It had been many years since I crossed into Canada by car. I grew up 60 miles from the Saskachewan border, which was a fairly deserted place. My memories are of stopping and answering a couple of questions and continuing on our way. Did this many times. So when we drove up to Vancouver from Seattle last fall, I was totally unprepared for long lines of vehicles waiting to get into British Columbia at Peace Arch Crossing. However, the scenery soothed the wait. Peace Arch Park, of which the cars are sitting in the middle, has wide expanses of lawn, and people do get out of there cars and stretch their legs. It took 45 minutes of inching our way alongside several lanes of northbound traffic before we were admitted into Canada. Four days later we encountered the same delays going back into the U.S. A week after that, a border guard at the crossing was shot in the line of duty, but not killed. Boy, have times changed.
“Fluent Steps” is poetry in glass that celebrates the many moods of water, seemingly aglitter as it captures the natural light in an outdoor installation at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. The art piece spans the entire length of the 210-foot-long Main Plaza reflecting pool and rises from water level to 15 feet in height and consists of 754 individually hand-sculpted pieces of glass mostly created in 2008 in the Museum’s Hot Shop by glass artist Martin Blank. There are many Dale Chihuly works here, which is what drew us to this museum on our trip to the Pacific Northwest. Go there if you can.
After an 18-year absence from my hometown, I went to Williston, North Dakota to see what the Bakken Boom had done to the place. A visit to our former family farm four miles from town proved you can’t go home again. The place my grandfather bought in 1910 and that remained in our family for 100 years and where I rode horseback growing up is now an industrial site owned by a Houston, Texas oilfield service company. We pulled up to the gate next to this truck bearing the U.S. flag, in all her tattered glory. The site manager walked to the gate, and in his slow Texas drawl, started to ask what we were doing there. When Tom told him this was my family’s farm for 100 years he softened some, but denied us entry. I didn’t need to enter. The land was before my eyes, and so was a huge warehouse-type building and another under construction. My goodness, the changes to my hometown – now the epicenter of the Saudi Arabia of the United States and second only to Texas in oil production. Who knew? My grandfather did. He was part of a venture group that explored for oil there in the 1920s and came up dry. And to think it was right under his wheat field.
The streets in Sarasota’s Burns Court become outrageously colorful works of art during its annual Chalk Festival. People come from near and far to walk along the edges of the works, filing up and down the street. This being the subtropics, I found the gazers to be equally as colorful as the artwork.