The Eyes of the Sun

Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun….

But Mama …. that’s where the fun is….

If you don’t feel like going back in time for a whole seven minutes, you can advance the toggle to the 4:48 point and hear the famous lines that Mama told Manfred Mann.

With the total eclipse of the sun taking place tomorrow, Monday, August 21st, warnings have been everywhere about not looking at the sun, even if you think it feels okay. Those rays will still burn. “Your eyes blaze out” should just be a fun expression, not a medical emergency that becomes a permanent condition.

I’ve heard all about the special glasses you can buy – don’t be tempted just to use sunglasses. That won’t do the trick. You can also put a tiny hole in a piece of cardboard and watch the eclipse happening as a silhouette on the ground.

Somehow it doesn’t seem enough, but as tempting as it is, I won’t look into the sun to be blinded forever.

I read somewhere that even taking several short glances at the sun can result in temporary vision damage that can last for months.

I must thank my sister-in-law for the reminder to keep the pets inside! Dogs may be wondering what is going on and look at this phenomenon, even briefly.

I’m going to do the cardboard thing and/or watch it on TV.

It’s kind of a fun and exciting thing though, scientifically speaking. I look forward to not seeing this event. Ha ha.

PS I have to add a disclaimer. Not responsible if, like me, you get this song on the brain after you listen to it.

 

Herring Time

When the herring roe fishery happens each spring on the BC Coast, the seine boats and herring skiffs congregate close to shore because that is where the herring can be intercepted as they rush the beach to spawn. At night when the boats have their anchor lights on, it looks like a floating city just offshore.

Sea lions and seagulls and eagles patrol the area in hope of some tasty bites.

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Photo courtesy of P. Knettig

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It’s a bluebird day. Hard to believe it was rough and windy just a couple of days ago. Still it was fishable and the herring filled the seine nets. Then disaster struck as an extra heavy net caused a boat to list  and not recover. The fishing community lost a fellow fisherman. His brother is quoted on CTV News:

“They had a really big set. The boat was listing and Mel went down into the engine room to turn the pumps on, and while he was down there the boat rolled over.”

It brings home to all of us once again, how dangerous fishing is. While the fleet mourns the loss of one of their own, the fishery goes on, as it must. The pretty night lights, and the bluebird daytime sky and sea belie the sombre mood and the heavy hearts of the fishing fleet.

The Real Gifts of Christmas – submitted by Sonja

As a young child, living in northern B.C., it seemed to me that Christmas took forever to arrive. Early snow fell softly to the ground, transforming our bleak landscape into a magical winter wonderland.  My family and I routinely trudged through knee deep snow to go to school, to Sunday school, to the grocery store, and to visit friends. I didn’t think of it as a hardship at all. It was all I knew.

Every year at this time, I asked my mother, “When can we put up the Christmas tree?” Every year I got the same answer–“On your birthday.”  I have to admit, as much as I disliked having my birthday a week before Christmas, it was an extra special day. I knew that date meant we could FINALLY put up the tree and decorate the house. Christmas would then be in full gear. The house was filled with smells of cookies and Striezel (a German braided sweet bread) baking in the oven.

One crisp calm snowy evening, my mother took my sister and me out for a walk around the neighbourhood.  The snow sparkled with diamond chips, the full moon peeked through the drifting clouds in the darkened sky.  My sister and I were chatting away, when my mother said, “If you stay quiet, and listen VERY carefully, there is a good chance you will hear the angels singing.” Now, I don’t know quite how she orchestrated this, but within a moment or two of peace and quiet, I heard a distant choir singing so sweetly. Were they angels? Perhaps someone nearby was playing Christmas hymns on their radio? To this day, I am not sure. However, given the circumstances, I will choose to believe I really did hear the angels sing. No material gifts for Christmas could ever compare with the gift my mother gave me that night. I miss her so much. Rest in peace with the angels, Mutti.