When I returned to Victoria in February 2007 after my first prolonged absence since I initially moved here in 2004, I lived in the growing area known as “The Railyards” in Vic West. At the time, there were only a couple of townhouse/condo buildings there. Now the area has exploded with popularity. There were a number of things I loved about living there; proximity to downtown, views overlooking the Gorge waterway, and being right on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail were just some of the perks. I often did my grocery, or vegetable anyway, shopping just over the bridge in Chinatown.

Then I came back from Offshore and moved out to the “suburbs”. Not quite as far out as I had lived during my undergrad and certainly a more manageable bicycle ride into town (20-25 min), but nevertheless, not downtown. And there I lived from October 2008 until December 2011. It was wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the perks of that area.

However, now that I am downtown, I am basking in my downtown-ness. The other week, I walked the four short blocks to my friends house and we walked her dog around downtown, coffee in hand. Sunday morning – New Years Day – I rolled out of bed less than half an hour before church began and made it in the door before the opening hymn. My commute to work is less than 10 minutes on the bicycle. But the thing that I enjoyed most today was a quick stroll down to Chinatown to obtain a tea ball for my teapot and do some vegetable shopping at my favorite Chinatown market.

It was doing that thing right on the edge of actually raining. That light sprinkle on already wet streets that gives a certain glow to the city. Add to the rain that twilight time of night when the lights are already glowing as well as Christmas lights still up all over the city, and you have a lovely evening of walking around and looking at glowing, reflecting lights twinkling all around. I began taking pictures just before entering the market, and by the time I left, not fifteen minutes later, the sun was well and truly down and darkness had descended on Chinatown. However the lights lit up the area like beacons in the darkness.

It’s September?

Apparently getting back into town means one has to already be running at top speed when land is hit. Since I arrived home on Friday, I have managed to take first aid, schedule orientation shifts at a new job (more later), attend 2 meetings and give a presentation at a third, work, sleep, eat … you get the picture. All of this sunshine doesn’t help with the need to be indoors to accomplish most of this. I’ve got some crafty stuff I want to finish – inside – but find myself fairly reluctant to stay indoors when it is so stunningly gorgeous outside. I just want to be outside with a book! Not inside with a sewing machine!

I did manage, partially because this machine travels outside, to get through some of my photos and put about a dozen of my favourites online. They’ve been added to my Sailing the West Coast album, beginning with this photo.

UPDATE: It appears that I’ve been slack on the updating of photos. So in the Europe album, begin here for some from my time in France last spring and in the Daily Life album, beginning here are a few from this summer.

This week on Offshore

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile. It was prompted by a sudden recollection of running into a Japanese pop duo performing whilst a friend and I were wandering a mall during our weeks of being stranded in Okinawa – 3 years ago this week (I remember because it was around Valentine’s Day when we were in the mall… they were into Valentine’s Day in a big way in Japan). Then I wondered, what else happened this week on Offshore?

We finally left the Island of Okinawa and the wonders of its shopping streets. Crossing the South China Sea and experiencing a series of mishaps: snapping a fore stay, breaking the stove, and exploding anchor winch hydraulic lines, we finally ran up Chinese colours and entered the Yangtze River. There were possibly more boats than we’d seen all at once in months (or ever) and the banks of the Yangtze and Huangpo rivers were overloaded with boats and buildings, garbage and miscellaneous detritus. Finally, we were able to dock in Shanghai with a stunning view of Pudong.

Still Light

I took this on my phone tonight, as I got home from practicum site #1 in time to shove some food in my mouth before heading out to practicum site #2 for some evening appointments. The interesting thing about having a schedule that does not vary each week is that I can see the changing of times of light and dark much easier.

For example, I got up at 5:30 this morning to head to yoga. On my ride home at 7:30, the sun was peeking over Mt Tolomie and starting to turn the tops of the trees beside the road a beautiful fiery gold. Last month, it was still pitch black at that time of day. And then again in the evening: Monday nights I am usually heading home around 5:30 and Tuesday nights I head out to site #2 at around the same time. On each of those trips in the last two days I have stopped to contemplate whether or not I needed to turn my bicycle lights on or if it was still light enough to safely ride. Last month, it was pitch black by 4 or 4:30.

Slowly but surely the days are getting longer.

When I took this picture and posted it on instagram tonight, I put the caption “Still Light” on it because, well, it was still light outside at 5:30. Reflecting later however, I realized how it captures a moment of stillness, of quiet, and that it is an image of wonderfully still light. Light is anything but still though. But the stillness of the tree be-ing in light is something I am now thinking about.

May Some Light Enfold

This is taken from (and adapted with my own photos) Episcopal Cafe Art Blog.

I feel myself in need
Of the inspiring strains of ancient lore,
My heart to lift, my empty mind to feed,
And all the world explore.

I know that I am old
And never can recover what is past,
But for the future may some light unfold
And soar from ages blast.

I feel resolved to try,
My wish to prove, my calling to pursue,
Or mount up from the earth into the sky,
To show what Heaven can do.

Words by George Moses Horton (in “George Moses Horton, Myself”)

Photos by myself: Trial Island and Mt Baker; Solitary Paddler, Munda, New Georgia; The Boathouse, Thetis Island; On Top of the World: Tavish on Moorea, French Polynesia.

The Year in Review

This year…

January… I didn’t do much other than school. But I did spend some time wandering around Chinatown with my camera.

February… I caved and went over to check out all the fuss around the Olympics. I ended up wandering around with my friend Clare and bumped into a bunch of other people I knew. It was cold, grey, and wet, but now I can say I’ve been to the Olympics.

March… I, and some others, did a series of interactive, contemporary reworking of the Stations of the Cross as an installation in the south lawn of the Cathedral. It was really well received and quite impacting for those of us who created it as well.

April… My cousin got married! I went to Montreal for the wedding.

May… The conference I spent far too many hours working on finally happened on my birthday. I got to have a birthday lunch with Brian McLaren!

June… I went to Portland for an Episcopal Church mission conference. I road-tripped down and had a lot of fun!

July… spur-of-the-moment trip to France! On my friend’s boat! Viva la France!

August… I finally got to Symphony Splash on the long weekend. The Victoria Symphony plays a concert from a barge in the middle of the Inner Harbour. We sat on the lawn of the Legislature for the show. It culminates with the 1812 Overture, complete with fireworks shot off from one of the Navy boats.

September… I didn’t take many pictures. I didn’t do much other than school. I did pick a lot of blackberries though.

October… Also took very few photos…

November… Jen and I went to San Francisco!

December… It snowed in Victoria again! And I went to Edmonton for Christmas.

Because it never just rains

… it floods.

I’m flooding the world with postings all of a sudden. I finally got around to updating my photo site. In the Daily Life album, you can find a half-dozen or so new photos at the end, including the one and only photo from my time in France this summer that I saw fit to add. There is a limited-time San Francisco album with about 20 photos from our trip earlier this month. It will stay up there for an undetermined time and, when I get around to it, my favourites will be shifted to other albums and I’ll delete the rest to clear up space. Enjoy!