December 16, 2012

Into the Light we Go

When something like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre happens, I am left reeling with thoughts of sadness for the children robbed of a future, and for all the families affected. As President Obama said in his sensitive speech following the news of so much slaughter of the innocent, "These neighbourhoods are our neighbourhoods, these children are our children." I could not help but put myself in the place of those parents who have lost their little ones, and all those connected to the adults who were also killed on that day in Newtown Connecticut.

I could say so much more about this senseless act, but I will not. Not today. Today I will focus on the good that I experienced in going for a day trip to Vancouver last weekend to see our son at his workplace and do some Christmas shopping. The fact of how blessed I was to have all my family together and intact has not escaped me, and the knowledge that we will all be together for Christmas is cause for even more happiness and gratitude.

We have had a rainy December at this end of the Fraser Valley. The clouds tend to rest against our high and close mountains and some weeks it feels as though I have been weighted down by a large and somewhat heavily brimmed grey felt hat. My husband, being on holiday for the past couple of weeks, had been checking the weather for a good day to go to Vancouver. Originally, we had wanted to avoid the city on a weekend, but Saturday looked like the best day weather-wise, so we planned out our day carefully and left early.

As we headed west, we drove gradually into the light.

As we approached the newly twinned Port Mann Bridge, her 'sails' rose up into the clear blue sky, reflecting the snowy peaks in the distance. Vancouver enjoys three local ski hills in its North Shore mountains: Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and Mount Seymour. Our family spent two wonderful winters Nordic skiing at Cypress Mountain, before horses, orchestra rehearsals and soccer took over our lives.

It's challenging to take photos from a moving vehicle.
This was taken while crossing the bridge.

We parked in our usual downtown spot, and walked over to the Vancouver Christmas Market. I've been an admirer of the 'new' Vancouver Public Library since it was built, so I had to take a photo of it gleaming on such a beautiful day.

 And then it was on to the market, where our son Ian is working for the month of December. The market is as authentically German in style as possible for the organizers to make it. It is set up in the lobby and the courtyard of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Vendors occupy decorated pine huts, offering everything from hot fresh pretzels and bratwurst, to spiced apple cider with or without a warming dram of alcohol, wooden toys and decorations. For those of us who are attracted by the woodsy charm of a traditional German/Bavarian Christmas, the market is a purely enjoyable experience.

The market was hopping that day, so good photo ops were few. However, we made the rounds with Ian, who met us a couple of hours before his shift at this hut here, serving traditional Swiss raclette and other delicacies made by our local cheese maker, Debra Amrein-Boyes, who operates the famous Farmhouse Cheese. 

I chose hot coffee over hot apple cider, but we did try it last year, and chose to purchase one of these souvenir mugs, which we put in our youngest's stocking to remind her of the happy day she spent with us at the market.

Of course, no German market would be complete without a hot polka band. This is the only shot I managed to get of the band, who were great and so much fun to listen to.

We all had a grand time at the market, Galen and Emma enjoying it for the first time. The day was clear and mainly sunny, but also cold, and after we'd had enough of the market, we moved on to the shopping malls to thaw and split up into pairs for some gift buying for each other. Then we said goodbye to Ian, happy that we would all be together again soon.

This song seems so fitting for my present state of mind.

Wishing you and yours a safe and joyful Holiday Season.

Peace on Earth. Good will towards men.



  1. Nice! {and I agree with your comments about the school.}


    1. Thanks, Al. Glad you enjoyed it. Cheers to you and yours as well!

  2. Beautiful pics of the mountains and the stunning bridge. No need to write bunches about the awfulness in Connecticut. It's known, you're one of the good ones.

    1. Yes, Abby. I don't have the heart anyway.
      And thanks, that's sweet and kind of you. I'm going to catch up on your posts this evening!

  3. Nice trip into the city. Talk to you soon.

  4. I've been reading a lot about the school but as yet I cannot look closely at it.

    Nice photos. What's the round one.

    1. The round building you mean? It's the Vancouver Public Library.

  5. ha. nice trip...enjoyed the sights...i would have chosen coffee as well...smiles...and polka, bet that was fun...thanks for the focus on something else...i could use the emotional break this week for sure...smiles.

  6. Looks like a great got some really good photos. The Port Mann Bridge is very impressive and I really like the round library.
    Oh Come, Emmanuel seems to be a song I am hearing so much more than any other carol this year. I was just thinking about this the other day, and here you have it today. Lovely music!


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