I’m back. It was my kid’s fault

There is a big hole in my walking reports, though not in my walking. My son, Brian, who lives in southern Ontario, joined me for almost a week, ending today. We drove and hiked and walked and explored. The days flew by, and the five full days were over in the blink of an eye. There was no chance I could keep up with the reports.

So … here’s what I am doing. Today, I will do the report from today. Then I will catch up the pieces between. It might not be in day to day format, as I am not sure if I will have it all straight. However, I certainly remember the events that match the pictures, right down to the emotion when we first saw some of the views.

My walk today was one with purpose. I set out to buy mushrooms at about 3pm, planning to cut through Beacon Hill Park to Cook Village, a little shopping area we discovered while driving a few days ago. I’ve featured the park in an earlier post, but I was on new turf for about half of this walk. The peacocks were out in great numbers — note how I have gone from “Wow! a peacock,” to “how many today.”  It’s a pretty park, and I have still not covered the entire grounds.

Cook Village has some cute shops, but the one I zeroed in on is an open-air produce market with great produce and reasonable prices. Victoria is rich with great produce, but a little short on reasonable prices (unless you compare it to Salt Spring island prices, of course). The man who runs this shop is forever old, and loves his goods. When he talks about the latest arrivals he is excited about, refusing to buy would be like rejecting his children. Luckily, he is flogging good stuff.

I did get disturbing news, however. In chatting with a couple of women with dogs, I discovered that it is a cardinal (OK, a ticketable) offense to leave your dog tied while you run into a store. I do that all the time. Kenna just lies down and waits for me, and I am never long. But here, apparently, that is against the law, and it is (according to my sources) aggressively policed. Grrr! One of my sources did take an interest in Kenna, though, and she shot, and later shared, some great pictures of her.

I did get my mushrooms, by giving the produce guy my money and asking him to pick out my mushrooms — from the sidewalk while I “attended” my dog. He won my heart again by muttering that it was a stupid law, and that the dog police had “lost their minds.”

The west sidewalk along Cook Street is actually a bark-covered path that I couldn’t resist, concrete hater that  I am. That brought us to the dog park, so Kenna got a long romp. A very, verrryyy long romp. The fading light on the ocean was too stunning to resist. Not a brilliant sunset in the traditional terms, but a monochrome delight. I sat in one spot just drinking in the view, and then moved on to a new point I discovered, overlooking the beach. It came complete with a lone man standing absolutely still contemplating the same view.

That guy, Sean, as it turns out, was responsible for the last long chat that turned my mushroom run into a 2.5 hour odyssey.  I always talk to people, but it’s rare that I get into such deep conversations with strangers. (Maybe in Oregon, along the beach.) We talked about house size, disparity between rich and poor, politics, career choices,  freedom, relationships.  He knows much about my history and family. I know where he is from, how he landed in Victoria, and that his girlfriend is off in Nepal at an Ashram. It was wonderful.

People often wonder how I can go off for long periods to places where I don’t know a soul. The answer is that I don’t remain in that state for very long. I rarely make lasting relationships on a trail, or the beach (though it has happened), but I have intense, finite connections on a regular basis. Tonight Sean made up for missing my friends and family at home. It’s no accident I’m sure, that it happened today. I did feel a void when Brian left this morning.





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