses, adorable ponies and their riders showing their skill. It’s watching beauty in motion.

Today, at Spring Brook Stables near Moncton, I held my breath while watching the ring. Yes, it was the beauty of the horses and riders and all that. But I was watching one horse in particular. Jamie, my favourite school horse, was competing. He did wonderfully…

The Great Benjamin’s Circus (July 13, 2016)

The circus came to town last Friday. The Great Benjamin’s Circus at the Princess Louise Park in Sussex. Catching sight of a circus tent with lights flashing and flags flying – all the ‘adulting’ I was in town to do went right out of the window. Errands would get done, after the circus, whenever…Great Benjamin's Circus tent-plp-sussex-nb-photo-d-stewart

Cuba (Mar. 21, 2016)

In the late 1980s, with one wintry week off, my boyfriend and I decided to go to a resort. We found a last-minute deal in Cuba.

Havana-harbour-D-Stewart-photosOur fellow passengers on the  flight were mostly labour union people. Many had been in Cuba often, on educational tours and seminars as well as vacations at the resort we were going to. The tour company was linked somehow to Ontario unions…

Annabel (Feb. 19, 2016)

Amazon link for Annabel
Amazon link for Annabel

Michael Crummey wrote of Kathleen Winter’s novel Annabel, “a beautiful book, brimming with heart and uncommon wisdom.” That’s on the book jacket. It’s true. This is a beautiful love story – of two young people, a family, friends, and a big land.

It was one of the books chosen for 2014’s Canada Reads on CBC Radio. Despite (or because of) the praise it received, I decided to avoid it at all costs. I’m really glad I didn’t…

Heaven (Jan. 27, 2016)

When my dog Jack died, I believed in heaven. After his burial, my mother-in-law gave me a card with a little story in it. It’s about a Heaven - Doug with Jack in Outer Battery, St. John's 1998man and his dog walking along the afterlife road looking for heaven’s gates. At the beautiful golden and pearl gates with a sign saying Heaven, they’re told “sorry, no dogs allowed.” They continue walking. At a rickety gate in front of a small farm, a sign also says Heaven. The man asks if his dog can come in and is told “Of course he can.” So in they went…

Santa Dogs (Dec. 3, 2015)

Santa Claus parade Poodle waiting to startThe Christmas season, for me, officially begins with the Santa Claus parade. But you have to start feeling festive a bit earlier if you’re going to be in the parade. The St. Thomas Dog Owners Association decided to enter a “float” of dogs in the 2010 St. Thomas Santa Claus Parade. Leo and Charlie were ready with bells on…

Breeders’ Cup (Nov. 2, 2015)

Saturday was Hallowe’en. A big day. This October 31st was a big day for another reason. The Breeders’ Cup Classic horse race and the chance to see something that’s never happened before. It happened.

seeing the world breeders cupWire to wire and breaking the track record time, American Pharoah won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. He won the grand slam this year, the four most prestigious Thoroughbred races in North America…

Fire Muster (Sept. 1, 2015)

The Fire Muster is this coming weekend – Labour Day Saturday and Seeing the World Fire Muster dog showSunday – in Pinafore Park, St. Thomas.  A chance to see fire fighters, fire trucks old and new, classic cars, and dogs.  There are always lots of dogs at the Fire Muster.  On Sunday afternoon, there’s a dog show.  It started as a Dalmatian show, and there are still special prizes for Best Dalmatian and Best Dalmatian ‘wannabe’…

Backyard Birds (Aug. 19, 2015)

bluejay-photo-d-stewartMy knowledge of birds is minimal.  There’s brown ones, speckled ones, starlings, other big black ones, robins, doves, cardinals and jays.  We have all of these in our backyard and I’ve got to know some of them and their little bird sounds.  It’s quite a world…

Ron and Secretariat (July 22, 2015)

Last weekend, my dog and I went to Grand Falls/Grand-Sault in secretariat-and-ron-photo-d-stewartnorthern New Brunswick to see a statue unveiled. It is Ron Turcotte and Secretariat crossing the finish line at the Belmont Stakes in 1973 and thereby winning the Triple Crown…

American Pharoah (June 9, 2015)

american-pharoah-belmontSaturday, I saw something I’ve never seen before: the winning of the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. I hadn’t expected it to happen, but I hoped. American Pharoah made it look easy. It’s not…

Musical Ride II (June 4, 2015)

Cybil
Cybil gets bridle put on by Cpl. Beverly White

The RCMP Musical Ride was in Sussex this week at the Princess Louise Show Centre. Tonight they are in Moncton for a very special ride, to honour the three Mounties killed there one year ago. A lot of emotion for them, one rider told me. (photo gallery) …

Musical Ride (May 27, 2015)

unloading-horse-photo-D-StewartThe RCMP Musical Ride was in Hampton NB last week. The horses stayed at Butternut Stables where I ride. I was there when they arrived and, next day, I ran alongside as they walked from there down Main Street to the soccer field where they performed. Black horses, red serge. Impressive. Imagine them precision riding at top speed…

The Tao of Horses: Review (Mar. 18, 2015)

“If you knew a horse, you could depend on him and if he was going to do something bad, you could depend on him to do that too. I always understood horses better than I did people.“

Lipizzaner performance at John Labatt Centre London Ont Oct 2002This opinion on the staightforwardness of horses is from retired US Captain Thomas Stewart. His story is in The Tao Of Horses: Exploring how horses guide us on our spiritual path by Elizabeth Kaye McCall. At the end of WWII, Capt. Stewart and Dr. Rudolph Lessing, a German army captain and veterinarian, got 200 Lipizzaner stallions and broodmares out of Czechoslovakia before it was given to Russia in the Allied division of territory…

Winter Resort (Feb. 3, 2015)

panorama-from-porchWinter wonderland for skiing, skating and snowshoeing when the mood strikes and the weather is perfect. Nature-made snow sculpturing. Little birds buffeted by wind in their brave search for seeds and suet. Nights with clear skies, millions of stars overhead. Sometimes eyes stream from the cold. Absolute beauty. Makes you glad to be alive just so you can see it…

Coming Home (Oct. 1st, 2013)

Talbot-St-to-east-photo-D-StewartReturning to your home after an absence, you see it differently.  When you leave one home to visit another, you get it both ways.  Going back to Ontario after a year in a new home, I was both visitor and resident simultaneously.  I was surprised St. Thomas looked the same, but how much does anywhere change in one year?…

Hampton Court House (Feb. 6th, 2013)

Hampton-Court-House-5-Feb-2013 D StewartThe 140-year-old Court House in Hampton, New Brunswick has heard its last case.  Court cases for Kings County will now be heard in Saint John.  The town knows a new purpose for the building must be found, something befitting its beauty and its position as centrepiece in the town.  But.

They already have a museum and library.  The building needs extensive refits and, of course, public money is in short supply…

The Christmas Gift (Jan. 2nd, 2013)

This Christmas, I got lots of nice presents but my favourite is a list of stores written on a roll cover listscrap of paper.  It’s about the present that didn’t happen, but not for lack of trying.

My brother and I went to Saint John in mid November.  In the uptown mall, Brunswick Square, the annual Christmas craft fair was happening.  Beautiful objects beautifully displayed.  I said to my brother, “I want to look for knitting or crocheting tables.  I’m looking for a crocheted toilet roll cover.”  “Huh?” he said.  “You know, you used to see them years ago – pretty lady dolls with skirts that covered the roll of paper, or poodles on top, or a hat.”  “Oh, I’ve seen hundreds of those – the Sally Ann, Value Village, anywhere.”…

That Good Night (Oct. 17th, 2012)

I have always loved Dylan Thomas’ exhortation to his dying father:  Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas on cover of poetry bookYes, I thought, “old age should burn and rage at close of day.”  But Dylan Thomas knew something I didn’t, I think, even when he wrote those words.  He was still a young man, but he knew something that becomes apparent with age:  sometimes it’s time to hang up your hat and say goodbye. Evidently, he never showed the poem to his father.  He wrote it for himself – the child pleading to, and for, the father…

House Deconstruction (July 22, 2012)

Three weeks in our new house and slowly it’s coming together. A new house is like a clothes on line and fieldRubik’s Cube: frustratingly impossible to figure out the parts but hit the right one and somehow the rest fall in place.

I haven’t moved in over a decade. That’s too long, I’ve decided. Move every five years so you don’t have time to accumulate too much, or never so that someone else will have to deal with your lifetime’s worth of stuff…

Ponta Delgada (Apr. 25th, 2012)

I’m not a city person, but one city stays in my mind.  Ponta Delgada, capital of Saõ Ponta Delgada city centreMiguel in the Azores: a tiny perfect city.

Having flown into another island, I didn’t see Ponta Delgada until it was time for my flight home.  I fell in love with a beautiful old southern European city – in miniature.  It was April, the weather was perfect.  I had been doing research and thought I might find some “talking heads” to give analytic background.  So I asked around.  Yes…

Interlibrary Loan (Mar. 7th, 2012)

St. Thomas Public Library interlibrary loan slipI wanted a book a while back. The public library didn’t have it and neither did the local bookstore. Did I want to drive to London to look for it? Or order it online?

I checked at the library again to see if maybe they had ordered it or if they’d want it for their collection if I bought it then donated it to them. The librarian said “You can get it through interlibrary loan.”

Oh! So, off to a different desk and my request was put in. A couple days later, the book is in. I looked through it with great excitement, wanting to know what library let me have it. It came from Essex County Library. How miraculous is that!…

Merry Solstice (Dec. 21st, 2011)

Christmas tree with ElsieWhatever the name of the event you’re celebrating, Happy It. The one thing that all the festivities happening at the time of the solstice have in common is that they are celebrations of life and light and sacrifice.

It’s supposed to be a happy time and that is exactly why it often isn’t. One thing that I have always liked, in my jaundiced view of the hype of buying and getting and enforced cheeriness, is giving away. Money, time or stuff – no matter how grinch-like I’ve felt, writing cheques for charity and putting money in the Salvation Army kettles always makes me feel good.

Charities rely on that feeling of goodwill in people. Food banks need the festive season generosity of donors for the bleak months that follow…

North Cape Trail, PEI (Nov. 30th, 2011)

map pei north cape trailWe went to Prince Edward Island in November for “oh, a day or so.”  Just off the bridge, in Gateway Village, an “olde towne” of new buildings with tourist services and shops, we get a map.  We decide to turn left to Summerside and the North Cape Trail around the west coast.  “Then we can do the centre Green Gables Trail then go to Charlottetown.  That’s probably all we’ve got time for,” I said confidently. Three days later, we emerge back at the bridge from the northwest…

Jeep (Nov. 17th, 2011)

Jeep Rubicon grillI got me a Rubicon!  I’ve never had a Jeep, always wanted one.  In my head, I have a list of vehicles, or types of vehicles, that I want at some point in my life.  Big old tough 4 by 4 can now be checked off. It’s my new winter vehicle, used but in good shape…

New England Fall (Nov. 5th, 2011)

Driving to New Brunswick by the American route, trying to pick out roads as the crow flies.  But mountains and forests in the north.   Looking at an out-of-date map, it looks like small roads and moose territory.  So a loop a bit south of where the crow would fly.  Across New York state to southern New Hampshire and go with the crow across Vermont…

Walking in the Woods (Oct. 12th, 2011)

When I moved back to southwestern Ontario, I thought woods walking would be over forforest at Archie Coulter Conservation Area, near Orwell Ontario me and my dog.  Groomed parks maybe, but no acres of forest or meadows.  I was absolutely wrong.

There are lots of places where you can get lost in the wilderness – sometimes literally.  They are called conservation areas, managed yet still wild…

Goderich, Prettiest Town (Aug. 23rd, 2011)

Statue standing by courthouse, Goderich, after tornadoThe slogan of Goderich, on Lake Huron, is “The Prettiest Town in Canada.”  It’s never seemed like hyperbole to me.  Last Sunday, downtown Goderich was slammed by a tornado.  Buildings, trees and vehicles were devastated.  A man was killed…

Going to Graceland (August 17th, 2011)

Thirty-four years ago, Graceland became a memorial shrine.  The day before, August 16th 1977, the King of Rock and Roll had died in it, his home.

Andrea Edison on hood of pink Cadillac at a Memphis hotelDespite liking Elvis, Graceland had never been on my ‘must-see’ list.  But passing through Memphis once, it seemed wrong not to see Elvis’ house.

Even pulling into the parking lot, though, I had quibbles.  “Our money will be going straight to Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s pockets,” I said, “there’s starving children who need this money.”…

Show Jumper (Aug. 10th, 2011)

Coming up fast to the fence, feeling the muscles gather beneath you, crouching low over
Ian-Millar-and-In-Style,-winners-of-the-$25,000-WEF-Challenge-Cup-Round-7the horse’s neck, then springboarding into the air.  Sailing over the rail, touching down on the other side, horse and you regaining balance and cantering on.  The exhilaration of flying.  I did this one time.

I had no business jumping, in fact had no plans to.  I was taking English riding lessons at a large stable…

Fiat Bambino (July 27, 2011)

Fiat 500 with cats, Ponsonby, Auckland NZIf I could possibly justify another teeny-weeny cute car, I’d get the new Fiat 500. I’ve only seen one around here, a silver grey one. I like the tv ads, and I’ve checked them out online since I first heard that Fiat/Chevrolet was going to remake the Bambino.

I was so much hoping they’d do a good job – keep the look and spirit of the original, as BMW did with the MINI. And Fiat, bless their hearts, did. In the 1970s, in New Zealand, I had a 1965 Fiat 500…

The MINI Wave (June 15th, 2011)

MINI toys on MINI roofI’ve noticed something this year, or rather the lack of something. MINI drivers in the London area are not waving at each other. Forest City MINI Club, get the word out – we wave at each other. We are MINI.

Just because MINI now has tv commercials, that does not mean that our cars are just like every other car out there…

Car Music (June 1/11)

Me with my Monza and my dad (r) and Gord Stanford (l)I once had an old Chevy Monza hatchback, a ’75. It came with a banged-in fender that didn’t seem worth fixing. The rest of the body was so rusted that, well, what would be the point? The car was bought as an immediate and probably short-term solution to my previous car dying at a time I had very little money. But I quickly grew to love it…

‘Look at Bingy’:  Alzheimer’s and Distraction (June 8th, 2011)

Frustration is part of Alzheimer’s and other age-related memory loss and dementias – frustration for the person themself and the people caring for or interacting with them. door sign: People in this neighbourhoodOften, an Alzheimer’s person will believe something totally contrary to “reality” – it may be a big thing or a little thing.  But explaining, usually, will get you (the non-Alzheimer’s person) nowhere.  At best, your explanation will be immediately forgotten. At worst, it will create an argument and distress for both parties – really over nothing that can be resolved…

Friday the 13th, Port Dover (May 13th, 2011)

bike and sidecar, with dog, Port DoverBucket list item checked off.  The bikes at Port Dover.  Beautiful weather and the only Friday the 13th in all of 2011.  I was a little nervous about it, I get panicky in crowds.  I figured this was going to be a crowd.  And it was, but there were no humungous knots of humanity that you couldn’t get away from easily…

Royalty (Apr. 26th, 2011)

In June 1983 Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales, came to St. John’s on the Royal Yacht Britannia.  TwoBritannia, at sea in Scotland after decommissioning years before, I had woken up early or stayed up late, can’t remember which, to watch their wedding on television.

I was very excited that they were visiting and couldn’t wait to go to the harbour front to see them.  I didn’t want to go alone – it felt like an event that should be shared with friends.  Turned out the only people I knew who were going were Irish Republican supporters going to protest…

Mabee’s Corners (Apr. 21st, 2011)

Mabee's Corners sign, Norfolk Co. ONMy cousin Lynda Sykes wrote this about her visit to Mabee’s Corners, after reading about my ‘sighting’ of the road sign for it.  She graciously gave me permission to post it.  Lynda is the editor and collaborator of Charles Kipp’s WWII memoir Because We Are Canadians.

Ever since I can remember anything, I remember Grandma telling me many times with great pride how her family came to found Mabee’s Corners, which I vaguely knew was somewhere down around near Tillsonburg…

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (Apr. 7th, 2011)

727 suite, Hotel Costa Verde, Manuel Antonio, Costa RicaIt started with an email I received.  You may have also got it, it’s making the rounds.  A woman turned a jet into a house for only $30,000.  It’s astounding, as is where it’s situated.  I thought, well, you might luck out on beautiful wood and fixtures at the scrap yard.  And just because you didn’t spend much converting it doesn’t mean you don’t have the money to buy ocean-view land in the tropics…

Snow Day (Mar. 23, 2011)

birdfeeder and dog in backyard snowAll the snow had gone, even the mud had started to dry up.  Then bang, last night, a snowstorm.  A mixture of rain, freezing rain and snow making big heavy piles of snow on wires, trees and fences.  Beautiful.  Our backyard late last night.  Today at the dog park, only one other person there with his dogs.  Then Pinafore Park, only a few people there…

Lake Erie, North Shore (Mar. 18, 2011)

Map of Lake Erie coastline, St. Thomas to Port Dover

A few years ago we went east along Lake Erie, as far as Port Dover.  We started in St. Thomas.  It took us four days…

Detailing (Mar. 9, 2011)

German Shepherd in back seat of carSeveral years ago, I bought a two-year old car from a newspaper ad. When I took it for a test drive, I couldn’t believe how clean and nice the inside was. It was like a brand-new car. The young woman selling it was also very neat and tidy. She seemed like the sort that kept a car immaculate.

I had a very large German Shepherd who shed like crazy and liked to get muddy…

Skating on the Canal (Feb. 22nd, 2011)

Low-flying on glass, long swooping strides pushing you along.  Wind at your back propelling you.  Wind coming Rideau Canal skatewayat you, slowing you, your legs pushing forward into its face.  It’s you and the power and glory of winter.  From the National Arts Centre to Carleton University.  It’s skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

I never learned to skate when I was a kid.  I spent my very first years and my early teen years in a small Ontario village where the arena was the centre of town…

Resort Towns (Feb. 2, 2011)

Brighton, in December, although still a fairly bustling city, bore little relation to Brighton in June or August.  Jury often felt there were few things bleaker than a seaside town in winter.

– Martha Grimes 2002, A Richard Jury Novel, The Blue Last

Port Stanley, on lake ice bank Jan 1, 2011I usually agree with Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury on everything, but not this one.  You could call summer resort towns bleak in winter, but it’s a beautiful bleakness.  I like summer resort towns much better in their off-season.  They can also be lovely in their season.  Sun, sand, fun – that’s why we go.  But, for me, too many of us go…

Seeing the world the Alzheimer’s way (Jan. 25, 2011)

walking down a hallwayWith Alzheimer’s, how is space and time perceived within your head?  Take walking 20 yards down a hallway, from your room to the dining room.  Halfway through, you can’t remember where you’re going.  How can you not remember what takes maybe a minute to do, even at a walker-assisted pace?

I got a clue from something my husband said when we were trying to puzzle this out.  “Well, when you’re a little kid, a hallway can seem enormously long.  Then when you see it as an adult you realize it’s not at all.”  I said “yeah, but kids are little so they walk slow.”…

A Charity of Your Choice (Jan. 14th, 2011)

Charity address labels, asking for moneyWhen making funeral arrangements, it’s common to think of a charity to which the deceased person would like memorial donations to go. It’s a nice way of remembering somebody and lasts longer than flowers. Unfortunately, what also lasts longer than flowers, even perhaps the benefit of your donation itself, are the solicitations in the mail that you will continue to receive from the deceased person’s charity of choice…

New Year’s Eve at the Harbourfront (Dec. 31st, 2010)

boats in harbour at sunsetThe most wonderful place I ever spent New Year’s Eve was the waterfront in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  The tradition started, according to CBC, in the 1960s with one family going to the harbour front.  In the 1980s, when I first went, it was still just a small group of people, mainly those who lived downtown.  You’d leave the bars about 11 pm and walk to the harbour.  And wait…

The Boat House, Laugharne (Dec. 17th, 2010)

portrait of Dylan Thomas by Augustus JohnWhen I was in high school, I discovered the beauty of Dylan Thomas’ writings.  I first read Under Milk Wood and then moved on to his poetry.  In community college, I was lucky enough to get an English teacher who let me pick my own course content.  I picked Dylan Thomas and read everything he wrote and everything about him.

So much later, when I was in Wales for a few days, I wanted to find the places of Dylan Thomas…

Portugal and Eco:  The Knights Templar Castle, Tomar (Oct. 29th, 2010)

Archways at Knights Templar Castle, Tomar PortugalWhen vacationing in the Azores, my reading was Humberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.  It was my introduction to the Knights Templar and I fell in love.  I was going on to Portugal, and Tomar with its Templar Castle was on my itinerary, come hell or high water.  I met a friend in Oporto, and after a few days in that amazingly beautiful city, we headed south, with a stop in Tomar planned.

Driving fast because we’d got away late and wanted to get to Tomar before nightfall.  Driving through the city of Coimbra, with its ancient university – no time to stop, gotta get to Tomar…

Seeing the World:  Introduction

Taj Mahal and KimThe Taj Mahal, glorious in front of you, and you alone.  Freedom to stand and stare at its beauty.  No crowds disturbing your contemplation. This must be a major hit on the bucket list.  And it happened to Kim, a friend of mine.  That’s her and the Taj Mahal in this picture.

Her picture is what started me thinking about the imagined and the real, the sought-out and the accidental in tourism. It illustrates the convergence of all those in a perfect moment, perfectly captured.

We all have places we want to see, things we hope to do in our lifetime.  Some are a shared cultural consciousness; the wonders of the world, places significant for their beauty or history.  Others are particular to ourselves; ancestral homelands, places related to our interests.

With luck, we each will see and do some of what is on our ‘bucket list’ – those on the cultural Greatest Hits list and those meaningful to ourselves. But sometimes the ‘big ticket’ site is not the one that stands out in memory in a good way.  I’d love to see the Mona Lisa, but standing in the middle of a crowd peering over shoulders and getting jostled by busloads of tourists isn’t the way I want to do it.  But it quite likely would be the reality.  That’s why my friend’s picture of the Taj Mahal struck me as so wonderful.  never thought such solitude would be possible.

What often are as, or more, memorable are the misses and the unsought hits.  An unplanned stop or side road taken might give you a big ticket memory by accident. And, if somehow you miss the big item site when you’re on your way to see it, that in itself will be an indelible memory.

Things you do are also significant.  Maybe you only do it once, but it’s enough.  Maybe you miss an opportunity – that might be ok, might not. Time changes what you want or feel able to do. Nothing wrong with that, as long I suppose as you understand why you didn’t and come to terms with it.

I can imagine the rush bungee-jumping gives you.  I also can’t imagine it, it’s impossible unless you’ve felt it.  Older and maybe wiser, I can imagine too clearly all the things that could go wrong.  Hitting head-first into rock is just as vivid an image as is the ‘whee’ of flying through the air.  So bungee-jumping will remain in the unchecked column of ‘things to do in my lifetime’.  I wish I’d done it when I wasn’t ‘wiser’.

And a good concept with a horrible sounding name – staycations.  Practical reasons are touted by local tourism agencies – save gas, keep your money in your own economy.  Probably the best reason is simply that many of us really don’t know our own area.  I’ve had visitors tell me about neat places and bits of history about a town I’ve Ann's Snack Bar, painting by Clark McDougalllived in for years.  But you never have time, or you think ‘oh, one day I’ll go in there’, or you just plain don’t think about it.

The artist Clark McDougall created a body of work from urban and rural scenes within easy bicycling distance of his St. Thomas home.  His work as a travelling artist consists of a trip to Buffalo, New York.  That’s ‘staycationing’ at a whole new level.

In this section also is the geography, maybe archeology, of the mind. At different ages and stages, we see the same thing differently. Time and space depends on the season of the year and of our life.

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2 thoughts on “Seeing the World”

  1. Hey! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to find this. Jim had a connection to your blog on his FBook page and I rediscovered you! I love this. But…my favourite travel moment was driving through Beijing in early November. It was dusk and the snow was coming lightly down. We passed the Forbidden City and, in the early evening light, with the big snow flakes falling lightly…and the soft light coming out from inside the Forbidden City…it just is a moment forever etched in my mind. But…the Taj moment is big.

    I hope all is well. I’ve had a very crazy year so far… I have a little package of various dog notecards for you but have been waiting to send with a letter. Promise to do that soon.

    love Kim

    1. Hi Kim, glad you like it. I’m sorry! I thought I’d told you I’d put your picture up. Yeah, that moment you talk about with the Forbidden City sounds pretty impressive too. I had a driving moment like that coming into Louisville on a big highway at dusk in fog. And all of a sudden, there were the lights of Churchill Downs!! I cried. Not the same history and drama as the Forbidden City and China, I know, but still – it’s etched in my mind. Anyway, glad you found this, and nice to hear from you.

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Newfoundland Mi'kmaq, family history, Coronation Street, etc.