Category Archives: Society

Thanks For the Conversation

I was out shooting for a photo project today, and as evening approached, I got myself a cold drink and sat down in a public square to ease my feet and back.

As I unwound, an older fellow pushing a four-wheeler came along. He saw me festooned with cameras and began asking questions.

Sigh. . .

Yes, that was my initial reaction, but then I thought, I’m done for the day, what’s it going to hurt to chat for a few minutes.

Wise decision, Paul.

We shook hands and introduced ourselves.

He was a world traveler and raconteur. He was a photography buff, and we began by discussing what made a good photo — good equipment or a good photographer. We agreed on the later. A good start.

We went back in time to the beginnings of photography, and he knew the inventors, and the dates. We talked paper-backed mid-format roll film.

He recommended a few photo shows that he’d seen recently, and panned a couple, too.

Turned out we’d traveled to many of the same places, but a few decades apart. And he’d traveled to lots of interesting places that I’d never been to. It also turned out we’d even done some similar work over the years. This was good!

He asked if I was retired, and I said, no, that I’d been working on a project today. I gave him my business card, and my volunteer streamkeepers card, and his eyes lit up. Turns out he was proud to support environmental causes.

The plaza was taking on a warm orange glow as the sun moved lower in the sky, and he positioned his wheeler, slowly got himself up and behind it, and said he’d better be moving on.

We shook hands again, and he said, “don’t get old, Paul.”

Damn.

Never underestimate your elders.

P.S. Since we’re first-time acquaintances, I’m not going to share his name. But I hope to meet him again some day. . .

Sometimes Alone is Where I Like to Be

For a fairly gregarious fellow, I am happy spending time alone.

I like camping alone. I particularly like camping alone in the off season.

I hate it when I arrive at a campground in May or October, and am one of perhaps a handful of parties occupying five of 200 sites, and the park staff put us all together cheek by jowl. I know it’s less work for the park folks, but dang it, the reason I’m camping soon after the snow melts, or starts to fly, is because I like being alone now and then.

I like rambling alone. Well, my wife is welcome on such activities because she also likes peace and quiet. She’s the kind of gal that you can sprawl out next to on the ground as the campfire crackles nearby, and the two of you gaze up through the towering trees at the stars and. . .

“Wow.”

Yes, “Wow.”

No other words need be said.

I like photographing alone. I’ve never been into photo tours where you have a dozen folks madly clicking away at the same scene. I like to dilly, I like to dally, and then I may just up and trot off to somewhere else if the mood strikes me.

I love going on nature and birding walks with experts, because learning is a passion, but then, I like to go back. . . alone.

I enjoy family, but prefer just a few of us at a time. I find huge reunions and parties overwhelming.

I like to canoe by myself. I know that’s not really recommended for safety reasons, but again, when I’m on the water I like to be alone.

I understand and appreciate the value of teamwork and community, and I’m pretty good at fostering both. But after the work is done, yes, thank you, I’d like to be alone.

I’m even a decent presenter and public speaker, and have no qualms about being on stage in front of a mic, or being interviewed for print, radio, or TV, but then let me curl up with a book.

Shhhhh. . . .

Fraser River Discovery Centre Hosts Indigenous Salmon Fishing, Drying Tours

The Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster, BC, had several tours today sharing First Nations fishing and fish-preserving techniques.

It was interesting learning about the cleaning, filleting, and wind-drying process to preserve salmon, and we got to try our hands out sharpening Indigenous tools.

Fraser River Discovery Centre salmon processing
An exercise sorting cleaning, filleting and wind drying into proper order.


Wind-dried salmon


Sharpening tools


Checking out the BC watersheds map, with a focus on the mighty Fraser River


The protected White Sturgeon


Yep, these massive, ancient (both in terms of time on Earth, and lifespan) fish come from such tiny eggs. Amazing!

Thanks, Baba, for the Embroidery – Still Miss You

One of the themes at the recent Editors Canada 2018 Conference in Saskatoon, SK, was indigenous issues, and several indigenous writers and editors spoke about the importance of “remember where you come from.”

This is where I come from.

Baba Ukrainian embroidery cemetary

An aunt found this embroidery, obviously meant for a Ukrainian men’s shirt, and she thought Baba must have embroidered if for me. So my aunt insisted that I take it, and when Yumi and I later drove up to the family farm, we visited Baba’s grave and I thanked her.

She lived a tough pioneer life for many of her years, and yet she had love and comfort for all.

And in the packet. . . It’s like she just walked away from it minutes ago . . .

Baba's Ukriainian embroidery needles and thread