Wednesday, April 26, 2017
I love to have a destination for my walks and this was a different route from one I usually take. I'll start at the end so you can enjoy the whimsy of these swings. It is impossible not to smile as the movement of the swings creates music. I sat a while and pumped my legs - the real pleasure comes when more than one swing moves. Click and listen.
Walking on a sunny spring day is energy-boosting. These sun-soaked flowers started me off on my trajectory.
My final destination was actually the Belgo building, which at one time was a department store and then served as small factories for the garment business. The first time I was in the building many years ago you could smell the furs which were being cut and sewn into coats, hats and other wearables. Now the majority of spaces are rented out to art galleries and studios. The study group on Aboriginal art was meeting there to see an exhibit.
On the way I passed St. James United Church (above). As I don't pass by here I often, I still get surprised by the open square in front of the church. For most of my life the front was obscured by store fronts which were removed in 2006. Now the church has a presence.
I took a little detour and walked up to John F Kennedy Blvd and St. Urbain. I liked the way this building used the corner.
This church, St. John the Evangelist, is known as the red-roofed church for obvious reasons. I have been to a few concerts there. They also host St. Michael's Mission, which provides support, food, shower facilities,.. particularly to homeless men.
This is the seventh year that the swings have been set up here in the Quartier des Spectacles. The 21 swings are a creation of Daily tous les jours, in collaboration with animal behaviourist Luc-Alain Giraldeau from UQAM and Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, who composed the score of this fun installation. (from http://www.quartierdesspectacles.com/en/activity/8811/21-balancoires-21-swings#newsletter). Each swing emits a different note and, apparently at night they also emit colours. What a delightful place to stop a while!
Saturday, April 22, 2017
I couldn't live in a place that did not have a change of seasons. In spring each day brings surprises as growth and change is so rapid. Where one day a lawn looks tired and sepia-coloured, the next it is covered with leaves and then next with tiny blue flowers. Scylla always delight me; they pop up where they will, never staying within the constraints of a garden.
Daffodils show their sunny faces. These hardy plants can endure the spring frosts and occasional snow.
In sheltered spots the flowers arrive sooner with heady-smelling hyacinth sharing a spot with these daffodils.
It has been a very rainy April with temperatures going up and down. Many people are craving a bit of sunshine as are these flowers, heads down, waiting for the sunshine to perk them up.
There has been flooding in a number of communities as the rain and melting ice in rivers combine to raise water levels. We are heading for the rainiest April on record, which apparently may lead to the most mosquitoey months ahead. Here's hoping for a couple of weeks of sunshine ahead.
Friday, April 14, 2017
I spent my last full day in California with my two friends going through the gardens at the Huntington. Funny how so many years can dissolve and friendships pick up where they left off. It was wonderful to renew our connections, to share our interests, to realize that what sparked our friendship so long ago was as valid today.
We strolled, chatted and enjoyed the beauty around us (here in the Japanese garden) and ate lunch together - even ordering the same meals.
Here is a taste of what we saw.
I think this is a cormorant. He stood watching.
Then he started to shake its gullet - I saw a programme about herons who do that in hot climates to cool down. Perhaps this bird was doing the same thing.
We wandered through the rose garden.
Beauty comes in many colours.
Along with promises for the future.
Friendship renewed. The bonds of friendship are a mystery - those connections that were strong can last. And now we have to find ways to nurture them into the future despite our distant homes.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
We spent a delightful afternoon at the Getty Museum. It is located on one of the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains. I was captivated by the architecture and the use of the setting. Architect, Richard Meier, did a fabulous job of mixing buildings, plazas, gardens and incredible views.
It is a mix of curves and straight lines and it takes advantage of natural lighting, even in the galleries.
The plazas feature fountains and sculpture and the swaths of windows reflect back other aspects of the site.
The buildings are faced with travertine stone - smooth in some areas and very rough in others. And everywhere are these incredible views.
Despite the number of people who were on the site, there were still quiet, contemplative areas to be found.
At times, the architecture provided natural frames through which to view the city below - creating a living piece of art.
I loved the combination of curves and squares and the lines.
Lines and shadows - always making new patterns.
I had to keep stopping to enjoy the architecture
The gardens echoed the curves and lines.
And everywhere people enjoyed the art, the architecture and the grounds.
Sometimes the people looked like art installations...
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Coming from Montreal where local produce this time of year means greenhouse grown tomatoes, I ogled at all the fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmer's market in Los Angeles.
We are not deprived in the winter. I grew up with tinned fruit and vegetables in the winter and iceberg lettuce. Now everything is plentiful, but it is trucked in or flown in and is never quite as fresh as what was on display here.
The colours and shapes were a feast for the eyes, to say nothing about the feast they could provide for the body.
Even simple vegetables looked fresh and appealing
Sunday, April 9, 2017
From Twentynine Palms we drove across the mountains to the coast, to Los Angeles. The drive was spectacular with bright yellow fields of wild flowers to mountain sides also covered with blossoms. We passed through an enormous wind farm - good to see the growth of renewable energy. The winds were certainly blowing and the turbines were in motion.
One of the main reasons for this trip was so I could see two friends from summer camp whom I had not seen in over forty years. Both of them had moved to Los Angeles. It was wonderful to reconnect!
A must for us northerners is a walk on the beach - always something to notice and always the sound of the waves.
We could see sailboats on the horizon.
On the shore, the waves splashed against the breakwaters.
This marbled gotwit also took advantage of the beach, strutting in and out of the water.
I had to go hunting on the internet to find out the name of the bird.
Many were taking advantage of the lovely weather - not quite warm enough for swimming, but definitely warm enough to enjoy a walk, a sit and the sound of the sea.
And for me - after a long white winter, time to enjoy the colourful flowers.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
We spent part of a day in Joshua Tree National Park, located in the Mojave Desert, planning to go back later to catch the night skies.
A number of the Joshua Trees had flowers - nothing exotic, but fun to see.
We missed the height of the blooms in the desert, but were still treated to some of the flowering.
Yellows glowed under the blue skies.
The rock formations were as intriguing as the plants. This one is known as Skull Rock
This hooded creature intrigued me.
And the way life can take root in what seem to be hostile places
This felt to me like someone's leg trying to push free of the rock - forever trapped.
The Joshua trees were everywhere - I learned that you cannot tell their age when they are cut down. It is a member of the yucca family and instead of growth rings it has thousands of small fibres.
These plants survive in very arid conditions. This year there was a good rainfall in the winter.
A road in the park took us up to views of a series of mountains. The snow covered peak one of the San Bernardino mountains.
Even up here a Joshua tree manages to take hold.
As for our plans of returning to see the night skies... The winds whipped up and I received an alert on my cell phone
We travelled as far as a restaurant for dinner - with winds gusting. Local visibility wasn't bad, but the skies were somewhat obscured.