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“On All Saints Day, the poor people go
from parish to parish a Souling,
as they call it.”
The rioting in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins in game seven of the playoffs was disgraceful. Now that the smoke has cleared, however, the following photograph has attracted a lot of positive (and some negative) attention, with many hoping that it wasn’t staged but was a true candid shot, as the photographer, Richard Lam of Getty Images, has claimed:
According to a report by Brad Frenette published on the Vancouver Sun Web site on June 17, 2011 5:46 AM, someone named “William” wrote to the paper to describe what he witnessed:
I was on the top floor of a parkade on Seymour, the couple [who have now been identified as Canadian Alexandra Thomas and her Australian boyfriend Scott Jones] was right outside of the parkade on the street in front of me. What happen was the police line rushed the crowd and this couple trying to stay together couldn’t react in time and were run over by 2 riot police officers. The girl who was knocked over landed head first on the pavement with her boyfriend landed partially on top of her. She was in visible pain, crying, but the 2 officers gave them a parting shove and moved on. By standers went to go make sure she was ok. I understand that the front line police have to control the crowd but it is a bit ridiculous that they couldn’t have other officers or paramedics behind the line to help anyone who is hurt.
If William’s account is accurate, then what we have here is neither the artful documentation of a provocative piece of street theatre nor a lurid snapshot of a couple who were “too aroused to seek privacy” (as one idiot going by the name “anon252708922” put it on the Vancouver Sun site), but rather the spontaneous and touching photographic record of one human being taking the time to comfort another who has been harmed, even while they are in the midst of real danger — although, of course, it is the additional, fortuitous frisson of eroticism conveyed by the woman’s bare skin that has given the image legs, so to speak.
Brett Jones [Scott’s father] said the couple had been at the NHL final game, and after the frenzy following the loss spilled into the street, the two were caught in the violence.
“They were between the riot police and the rioters, and the riot police were actually charging forward, and Alex got knocked by a [police] shield and fell to the ground,” he told CBC News. “[Scott] was comforting her and gave her a kiss to say, ‘It’s going to be OK,’ and the photographer just took the shot at that moment.”
Brett Jones said Scott is fine, and Alex suffered a bruised leg from falling to the ground.
The two are overwhelmed by all the coverage the picture has gotten, he said, noting that he has been fielding calls from media around the world.
“They are both just totally stunned by it, actually.”
In an interview this morning with the Toronto Star, the woman in the photograph, Alexandra Thomas, said, “When I first saw it, I thought, ‘No way, that’s not … I can’t believe that’s us.’ Then I looked some more and realized, that is us. That’s a very revealing picture of us.”
Finally, video footage has also been released that confirms the couple’s, and William’s, and the photographer’s, story:
Final score: Romantics 1, Cynics 0.
Following a winter of greater than normal snowfall here in Saskatchewan, residents have been scrambling in April to control the runoff. Here are three snapshots that I took yesterday (18 April 2011) from Regina’s Pasqua Street bridge, looking upstream at Wascana Creek and the flooded paths and greenspaces of Les Sherman Park:
I posted a few snapshots of Condie Nature Refuge, located a short distance outside the Queen City, in October of last year. Here’s what it was like out there earlier today:
And that, dear readers, is winter in southern Saskatchewan in a nutshell.
That thermometer may be old — it came with the house when we bought it — but it’s accurate. I took the picture through our kitchen window, which looks out into the back yard. Needless to say, I plan to stay indoors today.
Yesterday, my wife, our son, and I drove out to the Condie Nature Refuge a few miles north-west of Regina, Saskatchewan. The area around Regina is famous for its flat farmland and vast open views of the horizon, but tucked here and there on the prairie are little pockets of unplowed land with a different sort of interest. What follows are some snapshots I took as we strolled together along the paths of the self-guided nature walk; the sequence begins with a view from the road, looking from the north-east towards the south-west, and includes several views of the vestiges of a tiny oxbow lake along with photographs of the beaver lodge, pond, and dam.
I’m sure you have similar areas of understated (or perhaps even spectacular) natural beauty near where you live, if only you will search them out.
Before and after, here in the Queen City…
I heard on the radio that the Queen City received 17 cm of snow during the night. That’s the bad news. The good news is, it’s already melting away.
This morning, early, we drove out to the town of Lumsden, Saskatchewan, to take in some of the events associated with their “Great Pumpkin and Scarecrow Festival.” We had pancakes, with strawberries and whipped cream, and all the pork sausages we wanted — three was my limit — at the open-air “Pancake Breakfast”; we examined the well-intentioned but relentlessly unremarkable entries in the “Eclectic Chair Auction” and the pumpkin carving contest; we browsed through the “Farmers’ Market,” which was devoid of fresh vegetables but had plenty of ornamental gourds, dried flowers and herbs, preserves, and honey; and we bought tickets to ride on one of the “People Movers,” two low flatbed trailers, with bales down the middle to sit on, which the organizers had hired to cart spectators around town to view the award winners and also-rans in the scarecrow contest. While touring around, I chewed on wheat straw, for old time’s sake, and when I wasn’t warming my hands in my pockets, I took a few pictures. Here are two:
We had intended to stay for the “Pumpkin Catapult” event — though as our son rightly pointed out, the “catapults” were actually trebuchets — but after the scarecrow tour, we decided we had neither the patience nor the endurance to mill around for three and a half additional hours in the bone-chilling wind just to watch a procession of unlucky pumpkins soar jauntily across the sky only to smash to smithereens on the Lions Park lawn. So we got in the car — what a relief to be warm again — and headed home.
And yet, believe it or not, it was fun while it lasted…