Celebration of Light fireworks show. Vancouver, June 30.
GIF by Andrew Mackay
The trip is over, and I have come back to the United States. Here’s a gif I made of the epic Celebration of Light fireworks competition that Vancouver has each summer.
Last week an estimate came out; with over 1,700 dead, the third week in July may have been the deadliest in the Syrian conflict to date. This combines with a press conference held by a regime defector who has tens of thousands of pictures of dead Syrians, who had been brutally tortured. This man surfaced back in January, which led to a post I made located here, which links to a gallery of photos, most not for the faint of heart.
Destruction in the middle of Homs, Syria. Credit: Yazen Homsy, Reuters
In the international community, a cadre has long hoped that the Syrian conflict would reach a stalemate. The parties would then be open to a negotiated settlement, and large-scale violence would cease.
There has been no slowing down. Syria’s army, the Free Syrian Army, the fundamentalists, the Kurds, and all the other groups trying to survive are not out of will and fight.
Assad’s regime continues to get heavy weapons from Russia, while the Islamic State is now making huge sums from the oil fields it has captured. As long as the various factions have the money and arms to sustain a struggle, the idea of a lasting peace seems absurd.
Sign Forest, Watson Lake, Yukon.
Photo by Andrew Mackay
What is a city
but a forest of slowly
Fish Creek, Hyder, Alaska at dark.
Photo by Andrew Mackay.
Mystique breeds in dark spaces
as light wanes, fades, dims, and disappears
the river obeys no
its rushing gains majesty
performing with a symphony of crickets
as the backing band.
Panorama of mountains west of Mount Whistler, British Columbia.
By the way, you can click on any of these travel photos to see the big version. These are all huge pictures, you just have to keep them to a certain width to fit within the blog template.
Coming back into civilization, it is impressive how quickly you go from having some sense of familiarity with strangers to gaining complete detachment and anonymity. For most of this trip, there has been only one major road, with junctions often hundreds of miles apart. Thus you may pass a car or some cyclists, or they may pass you. At some point down the line, you will see them again. There is a sense of shared journey even if you don’t know anything beyond their car and the origin of their license plates (I played the game, and ended up with 34 US states and nine Canadian provinces).
Whistler is a giant tourist facility, even in summer. Besides mountain bikers and upscale shopping types, huge summer programs ferry blue-hatted upper-middle class children to the chair lifts and from activity to activity. This is the familiar feeling: to be lost amidst a large crowd going a million different directions. Even at home in the Bay Area, this is the environment I live in. At some point there are too many people and too many agendas and destinations. It feels odd to come from rural British Columbia and enter the system as a temporary outsider. No wonder people have culture shock when they move to a city, or from a rural environment to a developed country.
Black Tusk, Coast Mountains, British Columbia.
The natural scenery is now behind me, to be replaced tomorrow with the spectacle of the Vancouver Celebration of Light.
Mountains north of Whistler, British Columbia.
The water locks eyes with the sky
and smiles, sparkling
for under a clear,
there is no place