Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Terrace Mountain Fire Flares Up

I happened to have my "fun camera" with me yesterday when I went for a hike to the beach at Knox Mountain. Here are some images of the incredible smoke billowing above Okanagan Lake. My thoughts are with the thousands of people who had to leave their homes just after being allowed to return on Thursday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Finding Inspiration at Home

Thirty-five years ago, a family tradition was born. The first Archer Family Barbecue was held in July 1974. My grandfather, Syd Archer had one brother, Vern Archer. Earlier that year, Vern and his wife Pat had lost their youngest child, Mary, as a result of a brain injury that followed a bicycle accident. I was just seven at the time, but I remember the sadness and sense of loss that swept my family. That summer, the “Syd Archers” and the “Vern Archers” decided that it was important to spend time together and the first AFB was held. The family that grieved together wanted to play together. Year in and year out, the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and cousins gathered to celebrate. Eventually, the next generation was included and my second cousins and I got to know each other. When we lost my cousin Paul in a car accident several years ago, my generation experienced the strengthening of family ties that our parents and grandparents had before us.
The AFB is typically scheduled around Canada Day. Every year politics, religion and sport are the topic of sometimes heated discussion, but nothing is more interesting to members of the clan than what everyone has been up to in the year(s) gone by. I don’t know when the awards started, but every year they are passed from one illustrious achiever to another. The much-coveted awards include: The Golden Bedpan, Martha Moose (formerly Marty Moose), Macho Mark and the Miscellaneous Mike Awards. This year, my cousin Martha and I took the pursuit of excellence to a new level – we lobbied online from Australia and Kelowna. While it does seem that in order to have an award named after you the honoree’s name must start with M, the most revered awards are named after our patriarchs, Syd Archer and Vern Archer.
This year the Vern Archer award went to a very special group of people who have been tested this year. Just before Easter, my cousin Mary Archer had a horrific accident in the hospital. Following minor surgery, she fell and incurred a brain injury. Pregnant at the time, she was kept alive to nurture the new life inside. Weeks went by, and no news was good news as the focus was entirely on the survival of the baby. Mary’s partner Bob, her parents Paul and Heather and her brother Alastair have been tireless in their determination and support for the baby and for Mary, whose job it seemed to give life before letting go of her own.
At some point long after life support would have been withdrawn had she not been pregnant, things started to change – quickly and dramatically. Mary began to respond to voices and then people. Despite countless medications, tubes and a tracheotomy, she began to speak. The doctors were stunned – death was no longer a foregone conclusion. On June 25, Isabella was born, healthy and beautiful. Tonight, as Isabella, her father Bob, grandparents Paul and Heather, uncle Ali and Mary, in absentia, accepted their award, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
One of the laws of the Universe, the Law of Polarity states that for negative there is a positive. Where there is grief, there is joy. Where there is suffering, there is healing. Where there is life, there is death. Well, not exactly, this time. The road to recovery will be challenging, but something tells me that Mary will make good on the promise she made to her Dad today. She’ll be at the Archer Family Barbecue next year to claim her own award. Since her name starts with an M, I propose a new award be added to the roster – The Mighty Mary.

Laura (Syd Archer) Tucker
Toronto, July 18, 2009

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Crater Lake

I often catch myself wondering how different geographic and geologic formations are made. On this trip I have driven through desert, ancient flood planes and have marveled at the reach of the Ponderosa Pine. I had seen pictures of Crater Lake, but I was unprepared for how mind-blowing Crater Lake would be!

The crater was created by a volcanic eruption over ten times the size of Mount St Helen billions of years ago. The smaller volcano in the middle of the lake followed. Talk about a "power spot"! Dizzy with altitude and surprised by my brief return to winter, I was racing with storm clouds behind me to create these images.

Note to self: revisit in August when the trails are sure to be open and open skies will create the glacier teal waters!