My Victoria Birds – Part One

I added about a dozen new birds to my list on my trip to Victoria. Some pictures are good, some not so good, but as I always say “a poor picture is better than no picture”. Here are my first six:

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay

Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Barred Owl

Barred Owl (from the back)

Violet-green Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Bushtit

Bushtit

Finality

Wednesday, I returned home and was thrilled with my trip to Victoria. Thursday, Bill’s headstone was put in place and I was back in the pit of despair.

Bill died on October 5th. It was difficult, but it wasn’t final because we hadn’t had his funeral yet.

His funeral was on October 10th. It was difficult, but it wasn’t final because the Martensville cemetery wasn’t completed so he couldn’t be interred.

His ashes were interred November 4th. It was difficult, but it wasn’t final because it soon snowed so the headstone couldn’t be put in place until the spring.

On Thursday, his headstone was put in place. It was difficult and final.

If I’ve learned anything over these last six months since Bill died, it’s that grief is not logical. It’s not that he was any less dead before all the steps were completed, but believe me, it made a difference. Sometimes reality sucks. And sometimes finality sucks.

I had a good long cry. And continue to be weepy. And that’s okay. I loved him deeply. I miss him daily. Rest in peace, my love.

IMG_2396

Victoria

On Good Friday I flew to Victoria, BC for a few days holiday. I’d never been to Victoria before and hadn’t done a solo plane trip for over thirty years. My first adventure as a widow.

It was wonderful! My flight arrived about 11:30 BC time and by the time I picked up my rental car and made it to my accommodations it was after midnight. I also rented a GPS, which I loved once I figured out how to use it, but it turns out midnight was not the time to start learning! Thankfully I had printed out directions to where I was staying.

Speaking of which, I used Airbnb for the first time as well (so many firsts!). It’s a site where you can find accommodation in people’s homes rather than using a hotel. It’s cheaper and homier. The place I stayed was called the Nutcracker Suite. It’s owners are Bill and Marg – they live upstairs and the suite is in the walk-out downstairs. Wonderful people! Even though I arrived after midnight they were up to welcome me. I had a living room, a full kitchen, a bathroom with shower, a bedroom with a desk, and a little patio out back. For less than $77 a night! I highly recommend it.

The next morning I figured out the GPS (I know this is getting tiresome, but using a GPS was another first for me!). I called the voice Martha. Her and I got along splendidly. She’s not much for chit chat, but that girl knows her way around! I loved how whenever I missed a turn she just calmly gave me a new route. Except one time, when I swear she was getting desperate – I was leaving the Lighthouse Restaurant in Nanaimo and didn’t follow her directions. I knew the street I was on would take me back to the road I came in on so I didn’t worry about it. But she kept bravely trying to direct me. “Turn left on” such and such, “Turn left” on a different such and such, and so on rapidly one after another. I swear her voice was beginning to rise and I fully expected her to cry out “For God’s sake woman – turn left!” But she didn’t and we eventually got back into sync.

Before I left home I joined the Victoria Nature Society. I had checked their website out and saw that they were doing lots of guided field trips while I was there so I joined up. What a wonderful group! I was going to go on four trips, but only made it to three because I wanted to revisit one area we had gone to. The people were so friendly and knowledgeable. I have lots of new birds to add to my list. I just have to get through the pictures and get them posted.

Did I mention how green it was there? I smelled newly mown grass on Easter Sunday. How great is that? Every morning I could hear birds singing. There were flowers everywhere. (I even had to take some allergy medicine because of all the pollen.) It was sunny every day I was there. It was heavenly.

I have two friends, Kris and Pat, who live in Comox so we met up in Nanaimo for supper one night. So good to see them.

I also have a writing friend, Anne, who has retired to Victoria and actually lived only a few kilometers from where I was staying. She and I went to the Butchart Gardens (via the scenic route – Martha stayed in the glove compartment). What a breathtakingly beautiful garden! Truly amazing. And to think it could have just been left an abandoned quarry if it wasn’t for the forward thinking and generosity of one woman and her husband.

We also headed to Sydney to take in a quilt display at the museum there. Amazing work! We walked along the pier before heading up to the top of Mount Douglas (by car) to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the area. I had supper with her and her husband, Waldo, at their home. Such great friends.

Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary was my favourite birding site. I went there with a group on Sunday morning and returned on my own Tuesday morning. I was going to check out Christmas Hill as well, but (surprise, surprise) got my directions mixed up and ended up walking around the lake twice instead. Guess I should have been carrying Martha!

In the afternoon, I decided to check out Beacon Hill Park and Fisherman’s Wharf. Funny, it didn’t look that far on the map! Seven kilometers later (with a few wrong turns thrown in, of course – shoulda had Martha) I had done/survived the loop and celebrated by having fish and chips at Fisherman’s Wharf. It was beautiful weather though, so I really did enjoy the walk. Let’s just say the couch felt awfully good once I got back to my place.

Flew home Wednesday morning. I had to come back early, because my last quilting class was Wednesday night and I didn’t want to miss it or I’d never know how to finish my quilt! Now I just have to finish it before I forget how to do it. I’ve loved taking the class and will post a picture of the finished product once it’s done. And in my usual “grab it and run” style, I already have ideas for a bunch more quilts. :)

So that was my trip. I really needed it. And truly, I feel like a piece of my soul has been restored.

I’m already looking forward to returning next year at Easter!