Relative Sanity, Walls and Thomas Merton


Rainbow Watercolour, 1992 - by bruce witzel

                         a rainbow watercolour                   b.thomas witzel 


                      with quote of the day by Thomas Merton


One of the most important tasks today is to clear the atmosphere so that people can understand their plight without hatred, without fury, without desperation, and with the minimum of goodwill.


Statues in Downtown Montreal - The Illuminated Crowd - bruce wtizel photo

                                                                                  The illuminated crowd, Montreal


Downtown Tuscon Arizona - bruce witzle photo (2)

                                                                                                                         A gentleman at the Tucson court house


A humble and objective seriousness is necessary for the long task of restoring mutual confidence and preparing the way for the necessary work of collaboration in building world peace.


Solemn tribute, Manzanar internment camp California  - photo by Bruce Witzel

Manzanar internment camp, California


The restoration of a climate of relative sanity is perhaps more important than specific decisions , regarding the morality of this or that strategy, this or that pragmatic policy.


                                             ~ Thomas Merton ~

                                        from Seeds of Destruction


University of Arizona in Tucson against the wall - bruce witzel photo

                                                   Against the wall, University of Tucson 


 ~ photos by bruce witzel ~




Charles Brandt's seasons greeting 2018



a card from Charles Brandt – hermit priest



                                 . . . and an article by Brian Payton


Capture Oracle of Oyster River


Read here:



bookbinding-catholic-hermit-520x780 photo by grant callegari

                                                                                            Photo by Grant Callegari


          An estuary meets the Salish Sea – photo by Charles Brandt 

An estuarty entering the Salish Sea with the BC's Coastal Mountain Range in the distance - by Charles A.E. Brandt


~ Cheers to all for a promising New Year ~



Heather Witzel – Rest in Peace


Fred Witzel speaking at our sister Heather's memorial Dec 8-2018 - fran witzel photo

The last 6 weeks I have been quietly grieving the death of my sister Heather. My brother Fred (above), gave a eulogy for my sister at her memorial on Dec. 8th, 2018 along with one of Heather’s friends, Dave Hardy from Saskatchewan.


Here, I give my own eulogy for Heather.


Heather's memorial Dec8-2018


Heather was a person who always “gave it her all.” Amidst her long difficult struggle with illness in the last few years of her life (most pronounced during her last 4 months),  she bore witness to everyone  she saw with incredible grace and dignity.

Though now Heather has left this earth, she left us all with a beautiful legacy – a life, well lived.


Heather and sasha

Through out her life Heather loved people, though she dearly loved pets – here, with Sasha.


And here, with one of her so-called “f-errs”  (Ferdinand, or Finnegan?)

Heather loved to have a good laugh.

Heather Witzel Aug 09, 1918  


Rose and Heather


And yes, Heather was a twin  – Rose is on the left.


Heather and Rose 1950


Heather and Rose playing a piano duet - aunt edith Fisher photo



Grandpa Marean with Witzel kids (minus Bruce)

  In this photo of Heather, again on the left, with 5 other siblings and Grandpa. I’m missing in action.


Witzel family(2) about 1958

All the Witzel clan in 1958, with Heather on the left again (me too now, the baby of the family).


Rose, Heather, Bruce, Fred and David at Christmas 1958 - photo by aunt edith fisher 

Heather is standing with the candy cane – 1958.


Christmas, the early 1960’s.  Heather never tooted her own horn, but this time I’m not sure?

Witzel Christmas in the early 60's - Al, Fran Heather, Grandpa, Rose & bruce


Witzel kids at Lake Louise 1965

1965 at Lake Louise, a family trip back to the Canadian prairies. Heather on the right, next to Fred.


Witzel sisters with swim coach Casey Cessford - Heather (left)  Rose, Casey and Frances (right)

Heather (left) with Rose, swim coach Casey Cessford and Frances (our oldest sister).


Over the years Heather became a great athlete. She excelled at swimming. Fred recalled how on one competitive 4 mile swim Heather was the first person to stumble out of the water, even ahead of all the male swimmers.

“That‘s why we we all looked up to Heather so much,”  Fred joked. “She was always on top of the podium.”

Rose (far left – catcher), Frances (third on left), then Heather – Mom was coach (on the right)

Mom's Softball team


Here is Heather at one of her 1st Saskatchewan homes, with Mom visiting in the early 1980’s

Heather and Mom in Saskatchewan


After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.S., M.S. & B.Ed in 1974, Heather became a highly respected and sought after teacher, counsellor and coach during her 29 years within the Saskatoon Catholic School system. A past student posted this reflection on December 3, 2018:


Condolence from Andrea Urquhart



Heather Witzel, my sister - photo by bruce witzel

Heather in 2005, at the beginning of her retirement years in Nanaimo, British Columbia.


Much earlier in her life, Heather was a member of Canada’s National Women’s basketball team from 1969 to 1974. On August 16 to Sept. 3, 1972, the Canadian team travelled to China during the same period of time the Canadian Minister of Trade, Mitchell Sharp, led a trade delegation there (Aug. 15 – 24th).

Heather passport photo

Heather Witzel passport stamp in Aug 1972 - China trip as captain of Canadian Women's National Basketball team


Heather met Prime Minister Chou En Lai during her visit . Fred also joked that when Heather talked to the Chinese Prime Minister, she told him to “watch out for Nixon.”  Completely false, for certain.

This summer Heather described  how the Chinese spectators didn’t cheer during the games, only responding “ooooooh” to an excellent play – from the Chinese and the Canadian team. Heather then told us when one game was tied the officials wouldn’t allow overtime. Each team could then “save face”.  

Championships usually goes until there is a winner.


My sister, Heather Witzel meeting Chou En Lai

Heather shaking hands with Chou En Lai in 1972


Bruce, Heather with Christina, and Rose at the Comox Airport, late 1970's - Mac Witzel photo

Taking Heather to the Comox airport – Bruce, Heather (holding our niece Christina) and Rose, Tina’s mom.


In Heather’s retirement years beginning in 2004, she moved back to Vancouver Island, her birthplace.  She became an avid golfer. As in all things she did, Heather excelled. She continued to golf on her “good days”, up to the last month of her life.

Heather and Rose Witzel with golfing partners in Nanaimo  2018


The day after Heather died and as the family gathered, Rose told us that often on Heathers car drive to the golf course she took food to a homeless person she had come to know – a plate or a sandwich.       She explained her action simply to Rose by saying how wrong she felt hunger and poverty was.

True to her form, Heather looked out for the underdog.


My sister Rose Witzel & brother Fred Witzel, Dec 8-2018 - fran witzel photo

Rose and Fred (also both retired teachers) planned the memorial

with much help from family and friends.


Heather often looked out for the least of her students, sometimes with a gift at Christmas or on their birthday and by bringing or taking them out for a meal. And yet as Rose said, Heather rarely went out to a restaurant herself, believing  it was a waste of money. 




Letter for heather from Mom (1962)


Heather was not only athletic, she had a keen intellect – good at crossword, Sudoku and she loved a game of Bridge – here with Dave, Fred and probably Rose (because it’s in her kitchen – Dec. 23 2013).


Dec 22, 2013 My siblings Heather, Dave ((center) and Fred Witzel


Her strength and will was strong.  48 hours before Heather died she awoke from semi-consciousness and said “lets play some bridge!” Dave said she played five hands with excellent defence before retiring back to her bed. She never arose on her own again.


Brother's Dave (left), Heather and Fred Witzel on Nov 4- 2018 a few days before heather died  Dave, Heather and Sara   

The last few weeks of her life – Heather is at her home in BC with brother Dave, niece Sara and brother Fred. 


As Fred concluded his memorial, he noted that Heather was quite a private person and not a women of many words. Rather, Heather was a women of actions.  All those who had the gift of being with Heather and coming to know her, would say it was so.

In words from her obituaryHeather will be remembered for her indomitable and loving spirit, as well as her thoughtfulness, kindness and loyalty.


                                          Rest in peace, dear Heather

                                                                          Lovingly, Bruce


“Something has spoken to me in the night…and told me that I shall die, I know not where. Saying: “[Death is] to lose the earth you know for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.”

― Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again


White rose, flowers and flames at Heather's memorial Dec.8-2018 - bruce witzel photo

Clean BC moves towards Beyond Oil: Dr. Andrew Weaver Speaks


Yesterday in my home province of British Columbia, our government announced an updated Climate Action Plan called CleanBC.


Port Hardy Harbour (2) Dec 6-2018 - bruce witzel photo

  Port Hardy Harbour, Dec. 5-2018


Driving over to Port Hardy for business and to get a load of seaweed for our garden,  it was truly inspiring as I listened to the radio and learned about the new CleanBC program. It basically focuses on reducing emissions and creating new jobs in the clean energy sector through 5 strategies:

1. Better Building

2. Reducing Pollution from Industry

3. Cleaner Transportation

4. Reducing Emissions from Waste

5. Clean Energy Jobs

Funding the program is largely via BC’s Carbon Tax which is currently priced at $35.00/ton of carbon emissions, rising $5.00/ton annually.


Jerry Brown quote Capture



One of the people to speak when during the announcement from the BC government was the the leader of the BC Green Party, Andrew Weaver.  As a climate scientist and past member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Dr. Weaver has  worked tirelessly in this field.  Now as an elected MLA and leader of the BC Green party, Weaver has focused not so much on the problem, but rather on solutions to help transform and end our dependence on fossil fuels. He and countless others is making British Columbia a North American leader  in working to mitigate the climate crises. 


Along with my photos, here I give you excerpts of Andrew Weaver’s speech  from yesterday.


Gathering seawood Dec 6-2018 - bruce witzwl photo



CleanBC repositions BC as a leader in the 21st century low carbon economy

(from Andrew Weaver’s MLA website)


Today, as I speak to you, we are at a pivotal moment in human history: Our generation is responsible for deciding what path the future climate will take.

We will either be complicit in allowing climate change to despoil our world – or we can fight for a different outcome for our children.

 As Sir David Attenborough said Monday in Poland at the UN Climate talks, “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”


At the beach Dec 6-2018 -bruce witzel photo


As a climate scientist, I have spent my entire adult life consumed by this threat and the opportunities that will come with it. . .


In 2007, I had the honour of being on the Climate Action Team that advised Premier Gordon Campbell. That work led to B.C. becoming the first jurisdiction in North America to put a price on carbon.

B.C. stood as an example of how putting a price on carbon is perfectly compatible with prosperity. Our emissions dropped as our economy grew.


BC Carbon fee disbursements 2


And when I saw that leadership and progress being dismantled by the administration that followed, I put my name forward for public office. I knew I would not be able to look my kids in the face if I didn’t do everything I possibly could to fight for their future. . .


By tackling climate change, with carefully designed policies, B.C.’s economy can grow in new ways.  CleanBC offers a pathway for B.C. to be on the cutting edge of the low-carbon economy. This plan is a vital first step towards keeping B.C.’s climate commitments.


 Alert Bay Solar Conversion - comliments from BC Hydro Power Smart Program



Climate change is daunting and overwhelming, yes, but within every challenge lies opportunity. We worked hard to ensure that CleanBC is not just a climate plan – it is an economic vision. It is not just the Ministry of Environment’s responsibility – it is an all of government approach. . .


I have long believed that our children and grandchildren will ask us one of two questions when they look back at the beginning of this century.  It will either be: “How could you let this happen?”

Or, if we choose a different path, they will ask: “How did you solve this problem when so many said you couldn’t?”


Alertbay fire department - compliments BC Hydo power Smart Program


To be a climate scientist one must be an optimist. Frankly, I’ve found it helps you survive politics too.  I am convinced my children will one day ask me the second question. And when they do I will answer: “We prevailed because we worked together. We saw the threat and we knew we had to deal with it.”

181205-mru-horgan-heyman-weaver-mungall-1 Ministers Mulligan with her baby Xavier, Andrew Weaver, George Heyman (Minister of Environment) and Premier John Horgan

I am greatly encouraged by the spirit of hope and collaboration in which this plan was written and thank the government, in particular Minister Heyman, for their efforts in this regard.  There is much work still to be done, but today I feel we are one step closer to that brighter future.


Thank you again, to everyone who has helped us get here.


Andrew Weaver, Dec. 5-2018


 Sunrise at the lake (solar power) Dec 6-2018 - bruce witzel photo


Cheers to the Solar Age that’s is dawning

~ Bruce ~


DYING DAYS (or fall farewell)


Lake on Nov 21-2018 - bruce witzel photo



“It takes a broad vision to know that a piece of the sky and a chunk of the earth lie lodged in the heart of every human being, and that if we are going to care for that heart we will have to know the sky and earth as well …”

Thomas Moore 

~ Care of the Soul ~



Nasturtium and marigolds Nov 12-2018 - bruce witzel photo



Last of fall cosmos photo 2 Nov 19-2018 - bruce witzel photo


Csomos last hurrah  Nov-2018 - bruce witzel photo



Cosmos on pea trellis Nov 2018 -bruce witzel photo



Ninebark berries Nov 19-2018 - bruce witzl photo




Last green peppers in the greenhouse Nov 19-2018 - bruce witzel photo



Last of the nasturtiums Nov 19-2018 - bruce witzel photo



Last marigold Nov 12-2018 - bruce witzel photo



Dying cosmo Nov 12-2018 - bruce witzel photo




Cabin with the sun shinin Nov 201-2018 - bruce witzel photo


“The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves.”

Rachel Carson


Clear day at the lake Nov 18 -2018 bruce witzle photo


What’s up Doc?


Big carrots from our garden Nov 21-2018 - francis guenette photo

 Food for thought . . .

All photos were taken at home this past week – green peppers were in the greenhouse of course.


Cheers –  Bruce

I’ve been to the Mountaintop


On the summits nature delivers the most eloquent and varied sermons.


~ Arthur Oliver Wheeler


Emerald Lake View 4 Yoho National Park British Columbia Nov 10 -2018 - bruce witzel photo


I  drove through the Rocky Mountains two days ago and experienced this beauty of nature in Yoho National Park in British Columbia… you can see other were enjoying it too and I want to share this with you…. Reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of love.


Emerald Lake View 6(tourists) Yoho National Park British Columbia Nov 10 -2018 - bruce witzel photo



Emerald Lake View 7 (tourists) Yoho National Park British Columbia Nov 10 -2018 - bruce witzel photo



Emerald Lake View 5 Yoho National Park British Columbia Nov 10 -2018 - bruce witzel photo


Peace – Bruce


Love [people] even in [their] sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth.


Downtown Castlegar 2, Oct 21-2018 - bruce witzel photo


Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it.



Frank Slide, 1903, Alberta - photo Nov3-2018 by bruce witzel



California pacific coast near Big Sur - bruce witzel photo (2)



Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light.


Hiroshima memorial tree - Zuckenberg Island  on the Columbia River, Castlegar BC  - bruce  witzel photo



Haynes Point Provincial Park, Osoyoos BC, Oct 22-2018 - bruce witzel photo


Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.


Blade of grass in Nancy Green Provincial Park - Oct 22-2018 - bruce witzel photo



Osoyoos Lake Bird Sanctuary (2) Oct 21-2018 - bruce witzel photo


 Wildlife on Osoyoos Lake BC, Oct 21 -2018 - bruce witzel photo


I f you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.


Stroll through the Alberta foothills Oct 29-2018 - bruce witzel photo


Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day.

And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.


—Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


Fran and the kids at the Hillcrest Miner Memorial in Alberta, Nov3-2018 - bruce witzel photo


To my American brothers and sisters to the south – please vote today.

Also to my fellow British Columbians – please consider voting Yes for Proportional Representation before Nov 30 –2018. Your ballot should be in your mail.


Cheers – Bruce


Bruce 2 studying the local Manning Park environs during picnic break Oct 20-2018  francis guenette photo

On Humility



Full moon at the lake July 26, 2018 - bruce witzel photo



Campbell River Chain Saw Sculpture (2) July 2018- bruce witzel photo


We cannot live in a world that is not our own,

in a world that is interpreted for us by others.

An interpreted world is not a home.

Part of the terror is to take back our own listening,

to use our own voice, to see our own light.


Hildegard de Bingen


Venus de Millo (3) statue in Bruce & Fran's garden Sept 24-2018




Speak to them of the great mercy of God…

Sometimes people are helped by your telling

of your own lamentable past.


Francis Xavier


Summer 2018 British Columbia under smoky skies (2)- bruce witzel photo



Brit with a Norse Chain Saw Sculpture - July 2018 - bruce witzel photo



Venus de Millo (3) statue in Bruce and Fran's garden, Sept. 24, 2018


~ In peace and fellowship ~



CRIES of VICTIMS – VOICE of GOD… Ginger Goodwin – 100 years, A WORKERS FRIEND


Ginger Goodwin Gravestone, Cumberland Cemetry BC - bruce witzel photo


At a Regional Park on Comox Lake near the town of Cumberland, British Columbia, the Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers Union erected a sign memorialising labour martyr Ginger Goodwin, who is buried in the local cemetary under a stone inscribed “A Workers’ Friend”.  One side of the sign carries the words to “The Ballad Of Ginger Goodwin.”


Ginger Goodwin memorial in the late 80's or early 90's - photographer unknown


                        BALLAD OF GINGER GOODWIN


                 Ginger Goodwin is a name you don’t often hear or see.
                 They don’t say a word about him in our country’s history.
                 He was a labour leader and he wouldn’t go to war.
                 “While the army breaks our strikes at home, its strikers I’ll fight for.”

                 In Trail back in the summer of 1917.
                 Ginger fought against conscription even though he was class D.
                 But when he led a miners’ strike to spread the eight hour day
                 Conscription checked him out again and found he was class A.

                 Ginger hid from cops and soldiers in the hills near Cumberland.
                 Miners brought him food and sheltered him, they knew he was their friend.
                 So the bosses hired special cops when their power was at stake.
                 Dan Campbell murdered Goodwin at the head of Comox Lake.

                 The whole damn town of Cumberland turned out for the funeral hike.
                 Vancouver’s workers shut her down for a one day general strike.
                 Soldiers back from foreign wars then attacked the labour hall.
                 Both the bosses and the workers knew who caused the Czar’s downfall.

                 You can still see Ginger’s grave along the road to Cumberland.
                 He didn’t win no medals and no one understands.
                 Don’t tell me that a hero has to die in foreign lands.
                 We lost heroes here in labour’s wars and they all had dirty hands.


                                         Song and Lyrics by Richard von Fuchs


Sign at Cumberland Cemetery


Victoria Catholic Bishop Remi De Roo speaks at ceremony at Comox Lake (on June 27, 1987) to dedicate the memorial plaque to slain unionist Albert “Ginger” Goodwin, killed by a conscription officer in 1918. Behind de Roo is Leo Nimsick, a former Mine Mill and Smelter Workers organizer and Mines Minister in the NDP provincial government of Premier Dave Barrett.

Remi De Roo, now 94, also gave a tribute to Dave at his memorial on March 8, 2018 at the University of Victoria Farquhar Auditorium. Remi was a spiritual advisor to Dave Barrett after he left office.


From Simon Fraser University Digital Archives                                                                                             Photo courtesy off Simon Fraser University Digital Archives


“Just as the church in our day has to disassociate itself from structures of domination, so also must Western culture change its model and goals of social power, learning instead to trust and serve the needs of ordinary people. . . 

Nor should we be misled by the East-West ideological confrontation which tends to obscure the deeper reality of structural injustice that threatens global stability. it is tragic that political experiments regarding alternative models, such as Nicaragua for example, are given little chance to survive because of this ideological straight jacket.

Having sat at the same table with peasants and leaders of the Third World, listened to their aspirations and learned from there wisdom, I have no hesitation in saying their hopes and desires are not a matter of being communist or capitalist but of being more self reliant through community ownership and control.”


Excerpted from Cries of Victims, Voice of God – by Bishop Remi De Roo, 1986 


Cheers ~ Bruce

Busy days, under the sun.

Winter Harbour, May 2018 - bruce witzel photo


I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world

and a desire to enjoy the world.

This makes it hard to plan the day.




Guest Cabin, May 2018 - bruce witzel photo


Moe's with scaffold system, May 2018 - bruce witzel photo


clear fir


Windmill blade - May 2018 - bruce witzel photo (2)


My brother Allan has put in a 17 kilowatt Solar Array for his home in Saskatchewan pictured below. He also uses Geo-thermal energy via a heat pump. Good work indeed.

My brother's Solar Array - Al Witzel photo



 Cheers ~ Bruce



Sunset on the lake March 2018 (3)- bruce witzel photo

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