Monday, October 21, 2013

Ah yes, I remember it well?

"You're all a bunch of liars", a fellow newcomer to Victoria says accusingly, smirking at me as he speaks.

Having heard of the tales of the dull, dreary, damp and wet months beginning in Oct and lasting well into April, we've all been psyching ourselves for it (read my last post and you'll see this is true).
Sure there was the amazing rain/wind storm a few weeks ago which would have carried Mary Poppins back to England (and probably stripped her bare in the process) had she dared open up her umbrella but it's been quiet as a lamb since then...and for the most part sunny, dry and warm.

We were told by a Victorian that this kind of storm was a bit of a fluke for this time of year. She also said, "We're really going to be in for it this winter though." Seems such a long stretch of phenomenal weather makes people uneasy in these parts - someone has to pay.

Hell, I lived here for about 10 years, from the mid '70's to the mid '80's and the "reality" I experienced, was that fall is rainy and dull.

From personal experience, what's also stuck in my brain is the "fact" that we don't get a "real" fall out here. A fact I shared with many others...

And then we drove up island for Thanksgiving. The evergreen forest, was resplendently dotted with warm orange, yellow ochre and burnt sienna patches; fields were filled with multicolour autumn hues. Though whole hillsides here aren't blanketed with the lit-from-within, full spectrum brilliance of an Ontario fall, the showing of the season was respectable and left me with that familiar warm glow.

The rowers in training at golden rimmed Elk Lake

A lovely meadow in its fall display at Mount Washington 
There are streets in Victoria lined with trees just like this.
Who knew? Apparently not me.

"You must have been living under a rock," my friend said. "I don't think you ever got outside in all the time you lived here."

It got me to asking, where was I, what was I doing way back then that I didn't see this?

Perception and memory are not reliable pegs upon which to hang a picture of reality.

The financial struggle of those years not only influenced the experiences that were available to me but also my perception of the environment in which I lived. That I loved Victoria and felt that I belonged here were absolute truths despite the fact that I juggled jobs: teaching yoga and weight training, house-sitting, modelling, gardening, waitressing, washing dishes, life guarding, freelancing as an artist; in the support of my hobbies (which I hoped one day would become my profession) yoga and cartooning. When I wasn't working I was taking workshops and classes in yoga or at sketching at my drawing board into the early hours of the morning. I'd hang out in cafés with friends; going out to dinner was a special treat. When work dried up, as it would do now and again, I'd cartoon some more, do longer yoga sessions, run, bike, take more classes (which were free for teachers) go to the shore, or the library.

I got to know the neighbourhoods where I lived, I just didn't travel very far or explore much of what the island had to offer. Nothing existed beyond my own little sphere.

But as busy as I was, as broke as I was, the island gave me time to explore my passions in a peculiarly self-driven, introverted way. This place, this island and the time I spent here, drew me inwards to the depth of my soul.

During my 27 year long absence from the island relationship and family demands drew me out of myself; I related to the world in a different way. When I returned to Vancouver Island for four 2 - 3 week visits it was always in August.

This is my first fall here as a returning resident and certainly my first fully rounded experience of this season. Changes in the circumstances of my life allow me to see things anew. How fortunate I am to get another chance to live here, to take in many of the things that I missed the first time around and explore what is here for me now that wasn't back then.

You can't go back home again and that wasnt' my intention for my life back here. Victoria has changed in subtle ways and I am not the same person who left 27 years ago.

New adventures await!

*        *        *


I'm loving drumming class! It's the perfect way to get the ya ya's out for me. You don't have to know music to make music of a sort - right up my alley. I can feel it doing things to my brain too...good things.

I eavesdropped in on the Spanish conversational cafe night shortly after my previous post. I "read" from my Kindle while catching pieces of conversation here and there. It became obvious to me that I had to check my reactions to what was being said - I had to stifle laughs and keep from looking at the cute shoes someone was being asked about - or I'd be busted. The next week I showed up, put my loonie down and stepped up to the table. I was drenched in sweat by the time I left. It's one thing to understand a foreign language, another to speak it. I've got my work cut out for me.

Tonight I took a vinyasa flow yoga class, taught by Fiji at HEMMA and later wrote in FB...
"I felt very grateful during yoga class tonight to be in such a wonderful centre, in the company of fellow yogis. Grateful that my body still enjoys the challenge and delight of vinyasa flow, especially since my mat (which is over 30 years old) is older than many of the other students in the class.
A fellow student came up to me asking where I got my "travel" mat and I had to laugh. It IS the perfect "travel" mat and fits into my bike bag: light, foldable and durable; they don't make them like that anymore. I think it originally was brought over from India by another teacher. I use it only when weight and size is an issue partly because it leaves little bits behind every time I use it.
I will be sad to see it go as it's gone everywhere with me; hopefully I can get a few more years out of it."

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