Monday, September 28, 2009

A Lake of Rainbows

On Sunday, September 27th, three intrepid souls hiked 8 kilometres up a 10% grade to Rainbow Lake. After a taking a few photos and eating a quick lunch, they hiked 8 kilometres back down again.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Old Catholic Church

Saint Raphael's Old Catholic Church at 715 East 51st Avenue (at Fraser Street) in Vancouver.

Gifts come in many shapes and sizes. They come in different packaging. Some gifts you aren't expecting. Like the gift I received last Sunday. This gift came through the very sad and sudden passing of one of Joe's uncles.

At his uncle's funeral a few weeks ago, the priest extended an invitation to the mourners to join him at his church the following Sunday. Molly attended that mass with her grandparents, aunts and uncles. She called me the next night saying, "Mom! You and Dad have to come with me to St. Raphael's Church one day. I think you will really like it."

So this morning saw me at mass at the Old Catholic Church with Molly and Paige. I instantly fell in love with the building. It was the same size as the neighbouring houses, painted blue and white. I fell more in love with it when I walked inside. Talk about visual interest! Silk flowers, paintings, stained glass, icons, and crucifixes adorned the sanctuary from floor to ceiling. The pews would hold 50 people on a good day.

Molly warned Paige and I that there would be a lot of kneeling. There was. And the singing was joyful and surprisingly loud from such a small group of parishioners. The bishop (who lives next door) gave a heartfelt homily that was full of hope and goodness. No fire and brimstone to be heard anywhere. I felt so warm and welcomed. But my favourite part of the service happened after the congregation said 'The Lord's Prayer' in English and then people took their turn reciting the prayer in their native tongue. It sounded lovely. It made me wish I could speak another language.

As the church bells rang after mass, the bishops and priests led the procession outside where they greeted each person as they exited the church. The bishop, who hails from Quebec, gave everyone a kiss on each cheek. Molly and Paige introduced themselves as sisters and the bishop asked with a twinkle in his eye, "From the same father?" They replied, "Here's our mother. You'll have to ask her about that." I just laughed and said, "Yes, they look very different, but I can assure you they share the same father."

When the priests were told about our connection to the church through Joe's uncle's funeral, they invited the girls and I to take photos with them. We told them we'd be back. The next time with Joe in tow.

If you'd like to learn more about the 'Old Catholic Church' in general and Saint Raphael's in particular, click here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Snow In Summer

The view from my living room window this morning.

According to the calendar, there are 2 more weeks of summer left. The autumnal equinox isn't even due until September 22nd. And yet this is what greeted me when I opened the living room blinds this morning. SNOW ON THE TANTALUS RANGE! I don't mind when it rains in the summer. But seriously. Snow? As the kids would say "WTF?"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This Is Where I Live

The intrepid hikers tackle Crumpit Woods on a rainy day.

We had planned to hike the Joffre Lakes trail today. To get to the trail head on the Duffy Lake Road, one must drive 2 hours north of here. The hike itself takes about 4-6 hours meandering around three lakes with the Metier Glacier as a backdrop. I was reallllly looking forward to it!

But alas, the weather did not cooperate. At 7:00am the rain was slanting sideways, the trees were bent over and no one in our hiking group was keen to drive 2 hours in the rain to hike 4 hours in the rain, then drive another 2 hours home in the rain.

So we adapted our plans. We met at our place at 8:00am, had several cups of Joe's famous coffee with toast and jam (thanks Colleen) and then hiked 2 hours in and about Crumpit Woods. After baking in the sun and heat all summer, it was surprisingly lovely to be in a wet forest again. To make ourselves feel better about not experiencing the Joffre Lakes, we made up a list of the positive things about hiking on the local trails....
  • our carbon footprint was smaller because we didn't have to drive very far.
  • the fern fronds and vine maple leaves looked beautiful glistening in the rain.
  • the air smelled wonderful.
  • the fungi we saw was fluorescent orange.
  • once we were finished the hike, it wouldn't take us long to get back to our cozy homes for a hot bath and a nap.
We are going to take a look at the long range weather forecasts and pick the next dry Sunday for another attempt at hiking around the Joffre Lakes.

I must acknowledge Sue Shalanski for single-handedly getting me interested in hiking. Sue is a physiotherapist here in town and is currently organizing a '100 Day Wellness Challenge' starting on September 23rd. If you are interested in finding out more about it, please click here.