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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

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Guest Post for National Poetry Month

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I get at least half a dozen emails every day from PR people offering me content for this blog. It is not often that I decide to use any of this stuff – but then I don’t always read everything. I just skim in case I might miss something. What you can read below is something that captured my attention. I recommend that you read all of it. And I hope that some book sales might result from that.


National Poetry Month is happening now! 

Eugenia Zukerman is CBS Sunday Morning’s classical music correspondent, world renowned flutist, and now author of the memoir Like Falling Through a Cloud: A Lyrical Memoir of Coping With Forgetfulness, Confusion, and a Dreaded Diagnosis(East End Press). Eugenia has Alzheimer’s and Like Falling Through a Cloud is a lyrical memoir she wrote shorty after diagnosis. Through poetry, Eugenia has processed her own diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, and inspired others around the world as well.

A few of the posts are pasted below. More at

A few years ago my daughters told me they were worried about my forgetfulness, my loss of words, my confusion. They suggested, or rather insisted I get tested. A flutist, writer, artistic director, busy playing and performing, I simply refused. But when I finally agreed to trek uptown with my younger daughter I was tested. I was shocked that indeed my cognitive ability was compromised and would only get worse. I was quietly terrified and indignant, and when I got home, I went to sat down at my desk and stared at the wall for what seemed a long time. I did not cry. I did not move. But then, for some reason I took out a pen and paper and started to write. What spilled out is mostly in verse. Putting pen to paper helped me to find my own way through the brambles of loss.

What resulted is my book, a lyrical memoir titled Like Falling Through a Cloud: A Lyrical Memoir of Coping with Forgetfulness, Confusion, and a Dreaded Diagnosis

Here are three poems I’ve chosen from Like Falling Through a Cloud to which I’ve included an intro to each:


I think this poem speaks to the confusion and fear I was actually feeling in a hot crowded subway as I realized I had no idea to find my way out of the underground station. I remember having a mix of panic and self anger. “How can you be so stupid,” I remember telling myself. Yet I believe I was oddly poised and when I emerged from the station and I was able to compose myself and walk home, cooling calmly off.

I’ve returned to the city

            where everyone is busy

                 and scurrying

                        and worrying

and it’s late summer

            subways are crowded and hot

   folks are sweating a lot

 and the trains are

       always late

and some man gets up

 to offer me his seat

  which is sweet

      if somehow insulting

here’s my stop

     I’m attempting to exit

I push             my way out

  doors close behind

    but  when I look up at a sign…

            this stop




                        And worse

I’m totally turned around and can’t figure out

            do I need to go back uptown

or change to the downtown track and how do

                        I do that


             I wander around the station

            looking for an exit, any exit           




            I stagger up

                        until I’m out

                              above ground

Out of breath

            having arrived


A walk home will be good

            I need to get my bearings

                but I won’t be sharing

            the story of my panic or pretty soon

                                    I’ll be forced to wear

                                       a lovely bracelet


                              MEMORY IMPAIRED



Here I am trying to be responsible, thinking about what I should be doing to get ready to leave my worldly goods to my family by going to my banker. At the same time I was imagining the idea my husband and I concocted, in a kidding mode, that we would put on deer suits, go out on the first day of hunting, and wait to meet our fates… hoping of course that the hunters would know how to shoot straight.

I’ve made a date

with my


because I hanker

to know where things stand

when it comes to what I’ll hand

to my next of kin

so I should begin

to keep track of stuff

to see if there is enough

to pass around

when I’m under the ground

I’m not being dramatic

but I can no longer be static

about what lies ahead

when I’m dead

which oddly I do not dread


I want to avoid leaving a mess

for the family to assess

I’d like them to say

she left it this way

to keep trouble at bay

and to avoid a fray

I don’t expect to croak

at midnight’s stroke

but I don’t want to be

one hundred and three

which my mother’s achieved

I will stick with the plan

I’ve made with my man –

when the time seems right

we will have the delight

of donning deer suits

on the first day of hunting

and we’ll go out in the fields

and wait

      to meet our fates —

  only I  hope

   the hunters  know how to




      r a   







The parties were married to one another in a civil ceremony


as a result of their marriage the Parties wish by this agreement to

define their rights and interests in one another’s property; and


each of the Parties has been informed of his/her rights and privileges in and to the property of the other under the laws…and each understands that under law their marriage confers specific rights upon each of them; and


in order to promote tranquility and certainty…the Parties desire to define and limit by the Agreement the interests, rights and claims which accrue to each of them in the property of the other by reason of their marriage to each other; and…


If the parties are wearing  their respective deer suits and each has donned their

respective antlers, then each understands that the rights and claims of the other

will be null and void if  he or she should be the receiver of the first bullet; and


 as a result of being the first receiver it will not matter diddly squat

                  who gets what

              but let it be noted

that the certainty of  tranquility will have been perfectly promoted.



Here I am on a spring afternoon reveling in the beauty and bounty of nature.

Almost August

       and the tomatoes are bulging

on their vines

          the flowers continue

to burst toward the sky

     in colors that astound

while on the ground

           our once hearty kale

      has been ripped out by rabbits

who attack at dawn

     and are gone

                   in a flash

leaving the crop tattered and torn

           Nothing lasts forever

not kale or tomatoes or cucumbers

   or the glorious flowers that fill our fields

      or the people we adore

        and though I know my days are numbered

       I feel unencumbered

          by thoughts of my demise

             I do not embrace

             my inevitable decline

          but I’m determined

                  to find

       a way to make the rest of my stay

           on this problematic planet

                 filled with light

                    and love



As for the deer suit I promised to don

      I don’t think I’ll put it on

not now     not yet

    I’m not ready

               I feel steady

   and I have a strategy to keep on keeping on 

                 which is simple:

      wake up

            fetch the flute

                   summon up Syrinx

          give thanks for another day

                   and then

            play on!

                  play on!   

Written by Stephen Rees

April 6, 2022 at 11:26 am

Posted in Art

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Kits Beach Pictures

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Once upon a time I would have posted these pictures to Flickr. They now claim that this is some kind of perversion. You can read more about this at the earlier post. It being a nice day I took myself down to Kits Beach and took pictures of some of the ships at anchor, a tug from Seattle and a mysterious unnamed Coast Guard boat. I was hoping for some ice cream from the Gelato store but though their door was open they were not about to serve anything for at least an hour. So I sat on a bench and took some more pictures.

I do not accept the accusation that taking pictures of people in public places is in any way “creepy”. Nor do I think that there is any justification for Flickr to require such images to be removed, given the wholesale availability of pictorial pornography on that site. Something you can easily confirm by doing searches without the usual “safe” restriction. Much of which I find quite revolting. Your mileage may vary.

On Flickr I use a Creative Commons license. Here I am more restrictive and I assert my copyright on all of these images which may not be used at all without my express permission in writing.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 23, 2021 at 7:41 pm

Indigenous Art at YVR

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We were out at the airport yesterday evening. A niece was on her way through, but had a couple of hours layover there while she changed planes. We arranged to meet her in the terminal for dinner.

This gave me a bit more time to look at the art which is installed at the entrance to the domestic arrivals area, in the basement. To find out more about these pieces go to the YVR webpage

The pictures below have all been posted on flickr and can be found there just by clicking on the image.

Thunderbird and Killer Whale by Richard Hunt 1999
Killer Whale and Thunderbird by Richard Hunt 1999
Human/Bear Masks by Dempsey Bob 1999
Human/Bear Masks by Dempsey Bob 1999
Back of "Thunderbird" by Richard Hunt
Human/Bear Masks  by Dempsey Bob
YVR Domestic Arrivals Area
Human/Bear Masks  by Dempsey Bob

Written by Stephen Rees

September 9, 2019 at 11:50 am

Vancouver Mural Festival

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This afternoon we took a different kind of a walk. Instead of one of the beaches or the forest, this took in the industrial side of the city. Each year there is a mural festival in Vancouver where artists from here and around the world paint the sides of buildings.

There are several blog posts from 2017 this is the first of four.

Right now I am fighting with the flickr web site, which is where I usually put most of my pictures. I had hoped with their new independent status that they would become more reliable. Sadly, they are still far too often showing the “bad panda” excuse page. So I have uploaded this year’s pictures to the WP media library, in case flickr lets you down too.

You can find a map and other useful information on the Vancouver Mural Festival webpage

Garriya by Sonny Green: Australia
Pablo Zamudio
K C Hall : Raven Transformation
Homecoming by Kathy Ager
Eva Eskelinen
Sebastian Curi
William Liaou
Alex Joukov “Status Symbol”
“Cosmic Breeze” by Olivia de Liberto

Sadly an artist coming here from Japan can get no respect from the local moronic “taggers” who have already defaced the mural (bottom right).

I posted a larger stitched panorama on flickr

Oneo panorama
Charlie Edmiston
Pamela Pinard and Syd Danger

There are several more new murals on the other side of Main Street. I will try to get to them.

mural panorama
This mural is missing from the official map. It is adjacent to the Holden Courage memorial and is painted over previous murals on the same wall. (East 5th at Main, car park, nw corner)

Written by Stephen Rees

August 24, 2019 at 5:33 pm

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific

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My choice this week is to highlight an artist who was indeed highly prolific. Marc Chagall lived a long life (1887 – 1985) and his entry in wikipedia is huge. He not only produced lots of paintings but his work extends to a quite astonishing number of different media. And a great deal of it is displayed for all to see, not just squirrelled away by collectors, or hidden in the vaults of museums.

Marc Chagall's Ceiling

This is the ceiling of the Paris Opera (Palais Garnier) commissioned in 1963.

The Four Seasons: Chagall

“The Four Seasons” is a ceramic mosaic on four sides of this huge block of concrete in Chicago.

Chagall panorama 2 plane

I made a stitched panorama from one side – its 4535 wide so worth downloading from Flickr. Here are a couple of details


And then there are these stained glass windows at the Art Institute


And we have only lightly touched the surface of his oeuvre.

Bonus – I found another from our trip to Paris in 2012 – this was in the Centre Pompidou


Written by Stephen Rees

April 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

Vancouver Mural Fest – part four

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Looking at the photos posted by others, it dawned on me that the map was if not unreliable perhaps a work in progress. So I set out again to cover the gaps.

In the mosaic click on any image for a larger version

And, once again, a number of murals were incapable of being captured into one shot so I have been doing some stitching again. These images are all on the flickr album and the Mural Festival site is also being updated with much more information, some of which I have copied here and to flickr.

Click on the image to be taken to the flickr page to get a much larger version

DAVID SHILLINGLAW - "We Are Croutons Floating in Cosmic Soup"

DAVID SHILLINGLAW – “We Are Croutons Floating in Cosmic Soup”

Artist Statement: The mural explores aspects if the human experience. Signs and symbols, patterns and forms that attempt to communicate a universal language. Inspired by board games and hieroglyphics, my mural works create a visual space to visually negotiate, a collection of separate parts that connect and can be read in multiple directions. The content is full on bold colour forms, a collision of shapes, some recognisable, some more ambiguous.

Kids at Heart

This one is not actually part of the festival: it was painted by Kids at Heart and is at the Beaumont Gallery

JENNY RITTER - Community Mural left
Community Mural - right

Two halves of the Community Mural

This mural is an exploration of water, as illustrated by artists and musican Jenny Ritter. Imagery includes, swimming, boats, creatures etc. Using a monochrome palette of blues, members of the community painted the mural using a paint by numbers technique.

Trees Burn While Flowers Bloom
TYLER KEETON ROBBINS – “Trees Burn While Flowers Bloom”

“Artist Statement: Look closely at the brush strokes – you will see trees, flames, smoke, yet blossoms. This mural is based off a painting depicting British Columbia’s natural ecology, how it is currently being impacted and in turn how nature and we as a community overcome.”

Carson Ting "Ride Wild"
Carson Ting “Ride Wild”

In this piece, we depict to arms reaching from both ends of the mural. In the middle, we have two stationary vehicles waiting at the light. On the left, we see a large arm and hand holding a wheel entering the scene to help fix a broken black car. The left black car has opened up like a Russian doll to reveal a rabbit character sitting on a bicycle. In a similar fashion, the right side depicts a yellow car held by a giant hand. The yellow car also reveals a rabbit sitting on a bicycle inside. The concept behind this mural is based on a fun portrayal the modern commuter’s psyche in Vancouver. We are often faced with the dilemma of whether we should drive or cycle to our destination, but deep down we are often caught longing to be riding freely on our bicycles. This piece will hopefully help remind us to break out of our reliance on cars and ride our bicycles as free as wild rabbits. This mural is generously supported by Native Shoes.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

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Vancouver Mural Festival part 3

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The last two sites are remote from the others, in the industrial port area around the Cordova diversion.

Some of the murals are so large and difficult to get into one shot, so for these I have made large stitched panoramas that are hosted on my flickr photostream

Bicicleta Sem Frio

Tristesse Seliger "Infinite Line"

Stace Forand "Tiny Flora"

Stace Forand “Tiny Flora”
Stace Forand tattoos at the Steveston Tattoo Company, with a focus on contemporary Japanese art.

Destroy All Machines

More information

Written by Stephen Rees

August 15, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Vancouver Mural Festival part 2

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The northern end of Main Street at Industrial Avenue plus the Red Truck Brewery. There are seven more murals at Makerlabs, 780 East Cordova which are now covered in part 3. I have also now made up for missing half of the murals at Belvedere Court which is the large bottom image in the mosaic as well as the featured image (The Present).

Written by Stephen Rees

August 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Vancouver Mural Festival

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The festival ran from August 7 to 12 but, of course, the murals themselves will last a lot longer than that. Thinking to avoid the crowds, I went out the day after the festival events were over, but there were still plenty of people out taking pictures. Other blogs are already ahead of me with their postings and so far I have only covered those near Main Street from 14th to 4th. There’s a lot more to come but to get a taste of what else is out there see Ken Ohrn’s series on Price Tags. His pictures show many of the murals being created.

Click on the image in the gallery to see the larger version
Check out the festival’s page for artist details and so on – I have added a copy of their map at the bottom of this post.


Some of the murals were much bigger than I could get into one shot so there are some much larger, stitched panorama images on my flickr stream


Actually from the 2016 Festival but one of my personal favourites

Native Education College

Native Education Centre

Hoot Suite

And only in that last one was I unable to get a clear shot without people. I do not understand why so many were getting themselves photographed in front of the murals. This last one is on the Hoot Suite building.

Vancouver Mural Festival Map

Vancouver Mural Festival Map

There are now three further posts that cover the murals not shown in this one. There is also a flickr album of all of these pictures, which are downloadable at their original size and covered by a Creative Commons license.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 13, 2017 at 5:13 pm

WPC: Collage (part two)

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Yesterday I posted a collage of Trastevere in Rome. I mentioned that we had found the Villa Farnesina closed – so we had to go back. These are some of the pictures I took of the famous frescoes in the villa. Warning to those who may be in a highly puritanical workplace – some of these images may not be safe for work.

Posted as a second response to the Weekly Photo Challenge


Written by Stephen Rees

July 13, 2017 at 10:39 am