Shortly after I came out to British Columbia in early 2006 I had a case of severely high blood pressure. It wouldn't have been fair to an employer for me to work for them until I got my health situation sorted out. I was on medications to lower the blood pressure and it took until early 2007 to find the cause. I finally went to a naturopath who found that a microscopic parasite was the cause for all this.

While getting my health in order, I took up blogging to share my photography. This way I wasn't wasting time and others got to enjoy the photos, not just me and those close to me.

In May of this year I had a mini-stroke cause again by severely high blood pressure. I may end up gong to the naturopath again since the specialist and other MDs can't seem to find the cause. This has only been a problem out here. Before that in Ontario, the blood pressure was only marginally high, not severely high like in BC.

Knowledge is good because being forewarned is forearmed!

All that said, enjoy this blog and all the photos I share with you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rose Garden on Burnaby Mountain

While on Burnaby Mountain, take the time to meander through the rose garden behind the Horizon Restaurant on the western end of the mountain. The art sculptures are also nearby! The view from the top of the mountain (top photo overlooks Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm) is fantastic but the garden has something special to offer as well. Its a great place to view the many roses and other plants or to relax on a bench to admire the blooms or just to meditate.

The photo above and the two below show the climber called "Dortmund", a rose I had in my garden back east with one climber on each side of the back patio. They are very vigorous and repeat flowering.

The roses in the photo above and below are lovely though I can't remember their names for the moment. The notes are hidden somewhere. The latter rose also had a visitor gathering nectar, so its not always bees and butterflies! I hope you have enjoyed this short visit to another wonderful rose garden, this one on Burnaby Mountain. Check it out when you're out this way. Roses are in bloom into the autumn when the nearby Japanese cherry trees have their leaves in colour, yet another sight to see! - Volker

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sculptures on Burnaby Mountain: Kamui Mintara, or "Playground of the Gods" - Part III

Here are a few more photos of the sculptures on Burnaby Mountain followed by one of the moon rising above the mountain near the campus of Simon Fraser University (SMU). - Volker

Sculptures on Burnaby Mountain: Kamui Mintara, or "Playground of the Gods" - Part II

This post is a continuation of the previous one on the sculptures on Burnaby Mountain: Kamui Mintara, or "Playground of the Gods." The view from the western end of the mountain is magnificent any time of the year. The photos in this series were taken in early and mid-February 2008. Above is a view of Capital Hill (foreground) with Stanley Park and Hollyburn Mountain in the background in a winter setting. Then the photo below shows the snow-covered Coast Mountains (looking north), also in early February.

The western part of the mountain has plenty of activity in the winter with snowboarding as just one example. In summer there is plenty of other activity such as picnics, people admiring the flowers in the rosegarden or just taking in the scenery, which is reason enough to visit the mountain. Then the day I went to visit in early February I stayed late to see the sunset and to see the moon coming up from the east plus take in the sight of two bald eagles soaring overhead. I have seen 13 bald eagles so far this year, most of them at Burnaby Mountain with five being the most I've seen at one time!

Part of Kamui Mintara at sunset (Feb) can be seen in the photo above and the series of plaques in front of the sculptures are pictured below. The plaques tell the story behind the symbolism of the work and the connection between the Ainu of Japan and the Gods that brought them into being. So a question comes to mind: Who were these "Gods" and where did the Ainu come from originally??? Decide for yourself!

Kamui Mintara shown above at sunset and a bald eagle soaring overhead seen in the photo below. I only got a few photos of one of the pair though it would have been great to get both in the same shot.

The piece in the photo above is pointing directly at Kushiro, Japan (Hokkaido) across the Pacific Ocean. Note the Ainu word for the region in the name: Hokkaido. Enjoy the photos, and the scenery! - Volker

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sculptures on Burnaby Mountain: Kamui Mintara, or "Playground of the Gods"

The view from the top of Burnaby Mountain is out of this world and perhaps it is fitting that the art sculptures found on the western end of the mountain are called "Kamui Mintara" which translates as "Playground of the Gods." The sculptures resemble totem poles. There are more than a dozen carved poles in the work created by Japanese sculptors Nuburi Toko and his son, Shusei. The cities of Burnaby, British Columbia and Kushiro on the island of Hokkado, Japan are twinned and the sculptures commemorate the goodwill between the two cities. The indiginous people of Hokkaido, and of the entire Japanese islands are the Ainu, a caucasian (white) race. The Ainu refer to the region of Hokkaido as "Kai" and this is how the region has been referred to for over a thousand years by the Ainu and neighbouring peoples. A variation of Kai is Qoy. That the Ainu of northern Japan and the First Nations of British Columbia have similar "totems" makes the twinning of the two cities rather fitting.

The photo above shows the view from western Burnaby Mountain looking west-northwest and the one below looks north up Indian Arm, off Burrard Inlet.

The complete sculptures are shown in the two photos, the one above and the one below.

This element of the sculpture above points to Kushiro, Japan. Below are some close-ups of the art work which include bear, owl and whale "totems." The owl is one of my favourites.

More on the Ainu to follow in a later post. Enjoy the photos and feel free to comment! - Volker

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Views of the water from the seawall: Burrard Inlet

When I made one of my walks of the seawall at Stanley Park a few weeks ago, the tide was coming in. In the top photo the water is flowing away from the camera. If you look closely, you can see the current of the incoming tide. The photo is looking east toward Burnaby with the Coast Mountains to the left (north). Aside from walking the seawall, another great way to see the land and seascape is from the air, such as from the floatplane in the photo below.

Rockweed, a type of seaweed found on rocks along the shore, is common everywhere as seen in the two photos above. Then below you can see a surprise: some minnows swimming amongst the rocks. Unfortunately, I am uncertain of the species but they are more colourful in person than this photo might indicate (i.e. blue and a thin stripe of red perhaps).

Canada geese can be found where ever you look along the water (Burrard Inlet, Lost Lagoon, etc) in Stanley Park and area. The gaggle of geese above is swimming along the shoreline on Burrard Inlet as the tide comes in. Take the time to enjoy and appreciate nature where ever you live. Go for that long, peaceful walk to enjoy all that it offers! - Volker