A River Flows Through Our Lives

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We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

My father often spoke of Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden; or Life in the Woods. As we celebrate Easter today and Earth Day tomorrow, I am reminded that nature conspires to bestow a peaceful grace upon humanity and all who share our world

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Psalm 96:11-12

I find great joy in the memories of conversations with my father. I share his profound belief in our need to be fully engaged within nature. Like Thoreau, he recognized that heaven was “under our feet as well as over our heads”

A River Flows Through Our Lives from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Cherry Blossoms Welcome April

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“Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.”
Matsuo Bashō

The cherry blossoms grace our lane ways and gardens, welcoming April, the month that was, in ancient Rome, sacred to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. April is the month that gave us Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and, more recently, Wangari Maathai, Maya Angelou and Ella Fitzgerald.  There is a warmth in the chill of an April evening, perfect for the beginning of journeys as immortalized in Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales.

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
Kobayashi Issa

For me, April has always been about cherry blossoms.  Vancouver is renowned for our approximately 50,000 cherry trees, which flower in varying shades of pink and white.  Every year, we hold a Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.

“In the cherry blossom’s shade
there’s no such thing
as a stranger.”
Kobayashi Issa

The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower that has given birth to hanami, a century-old custom that is said to have its origins in the Nara period (710-794) which simply means flower viewing.  Families and friends gather under the canopy of flowering cherry trees to share a meal and gaze up at the delicate white and pink against a pristine sky of blue. Nighttime brings out the paper lanterns that people carefully place in the trees to add a spectacular illumination, which highlights the profound idea of the ephemeral nature of life. The blossoms come for a moment to bestow a graceful elegance,  covering pathways with petals, then, slipping away with the silent promise to return the next year.

So, my dear friends, I invite you to join me under the canopy of a Vancouver cherry tree.

Cherry Blossoms from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

 

“Cherry blossoms – lights of years past.”
Matsuo Bashō

World Water Day – Leaving No One Behind

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March 22, 2019 celebrated World Water Day, which is the annual UN observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.  I am writing this on March 23, 2019 to reaffirm my commitment to participate in this important dialogue.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, water is your human right.

Water Day 2019 – This year’s call to action is to leave no one behind:

Sustainable Development Goal 6 is crystal clear: water for all by 2030. By definition, this means leaving no one behind. But today, billions of people are still living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggling to survive and thrive.

Living Water Smart provides the B.C. Government’s vision for sustainable water stewardship and sets the direction for changes to water management and water use. These changes are crucial for adapting to climate change impacts and the pressures placed on water resources from a growing population and economy.

Water from Rebecca Budd aka ClanmotherA

The Future is Now

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We received the City of Vancouver’s notice a few weeks ago in the mail.

There would be lane closure on West 1st Avenue to support a public event to be held between February 18 – March 3, 2019.  ELA was coming to our city.

This past week, Vancouver hosted a free Autonomous Shuttle Demonstration.

ELA, the diminutive of ELectronic Automation, is the future of transportation. Vancouver and Surrey are the first in Canada to have this demonstration. According to local news sources, “ELA…is manufactured by EasyMile, a leading autonomous manufacturer that has deployed driverless shuttles in over 20 countries across Asia-Pacific, the Middle-East, North America, and Europe. The shuttles use a combination of sensors, video cameras, and computers to understand their surrounding.”

 

Battery Life: up to 14 hours.
Speed: up to 40km per hour
Powered by: Electricity
Capacity: Maximum 12 people per shuttle.

Sleek and confident – those were my first thoughts when I encountered ELA on my walk down 1st Avenue.    In a time of unprecedented discussion on climate change, Vancouver is following on their commitment to Greenest City Action Plans.

The Future is now! Are we ready?

The Future is Now from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

 

Driverless vehicles are anticipated to eliminate one of the leading contributors to collisions – human error,” says City of Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “By piloting them on these corridors, we can learn more about how they can be used throughout the region to improve safety, reduce congestion, and create safer, greener, healthier, more connected communities. In Surrey and Vancouver we believe that together, we are leading the way and setting the standard for other cities in Canada to follow for smart mobility.”

 

Freedom in the Delay

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Vancouver Seawall Winter 2019

Whenever anyone brings up the subject of procrastination, they invariably give a nod to Mark Twain who stated with his usual clarity and generous humour:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” …

Those poor frogs!

Procrastination is simply the action of delaying or postponing.

We know how not to procrastinate.  In fact, there are books written to help us through the trials and tribulations of avoidance.  I have read books on de-cluttering, time management, setting priorities – all are filled with marvelous vignettes and stories that give that exuberant promise that once I make a list, and dramatically cross off completed tasks, I will be liberated.

Living a productive life is a noble goal with great outcomes. Lists allow us to measure our performance, and perhaps stave off the dread of procrastination.

What if we looked at procrastination a different way?

What if we stopped the tasks, took a moment to simply be in the moment, and allow our mind to gather strength and resilience?  Perhaps what we consider urgent, may not be important. Perhaps a delay or postponement is the best course of action.

Maybe those frogs should be allowed freedom.

And with that thought, I invite you to share a walk along the Vancouver Seawall, just as the sun is setting.  Take a deep breath and leave your lists to another day.

 

Winter Sunset from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Celebrating International Wetlands Day

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“I believe you should try to help your community if you’re fortunate enough to have that opportunity. I think you should leave something behind.”

John E. Poole (1917-2007)

Today is World Wetlands Day. I am celebrating by remembering a day in October 2017 when I walked along the interpretative trail and boardwalk of the John E. Poole Wetlands near St. Albert, Alberta.

The air was pure Alberta, Canada.

The snow had not yet arrived but there was the unmistakable hint of the cold winter that would soon blanket the area. Vancouver is surrounded by the majesty of mountains, but Edmonton and St. Albert are encircled by a big sky that goes on to an infinite horizon.

John Poole died in his 90th year, suddenly and peacefully on January 22, 2007, after a joyous family birthday celebration. Thirty years before in 1977, he sold his construction company to its employees, which is now known as PCL Construction. The company continues to be 100 percent owned by employee shareholders across Canada, the United States, and Australia.

John Poole devoted his retirement years to philanthropy and was beloved for his knowledge, creativity and humanity. In 2009, Ducks Unlimited and PCL Construction announced the creation of the John E. Poole Conservation Fund to help preserve wetlands throughout the province.

World Wetlands Day is held annually on February 2nd, to commemorate the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands called the Ramsar Convention on February 2, 1971. The Convention is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

The John E. Poole Wetland is a call to action. The preservation of our wetlands is safeguarding life on our planet. Wetlands are biologically diverse ecosystems that provide habitat for many species, serve as buffers on the coast against storms and flooding, and naturally filter water by breaking down or transforming harmful pollutants.

This is our time, our watch – may we celebrate our wetlands by seeking environmental solutions in our daily lives. We can make a difference.

Join me in walking the John E. Poole Wetland:

My dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley, were celebrating World Wetland Day too! We belong to a compassionate blogging community that spans the globe!
https://fabfourblog.com/2019/02/01/world-wetland-day/