I must say that the waterfront city of Victoria – the capital of British Columbia – is the most beautiful harbor city I’ve ever seen. Overlooked by impressive stone parliament buildings, the harbor basin is chocked with float-planes, yachts, kayaks, and whale watching boats. The harbor is a water boulevard of action. Add to the unscripted action, a water taxi ballet choreographed to the music of Tchaikovsky, and you have a happening. The water taxis are small and bring to mind amusement park bumper cars. Watching the “silly” little boats do their Blue Angels routine is a lighthearted moment after a day of museum going.
The Royal BC Museum is a must-see. One exhibit explores what constitutes family and a second examines the impact of climate change on the environment, Both exhibits are well worth a visit. Prior to visiting the museum, I photographed a statue of Emily Carr, a noted artist, native-born in 1871. A faithful dog stands at her side and looks at her with adoring eyes. A monkey (dressed to impress in clothing) sits on her shoulder. Seeing the statue, I thought of how pets do indeed constitute family.
And then visiting the exhibit on family, I saw the human/animal concept underscored. This was particularly true looking at the vast array of First Nations’ totems which represent the ancestors and the supernatural beings with which they interacted.
Needless to say, families come and go: babies are born and the “Ancients” pass on.. A year ago, Mark and I bought cemetery plots out at Rosita – a grand site sheltered by pines and next to unoccupied plots owned by neighbors. (Joking that once we two couples are interred, we will meet them for Happy Hour.) Much to our surprise, our – I’ll call it ‘forward thinking’ – has been met with dismay. I think a lot of people conclude that we are depressed or if not depressed, that we are dark. Not so. We are just looking ahead. Not in fear or anticipation, but as the end-game of a life well-lived.
Interactive museum exhibits always grab my attention. In the B.C Royal’s exhibit on family, viewers were asked to write down a kernel of wisdom that they would like to pass on to the next generation. “You are at a point in time. What lessons will be your lasting legacy? What words of wisdom would you like to tell future generations?” Given the prompt, viewers were encouraged to write their comments on a green paper “leaf,” and the museum staff would add their leaf to the “tree” arching overhead. Standing under the “tree,” I felt nurtured by collective wisdom overhead.
Which was good, because the global warming exhibit was bleak. For some minutes I stood in front of a computer that screened a time-lapsed spread of pine beetle over the past 50 years. Driving the Rockies and for Westcliffe folks just driving up the Hardscrabble, you can see that the Pine Beetle has devastated huge swaths of forest in Colorado, but watching the affected area spread, bigger over North America with each successive decade, was a sobering experience – especially since we won’t see temperatures cool or the beetles slowed any time soon.