Here’s Echo Creek, a tributary that joins the Bow River in Banff. You can hire canoes and kayaks here (for a price), or if you’re lucky, other people will do the hiring and then line up for you on the river while a train is passing in front of them, with rugged mountains in the background, all beautifully framed by trees.
I was in Banff for a week on a summer school in climate engineering with a crew of graduate students, faculty and other experts in social, political and scientific issues around geoengineering (or climate engineering). We gathered to ask (answering is more difficult), with great humility and no small amount of trepidation, difficult questions and challenges around if, when and how this such technologies should be used, and to ruminate over the possible need for them as mitigation of climate gases does not proceed nearly fast enough to steer us away from a host of dangerous climatic consequences.
Even the considerable weight of these issues, however, could not dampen the delight of staying for a week in Banff National Park. Fortunately I did have some time for sightseeing. You could scarcely imagine a more beautiful setting for a town, along the Bow River, among tall and imposing peaks. Here’s a view of downtown Banff with Cascade Mountain in the background.
It’s summer, it’s Saturday, it’s the farmers’ market in St Catharines. This day there was also a classic car show downtown, so there was even more people than normal. We had tacos (authentic stuff, not texmex) for breakfast and ice cream for dessert (home made lavender ice cream for me). We like going here to eat good food and browse (and sometimes buy) interesting cheeses and breads. We’re starting to know the people that sell cheese paninis out of a trailer (eight-ten different varieties of cheese in one sandwich — yum!). We like cheese.
Øyvind, my brother, and I in the first digital picture that exists of either of us — Øyvind was just a toddler and I was wearing my favourite trousers (basically overalls). The picture was taken at a multimedia expo my parents took us to when I was little, in 1993. I loved going to expos — they were mind-blowingly huge, with megatonnes of things to explore and free stuff (pens, stickers, lanyards, etc) to be acquired. It was a boy’s dream. We went to several expos when I was that age; car expos, home expos, hobby expos. This picture became a souvenir from one such expo, printed out and given to me. I have now redigitalized it. As you can see, the quality is not great, so I would guess the camera produced pictures in the 400×300 pixels range only. It was the early days of consumer-grade digital imagery.
If you were making a shortlist of idyllic places, you could do worse than including the small village of Holmsbu, sitting in a rural and forested location almost at the tip of the Hurum peninsula. On our way to visit my sister Cecilie and her boyfriend during our trip to Norway last year, I took Jenna on a detour around the Hurum peninsula. We stopped at this exquisitely preserved example of a Norwegian sea-side village, replete with white-painted wooden houses. Today, of course, modernity and money has imported at marina for pleasure craft in the foreground, and monied classes from the larger cities not far away occupy many of houses during the summer season, where once lived fishermen and their families. It’s a lovely place to stop for a bit, have a walk and enjoy the sights.
Looking at our pictures from Norway/Paris last year, you’d think I wasn’t there. This is one of two or three pictures from the entire trip, taken in Holmsbu, a rural little village by the Drammensfjord. More in another post.
Helios wanted to go out and sniff the and the signs of spring (crocuses started sprouting in the flower beds on the first of March) and celebrate the good weather. Well, he didn’t really want to go outside, but he’s getting more used to it. We didn’t stay out long, though, it was still below zero and the little guy isn’t mentally prepared for it . But before he went inside to the safety and warmth of his prison, he got to explore the bushes.
And here is evidence that spring really is here:
Another picture of Emmy, my all-time-favourite Siberian Husky, as content as she can be.
It’s good to be a dog in September — not too warm, not too cold, it’s just right. As she gets older, my parents tell me she’s sadly no longer quite as comfortable in minus 20 Centigrades as she used to be, though whether it is the cold or just the lack of company is hard to tell. Emmy has been an outside dog more than an inside dog all her life; content to be inside for a while, perhaps taking a nap, but suddenly she’ll grow restless and wants to go out again.
Emmy is the Siberian Husky my family got when I was 16, back in 1999. In this picture, taken in September, 2010, she is 11 ½ — an ageing lady. She’s still playful, however, and she loves the w-word (walk — properly, the t-word in Norwegian (‘tur’)).
I could write about the wonders of the Notre Dame cathedral (it really is spectacular, though Europe has other, even more awe-inspiring monuments to men’s greed and enterprise). But what you don’t see on every trip to Paris is a man in front of the Notre Dame with pidgeons climbing all over him, clamouring for food. He was there with his family, just an ordinary man that for a few minutes could have fun entertaining the crowd by doing something out of the ordinary.
Neither plastic nor living, our Christmas Tree this year was a stylized ornament in cast iron; raw and rustic looking. Yet, when supplied with 12 tealights, it managed to bring the perfect balance of stylishness, tradition and coziness. I’d rather have this than a plastic imitation. Christmas accomplished (thanks Jenna :).