Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Summer of '14

On September 22nd, fall 'officially' began. As if scripted, with it came a sudden drop in temperature, the disappearance of the sun, and a whole lot of rain. These changes felt so significant because, accompanied by amazing weather, Summer 2014 was truly epic for us, and for me personally, so we were sad to see it become history.
Just as Summer 2014 ended with the acknowledged calendrical commencement of all things autumnal, so it began in the same manner with the official start of summer, namely the summer solstice on the third weekend of June. Just as we have for the last two third-weekends-in-June, we made our way to pretty Mayne Island for the wonderful Campbell Bay Music Festival. For all kinds of reasons it was great in 2012 and 2013, but this year was truly exceptional, delivering not only, on the Saturday, the best single day's live music I've ever had the joy of witnessing but, in Boston's Bent Knee, one of the greatest live bands I've ever seen. It was a towering performance that will stay with us until our dying days, setting our life's paths on a slightly different direction. Check this band out at all costs.
We've seen some other great shows this summer. Most recently we saw the delightful Kelley McRae play a West Coast Session house concert for our friends, Paul and Catherine. Prior to that we were thrilled with an imaginative two-plus hour set by the seemingly ageless Elton John in Vancouver, and charmed by Victoria's gorgeous baroque-folk outfit West My Friend in our friends' Jason and Tonia's verdant front yard, on a balmy August evening.
We also all but melted in temperatures in the mid-to-high 30s at the Vancouver Island MusicFest, but witnessed incredible performances by Cam Penner, The Honeycutters, Quique Escamilla and Birds of Chicago, to name but four. On the downside, crappy seats was the story of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at Vancouver's grand, yet obviously dreadfully designed Orpheum Theatre. Warning: if you book tickets in that venue's upper balcony, don't bother going as you'll waste your money in seeing precisely nothing. (As the mood has briefly darkened here, what the hell was it with the awful new albums from The Belle Brigade and Bishop Allen? What gives?!)
There were more musical highlights, but apart from Bent Knee the very best was being party to a 9-month-old baby girl's first ever experience of live music. At the Filberg Festival in Comox our friends' Steve and Lynn's little one, CeCe, greeted the arrival of Royal Wood onstage by leaning forward and staring, remaining transfixed, silent, for the entire set. It was a beautiful thing to witness, moving me to tears.  
We spent lots of time with friends, revelling in the season and celebrating various life milestones some of them reached. On the domestic front we spent a bunch of time at home, always a joy in our fantastic house. This summer's major project was getting the entire exterior repainted; it looks gorgeous. The shed roof was replaced, and barely a week went by without a tweak here; an improvement, upgrade or beautification there. Spending time in the yard this summer, I took the bull by the horns and worked like a demon to get the very best out of our fruit trees ,and began planting what we hope will be a very fruitful garden in the years ahead. 
Then there was the previously blogged about Relay for Life, a massive experience for me. And, as also blathered on about, this summer was a huge season of change and personal development for me. I've lost almost 30lb, decided to get some tattoos (October 14, here we come!), and simply - if that's the right word - felt a genuine positive shift occurring in my life, as if I'm being guided by some unseen force. It's really interesting and all good, so very good!
There's more, of course. Lots more but, on the eve of the third anniversary of my proudly becoming a Canadian citizen, I'll cap it here. This was a summer that will live long in the memory, one that has fed us a lot of energy and inspiration as we welcome and embrace the fall, the season of transition that this year I seem in lockstep with to get the very best out of it. That's exactly what I plan to do!
Like anyone, we have our challenges to face and obstacles to overcome, but as things stand life is good, really good, and we're very grateful for our situation. Summer 2014 had a big part to play in this.