Had to make a quick trip to Calgary this morning. This is what Alberta is looking like at the moment.
28 January 2010
27 January 2010
A night at the Asulkan with Mike, Norm, Annie. Sparkling clear night. Pink sunrise. Up to Young's Peak in the morning, via one hell of a boot pack up the headwall. Then skied the Seven Steps of Paradise and boogied on out of there in time for a 4pm meeting.
21 January 2010
The Olympic torch came through town tonight. It was a spectacle worth checking out. I, along with many others in this province, have mixed feelings about the Olympics. I love the athleticism, the sportsmanship, the internationality of it all. But I'm not so big on the unchecked spending of public funds, the displacement of people that don't fit with the 'look' of Vancouver, and the excessive commercialization of the whole scene.
The torch tonight was lead by an offensively loud Coca-Cola truck, with people shouting into microphones and tossing Coke trinkets into the crowd. It was kind of gross.
But at the core of the event were some torch-bearers that were beyond enthusiastic, a community of supporters that was easily charged up, and a local history of international athleticism that continues to inspire. Sid Feuz, one of the original Swiss guides to settle in this area, was the man of the hour. He is my new favorite Goldenite.
19 January 2010
Remember this little blog post about burger joints and the importance of knowing them well? It was almost exactly two years ago that I started the search for the best burger in this town. As it turns out, that burger happens to be in my house.
The man knows how to make a damn fine burger. I'd eat them every night if that idea didn't make me ill on principle. Sometimes he puts curry in the patties. Sometimes he puts bacon and cheddar and mushrooms on top. Sometimes he serves kale on the side. No other burger joint in town can compete.
02 January 2010
We brought in the new year with masked dancing the other night. I had found a beautiful feather mask at a rummage sale last spring, and therefore escaped the pressures of creating a mask masterpiece for the evening. I knew I would need it eventually. Others pulled out all the stops, and the artwork on faces was inspiring. Any party that warrants a craft night in preparation is okay in my book.
01 January 2010
I woke up a bit bleary eyed this morning. I threw the curtains open to let in the light of a new year, and there outside my window was an immense flock of starlings. It felt like a very powerful moment, one that I didn't know quite what to do with. So I tried to take a picture. But by then they were mostly gone. One flew away and then a hundred flew away, and I watched them swoop and shift and dance in the sky across the street.
I got online to see what kind of message I should take from these starlings that I've seen around our neighborhood before. I've always enjoyed watching the way the group moves, so it was kind of an honor to see them so close, as if they had chosen me as their audience.
As you might guess, there are any number of symbolic interpretations of starlings. First I checked Wikipedia for some background on the birds, and I liked these bits:
Starlings have strong feet, their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious.
Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to embed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms, and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls, and are currently the subject of research into the evolution of human language.
Then I found myself on some kind of Wiccan site where I saw this. I decided to try another search phrase after reading it.
Starlings are considered murderous, and are an ill omen in flocks.
The next site I found had this to say, which I liked. It rang true enough, since I had woken up on the first morning of a new year to the birds.
Starlings are messengers from the spirit realms. They actually are a wake-up call and reminder that changes in situations are coming. Usually for the better. They signal the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one.
And lastly, I came across this book, Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small by Ted Andrews. He talks about the lessons in group behavior that starlings can reveal. They show us both the good and the evil of group behavior. The good includes solidarity, communication, and strength. The evil is evidenced in the starlings' occasional mobbing of other birds.
Andrews suggests that if starlings have shown up in your life, you should reflect on your approach to group situations, to community, to communication and sensitivity to the words of others. I will be doing just that.