I don't know about the rest of you, but *I'm* glad to have something other than my standard frozen tundra images of the prairie vista as we have endured one of the coldest and harshest winters for a couple of decades.
My MIA status on this blog last week was due to me being off for a brief visit with family in Victoria BC. I left on one of the foulest, coldest and nastiest weekends of the very long winter--so cold and vicious that the horses weren't even being taken out of the barn due to the windchill--and I flew straight into the sort of spring weather we will see here in another couple or so months, if we are lucky.
The locals in Victoria felt it was a bit cool and that spring wasn't as advanced as usual, but for me just seeing green grass and leaves on some trees, not to mention actual blossoms and flowers, was just amazing. We saw rain most days, but the only day when it would have been a problem was the day we left, so we weren't slowed down much in our activities. I think I walked more hours in a few days than I have logged all winter at home.
My sister's place is wonderfully well located in terms of handiness to interesting walking destinations, and going to the harbour to see the seals was near the top of my list. There were five "regulars" hanging around the Oak Bay docks, and they are well used to visitors bringing them fish offerings. The seal in my first photo has figured out how to work the crowd to good effect. The "wave" is a winning tactic that is pretty well always rewarded with a treat.
An interesting sidebar in my personal history is that when I was a quite young child my family used to visit friends in Oak Bay on summer holidays. I think I would have been only five or six at the time, but I remembered a few things about their house, and also clearly recall walking to the harbour to the docks, and feeding the seals. So here I am sixty years later, walking by the same house on the way to the same docks, and feeding the seals, possibly descendants of the ones I remember from so long ago.
I wanted to see Butchart Gardens, so since the rain wasn't too bad on our first day, we headed off for a tour. Even though this is off season, there was still much to see and enjoy in the way of interesting visuals, including a few of the classic northwest native totem poles that are icons of the area.
Shot three is also from Butchart gardens. Quite a contrast to the snow-covered plains I came from.
Meanwhile, back at the harbour, here is a shot of the retreating fog bank as seen through the branches of one of the massive trees along the harbour walk. When the tide was low or out, the lichens on the rocks were a rich source of photos for me with a wealth of colour and texture that I hope to use as inspiration for encaustic art.
We never did see any evidence of mountains due to the low cloud cover while we were there, but I believe this is the right direction to look if it is clear. When the tide was out I got right into the midst of these rocks for my colour and texture shots.
Another bonus of Oak Bay is that the northwestern crow is the local equivalent of the pigeon in other areas of most cities. They are everywhere and compared to the ones I am used to in Saskatchewan, they are very "tame" and non-spooky. I got a lot of crow shots which I will put to good use in future artwork. That's my daughter standing on the rocks--I was lucky that she was willing and able to join me on my west coast trip. I pretty much need a keeper in order to get from point A to B, and she did a good job.
All in all, we were there for a good time, not for a long time, but when it's such a total break from the usual, it's well worth getting away from winter for a bit. And further good news is that the weather here has finally broken, with temperatures edging up above freezing and lots of sun. The snow is starting to melt!!