summer :: simply pulchritudinous

Despite last week’s post, it is still officially summer. So here’s a salute to some favourite summer moments from a couple of years ago.

Disclaimer :: I cannot imagine summer without flowers. So this post contains a number of flower images. ūüôā

001 Steveston

collage above: some moments at Steveston Village, Richmond BC

 

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Slideshow images are from Burnaby, Vancouver, Steveston Village (Richmond) and Fraser River Estuary. All captured in the summer of 2011

‚óÜ previously published August 1, 2011 ‚óÜ

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Seagull Story :: becoming a Big Bird, part 2

Continued from part 1
 
The next day….
the next day
 
Brilliant sunshine greeted the next day, so we went for a refreshing walk along the beach. Before heading back to our cabin, we spent some time enjoying the beauty of a now much calmer ocean from a bench with my favourite view.
 

And as we were admiring the incredible ocean view before us, the story of the little seagull who was growing up continued immediately behind us.
 
the saga continues

Mom was still persistently encouraging Junior to become independent, yet stayed close by. Wherever Mom went, Junior continued to follow, right and left, and right and left yet again. And while following, Junior consistently kept that neck pulled in, and was crying and crying and crying….

Back and forth…. and forth and back…
 
following, and crying - back and forth
 
Mom kept ahead of Junior, sometimes picking up the pace a notch, and other times hesitating, and then dodging again. And the crying continued…. How long would this go on?

And then, without warning, Mom flew away.
 

a measure of independence
 
Junior was alone, and a transformation began to take place. The crying ceased at once, and that pulled-in neck suddenly became extended to full length…. Except for the mottled colouring of the feathers, this was looking a grown-up bird.
 

Independence is not so bad

It turned out that being independent was actually not so bad. Not only did the crying cease, but Junior began to take on an interest in life and began to check things out.
 

shortlived independence

It would turn out to be a shortlived independence, however. Within less than an hour, Mom returned. Junior became aware of her presence, and the crying resumed once again.
 glad that you are back
 

Junior joined her immediately. Mom seemed to acknowledge Junior’s presence. And as for Junior, that neck was pulled right back in, and the crying resumed.
 

Missed you!

Missed you!


 

For a few moments, Mom appeared to indulge Junior’s proximity and the renewed crying.
 

the patience of a mother

the patience of a mother


 

And then Mom began walking with a renewed determination, while the skies above began to cloud over again.

Junior was barely able to keep up to Mom, and with a pulled-in neck continued to cry and cry…. the patience of the Mom was incredible to watch. Yet, as the mom’s patience continued, the persistent dependence of Junior appeared to be just as indominatable. How would this story end?

Suddenly Junior was alone again.
 

on my own
 
Where did Mom go?

mama seagull
 
Mom had flown onto one of the picnic tables once again, leaving Junior behind on the ground below. Had I known what was to happen next, I would have kept my eyes glued on Junior.
 

I glew up here all by myself

I flew up here all by myself


 

Suddenly, before I realized it, Junior had somehow managed to get onto the picnic table under Mom’s watchful eye from the table next door. I am so sorry I missed it. There was Junior, neck somewhat extended, checking things out to the right and to the left from a whole new vantage point, and surprisingly, there was no crying sound to be heard.
 

Life looks grand from up here!

Life looks grand from up here!


 

I clicked a few times, and then continued to watch Junior. And then, once again before my camera was ready, Junior took the awkward plunge and jumped/dove/flew/stumbled off the table, landing in an undignified but otherwise completely intact heap on the ground below. Junior could fly!

And the forlorn-sounding, incessant crying had finally ceased. At that point, the Mom must have been satisfied that Junior was able to manage without her. Never saw the two of them together again. Junior was a big bird now!
 

Epilogue
A few days later, on another incredibly sunny day, we spent time on a beach a few miles south of our cabin. After yet another one of those refreshing walks, breathing in the salt air, and hearing the constant roar of the ocean, and watching the untiring surf pound on the beach again and again, we sat on some logs, admiring the oceanview while it was still before us. Soon our vacation would be over, and we would be heading back home to regular routines, far from the rugged beauty of the open ocean.

Suddenly I noticed a neighbour beside me. A juvenile seagull who was able to fly quite well had elected to perch on my log, and sat but two feet away from me, with legs tucked underneath, looking completely relaxed in the afternoon sunshine, not unlike a cat appears when all four paws are comfortably folded away beneath its body.

There we sat in close proximity for a few minutes. Not wanting to spoil the moment, I did not reach for my camera. All that could be heard was the roar of the ocean surf. The young gull looked out at the ocean, and we did not move a muscle as we watched it.

But when, after some time, it hopped to the log in front of me, neck pulled in a bit, I captured this image. And still it stood there for a few more of one of those timeless moments that the ocean affords so generously.
 
epilogue
 

Was it the same seagull who had been growing up just outside our cabin door a few miles further north? I really don’t know, because this little one never answered that question. But it is nice to think that perhaps it was.

Seagull Story, part 2
 

‚óÜ originally posted February 2, 2008 ‚óÜ

Seagull Story :: Becoming a Big Bird, part 1

A seagull flies effortlessly along the shoreline. The skill of flying is not mastered overnight, however.

And with those¬†opening words originally published early in February 2008,¬†I found myself¬†recalling a unique¬†tale of growing up that I had been privileged¬†to observe¬†several months earlier during a¬†road trip to Vancouver Island’s Pacific West Coast in October 2007 mentioned in the last post.¬† Easily one of my favourite places to visit, I was especially thrilled to have with me my first ever digital camera.¬†

While there, what started out being some random captures of two seagulls, soon grew into the story of the little seagull that could, a story which began to unfold itself quite unexpectedly. Images were captured firstly by guess and intuition, because I was without the user manual, and secondly by default, simply because my camera usually happened to be at the right place at the right time. Usually. And where it was missing in action, the storyline will hopefully fill in the gaps.

These are some of the first images my camera captured. And while the quality of some of them may be less than ideal, they are included nonetheless, since they, too, document the story of my photojourney. The original appeared as one publication, however because of its length, will appear in two episodes here.

So here is part one – Seagull Story :: Becoming A Big Bird. Enjoy!
 


 

How it all began….

A seagull flies effortlessly along the shoreline. The skill of flying is not¬† mastered overnight, however. This image was captured while on a vacation in¬†October 2007, a few days after having been privileged to witness the process of¬†a young bird in a very key stage of growing up. Starring in the story were a¬†juvenile seagull, and an incredibly patient mother who rather effortlessly and¬†calmly was part of the maturing process of her youngster. This all happened during the course of a few days against the magnificent backdrop of Vancouver Island’s Pacific¬†West¬† Coast, beginning with an incredible storm and ending in days of brilliant¬†sunshine.

I did not even know what was happening as I was watching the two birds, but they fascinated me, and my camera was with me, so I captured images from time to time. Not until the story had unfolded did I realize what I had  been observing, and then I was thrilled to have the images to document the story of a young bird that was about to learn how to fly.

And it is now my great pleasure and privilege to share the story here as I saw it happen. Where my¬†camera was not always at the ready, the storyline¬†will hopefully fill in the gaps. Growing up does not happen overnight, nor does it¬†take place easily in isolation. As it turns out, a patient caregiver and mentor is able to¬†contribute much to facilitate the process.  

October Storm 

It was the second day of our¬†October¬†vacation. The morning began with quite a wind, yet¬†we still went for a walk along the beach. The surf was incredibly rough, and¬†not too many surfers were venturing out. In fact, in the words of a surfer who¬†came by, the waves were “scary big”. The storm continued to brew, and soon after we returned from our walk, it had become quite the sight. How it churned out on the open ocean, and the wind charged almost visibly at the surf, whipping mercilessly at the waves and hurtling salty mist towards the shore in haphazard, non-stop gusts. Have never witnessed¬†such an amazing¬†storm.

A sign was posted by the beach access trail. “EXTREME HIGH TIDES    Beach & Trail Access Closed”, it said. In all the years that I have spent a fall vacation here, I have never known the¬†beach to be closed before.

Soon after the sign was posted, the storm was no longer just brewing. It was definitely going full throttle. The waves were being whipped up to heights of 6 Р8 meters (up to about 25 feet). It was a full-blown winter storm come early, and it howled and raged.

More than a Storm

Since the beach was closed, we spent some time watching the storm from the shelter of our cabin which faced the ocean, enjoying the comforts of a fireplace and some fresh, hot tea.

Yet¬†we ended up watching more than a storm. A full-sized juvenile seagull, still grey in colour, was growing up right¬†before our eyes. It turned out that the mother seagull was encouraging Junior to try out the perfectly-developed wings, to grow up and become independent. The proverbial ‘apron strings’¬†were being loosened, even¬†as we watched.

Here is Junior, full-sized, but not yet grown up, still not able to fly. And crying non-stop.

Mom was right there, aware of Junior’s presence, and seemed nonplussed by all the crying. She stayed close by, and alternated between sitting on one of the picnic tables outside and joining Junior on the ground below. And the whole time, Junior’s cries were incessant.

The ocean was but a few meters away, with incredibly huge waves hammering the beach as the blustery winds continued.

However the storm did not seem to be the cause of Junior’s stress, whose focus instead was on Mom. Crying piteously, Junior waited for Mom below when she had hopped onto a picnic table, or plodded after her whenever she rejoined her little one on the ground below.
 
mom & junior
 
And that crying always took place with a neck that was pulled in, making the young bird seem much smaller than it really was.
 

End of the Storm

Finally, the storm subsided. Mom and Junior ended up taking shelter somewhere, and we did not see them for the remainder of the evening. Clouds raced across the sky as blown by the wind. The sun was about to set, and day was done.

to be continued in Part 2

‚óÜ originally posted February 2, 2008 ‚óÜ