Sunday, September 29, 2013

End of Season

I've been ignoring local news since we got here, most especially anything to do with the weather. Last week's daily weather report announced, "It's going to rain today and for the next few days."

The view just steps from the front of our building
The last cruise ship of the season. They'll return at the end of April

Sure, the days started out overcast and there may have been a drop of two, but sunny skies prevailed. So when I hear such predictions I just nod, "umm hmm" and go ahead with my plans for a bike-ride, walk or drive to a hiking spot.

But when I heard that the last cruise ship was to come in today, this update is real and final and leaves me feeling a little sad. Victoria will go into a slumber for the next few months, sidewalk activity will wrap up and the outdoor markets will close for the season.

And, as of yesterday, the rains have begun.

I will miss the buskers, the sidewalk activity, the energy and vibrancy that the hoards of tourists bring with them. While driving, I won't have to play frogger with so many tour buses, carriages, pedi-cabs and sightseers obliviously wandering out into traffic captivated by all that is Victoria, hoisting their cameras at impossible angles to get just the right shot.
So, you're walking along and you see a captivated crowd hanging over the street wall.
You're going to want to check it out and we did...
...and we came upon this entertaining guy with a great patter,
unicyclist/juggler extraordinaire, AKRON
At the end of the show he tossed his hat up to the crowd
 standing on the street above. The first woman couldn't catch it.
So he tried again and the one who caught it
 was thereby elected collect donations
and return the hat to Akron.

We came upon Ian, the chalk artist a few days later.
I dropped some coins in his tin.
He called us over and said,
"Stand on this X
and look through your camera."
And here you have it. Cool, eh?

This guy is a regular.
Here he was at the Chalk Festival (when this pic was taken)
and you'll often catch him at the inner harbour.
I watched him one overcast, dull and slow day as he stood motionless
for too long a stretch;
 only a coin tossed in his tin will release him from his pose.
So, I went down and made my offering saying, "I think you need a break.
I used to be a model so I kinda know how it feels."
He just put his hands to his heart for a moment
and then took up another pose right away.
Believe me this is a challenging way to make a living.
Here's a little about him:
"CLARK M. CLARK - Master of Stillness -
Life imitates art and art comes to life
as internationally renown human statue Plasterman
 delights and surprises people of all ages
in his hometown.
Strangely and beautifully intriguing!"
Info from the International Victoria Buskers Festival 2013

NOTE TO TOURISTS - If you're coming down to the harbour bring some coin and small bills to fund this great, fun stuff.

So, I extend my thanks to all who made this summer such a great experience I'll hunker down for the fall/winter rainy season and find out just what it has to offer the "locals". I'm told that Victoria has more restaurants per capita than any other city in Canada; second only to San Francisco if you take in North America. So, I think they've got their priorities right.

I'm checking out things to do to entertain myself. Weekly drumming classes (started last week with Jordan Hanson) are getting me in touch with my djembe drum and though my hands don't exactly dance with lightning speed - more like stumble along actually - my heart sings as I fulfil a long held desire to play some sort of musical instrument or at least something that holds the promise of someday sounding musical.

Kirtan, a form of bhakti yoga involving call and response chanting, has enabled me to "sing" my little heart out, get the "ya ya's" out and clear emotional and psychic debris while cultivating deep gratitude for all that is and a sense of oneness. More than anything, this has drawn me to yoga centres. I've gone to 3 so far. I attended the musical fall equinox celebration at THE YOGA STUDIO in Sidney. This was a more modern, western influenced, upbeat form. There I was warmly welcomed back to the island by my friend Jeannie who was a fellow yoga teacher trainee in the '70's.

I had another reunion with a yoga teacher/friend from the '70's, whom I hadn't seen for over 27 years, when I attended her class at a local church. Yoga has provided me with life long friends and is helping me make new acquaintances.

Other yoga studios headed by friends are beckoning me.

If, I can work up the nerve, my goal this week is to attend a Spanish speakers meet up at a coffee shop in Cook St Village.

Oh, and my own dream workshops are percolating; the first will happen in late October.

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