One Rose and a Smoky Bridge

Melancholy or optimism during an eerie time. What colour are your eyeglasses?

The smoke from Oregon and Washington State wildfires blanketed Vancouver skies with a haze last week, elevating British Columbia’s air quality index to a 10+, its highest rating for pollution.

A pandemic, smoky skies and a moth outbreak.

This is BC in 2020 and Lions Gate Bridge on a mid-September day, behind the rose on the beach that someone left behind.

“One rose and a smoky bridge.” Photo by MC.

Here’s what I see: “Finding quiet beauty in unexpected places.”

What do you see? Melancholy, optimism or something else? Comment below in six words, less or more.

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Reaching “The Other Side” with Practice

Throughout my life, I always wanted to “swim out to the log” or “swim to the dock” but I held back because of my anxiety and fear of drowning.

I admired the brave swimmers on “the other side” sunbathing and laughing on the floating dock from afar and wished I could be out there.

This summer, I practiced swimming several times (25+ swims in BC lakes and ocean). I’m a competent swimmer in shallow waters, when I know I can touch bottom or I’m close to shore. 

But I knew that if I tried harder, I could push myself to swim further and deeper.

Last week, I took my son and his cousins to the lake. For the first time ever, I swam out from the dock to this log — three times!

I don’t know how deep the lake is, but it was dark, murky, mysterious — way out of my comfort zone…and I couldn’t see bottom with my goggles. 

I was scared, but I did it!

The young boys had no problem swimming out to that log, but we were all out of breath when we reached it, with chilly lake-kissed skin and proud smiles.

This isn’t a big achievement for competent swimmers, but for me — it’s a huge milestone and I’m braver and stronger for trying.

On swimming…to the other side. Photo by MC.

Featured in Elephant Journal: “Finding Self-Empowerment Through Community & Headstand” by Mary Chang

Self-empowerment through words and headstands. The power of perseverance and encouragement.

My article is live and published on Elephant Journal: “it’s about the mindful life, an online mindful life magazine”. Read the full story here on EJ at:

We’re all human beings supporting each other in some way – in our village, earth, universe. Gratitude for reading, sharing and “clicking the heart” on EJ.

My article was edited by Elizabeth Brumfield, Editor at Elephant Journal. Below are excerpts from the article along with three headstand photos I chose to showcase on my blog (that are not displayed in the the EJ posting).

Photo by Christine B.

Selfempowerment is taking control of your own life, setting goals, and making positive choices that can create a meaningful impact in some way.

Photo by Jude RM.

Whenever I do a headstand, a sense of power and confidence overwhelms me—I’m on top of the world, upside down. Wow!

Photo by D.

Encouraging others to persevere can be just as self-empowering as mastering a headstand, because it might be those words that inspire them to keep going.

Note: My original title of this article was “Self Empowerment through Words and Headstands”, edited by EJ to”Turn the Heck Upside Down: Finding Empowerment with Headstand” (Sept 3) and then re-titled by EJ (Sept 20) to: “Finding Self-Empowerment & Community through Headstand.”

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The Short Story Behind a Photograph

Sometimes a forgotten memory sparks joy.

This September, “back to school” in 2020 may be chaotic, but today I’m reflecting on a school snapshot from 1979.

Since reconnecting with Ms Watson (my Grade 3 teacher) last fall, we’ve been communicating on and off through social media. She sent me this message last June.

“Going through an old album today – and there you were (wearing my hat, I think).”

My teacher had written this “short story” beside the photograph (1979):

“Little Mary Chang – a real sweetie.

Wouldn’t speak or smile for the first 3 days – but not now!”


I don’t remember being photographed, but I do remember my favourite t-shirt and I can imagine the delightfulness of that sunny day.

You can read the full story about my reconnection with LW here at:

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