The last photo I posted was from Central Park in New York City. I’m a little amused because I just realized that this is from Central Park also; only this photo was taken in Canada. This is from a Central Park in Burnaby BC, near Vancouver.
Like it’s New York namesake, the Canadian version is in the heart of a sprawling urban setting with towering buildings and residences on all sides. However this park is densely populated with tall spruce trees. As soon as you walk a few meters, the sounds of the city are shut out by the thickness of the forest. Everything changes from one extreme to another.
On the outer paths like this, morning commuters walk to and from the train stations on their way to work. Deeper inside there is a rich diversity of flora and fauna. One thing that strikes me is the boldness of the squirrels. They’ll stand before you on the path demanding food. It seems that people feed the creatures because it shows in their behavior. A local also told me that songbirds will land on your outstretched hand near one of the ponds here.
Most people think of mountains and the ocean when you mention British Columbia. But even in the heart of its biggest urban areas are settings like this that keep city dwellers connected to nature. I suppose you could say the same thing for the New York version.
I’ve seen this guy playing the saxophone in Central Park several times before; he’s what I’d consider a permanent fixture. I stopped to take his picture and then left a few dollars in his case. When I was here about five years ago I saw another guy playing the guitar. I was at a train station in another city and someone was some guy playing a didgeridoo. No far beyond were other musicians waiting their turn.
That got me thinking about how they stake out these popular spots. I imagine it’s first come first serve. For prime locations like this in Central Park you probably show up early and once you start playing you don’t stop until you’re done, then the next guy takes over. It’s a dog eat dog world for buskers.
Recently I was walking along a street and there was a lone piano chained to a lamppost. When I walk back later a lady was playing a sonata as only an accomplished musician can do, it was stunning and several of us were stopped in our tracks listening to a recital.
Subways and tunnels are the perfect location because they concentrate people in confined spaces and you have a captive audience. Quite frankly it’s where I’ve heard some of the most talented musicians. What better way to practice than to perform in a public space? If I could play music I’d be out there too, but I take photos so I’ll just stick to what I know.
A few months ago I was in Salt Lake City visiting some close friends. I am not Mormon but my ancestors were and so are my close friends. So while there I took the time to visit the temple grounds and took a tour of the convention center. This panorama I took while standing on the convention center roof.
My ancestors were the original settlers of Salt Lake City. So we also visited the cemetery to see where they were buried. Through help from my friends and a little sleuthing we found the graves where my great-great grandparents were buried. They’re in the Salt Lake Cemetery, which is the resting place of many of the original pioneers.
It was for me an amazing experience because I came away learning about my heritage that heretofore I’d only heard from my grandmother before she died. It goes without saying the Mormons are big on ancestry and so they were more than happy to help me fill in the gaps. I am fortunate to have such a recorded history and now that I know a little more I’m eager to share it.
Back home the other day I was taking some photos along the waterfront. Two Mormon missionaries approached me and rather than ignore them I engaged them in conversation. I pulled out my iPhone and shared this photo and told them about my experience and ancestors. They seemed genuinely surprised to meet me and equally happy to see a picture of their main temple. It was a fun encounter. While I am not planning to convert to the Mormon faith, there are many things we share in common. And for that connection and fellowship I am truly grateful.