Saturday 7 January 2017

West coast winter wonders

The waning days of the old year are often a hurried time of excitement and excess. For me, they provided a time to slow down and appreciate the quiet wonder of this part of the world. I had my own rush of activity as I wrapped up workshops and commissioned artworks with Christmas delivery dates, this coloured pencil drawing of a warbler among them:

I then slipped away from the frigid mainland into the embrace of that most wonderful of places: the west coast of Vancouver Island. A funky beach-front house, open stretches of sand, and glorious vistas of surf and shoreline were mine to enjoy, with the good company of my sister and her family, for a blissful week of long walks and awe-inspiring moments when the beauty of the place simply becomes too much for words.

As always, the local wildlife provided picture-perfect moments:

And a certain small black cocker spaniel simply couldn't get enough time on the beach chasing her beloved ball!


Over the course of a week, weather conditions ran the gamut. Sub-zero temperatures on arrival were blown away by a frantic gale with 100km-per-hour winds, making beach walking a challenge! Rising temperatures brought gentle rain after which the clouds cleared to reveal the glorious winter sun. There were moments when sitting on the deck in the sunshine with a cup of tea was the best thing in the world; a rare mid-winter treat. 

At nightfall, Venus could be observed shining brightly and stars twinkled with a clarity that can only be observed in places remote from city lights. My sleeping quarters were a glass-roofed solarium and one morning I awoke to a gift: the sight of a bald eagle soaring above me against the backdrop of clear blue sky. That image will stay with me forever without the aid of a photograph. 

This winter on the west coast is truly a time of quiet wonders, abundant gifts that don't come from any store.

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