Friday, March 14, 2008

Paul Stewart and I juggling

Paul Stewart and I were on the front cover of The Undercurrent last week, juggling together.

We have a very cool juggling club here on Bowen Island. Paul is one of the founders of the Club. As a bus driver, he was on strike in 2000 and was looking for something to do on the picket line. He took up juggling and hasn't looked back. He is familiar to most ferry commuters, seen always juggling three balls on his way to and from work. If you ask him how to do that, he puts the balls in your hands and teaches you how to juggle. That is a practice I do as well.

I first started juggling with Paul's son Calder and our friend Toby Volkmann. We used to juggle together as a warm up for taekwondo training. One day Toby suggested that we put together a juggling club. It took a while, but last year the club was launched. We meet at the BICS gym every Saturday from 1-3 or out on the field if the weather is nice. We average about 40 people out every week ranging in age from age 2 to folks in the their late sixties. No experience is necessary, no equipment is necessary and there are no fees. Donations are always welcome. It is a true community experience, full of intergenerational creativity and is great training for the mind, the body and the heart. There is always someone to teach you what you want to learn or to introduce you to challenges that push your abilities.

We have a weblog, a video promotion done by Bowen TV and this week a dozen or more of us are heading over to Victoria for the Victoria Juggling Festival.

Playing together is the best part of being a Bowen Islander.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A garden in progress

When we moved into this house in June 2001, I had a clear vision at some point that the front of our place could be a garden. This was a bit of a pipe dream initially as we had a deck out there, the front is a rocky cliff top and steeply sloped and there is no real access to there, no flow with the rest of our living space. Still, I've been called optimistic to the point of uselessness, so my aspiration was in character.

Last year, our deck rotted off the front and in the course of tearing it down and do some work on the foundation of the house, it suddenly became a lot more possible to do something about the front. We started spending a lot of time walking around down there and visualizing how it might all work out. We courted a few exorbitant estimates for the ladscaping work and were dissuaded by the cost, especially considering that we need a new roof this year.

This past week things changed. Andy at Bowenshire had an opening and his costs were pretty low. Sensing that if we did it this week we might have food this summer, we went for it. In the past four days, there have been diggers and rocks and fill tumbling hither and yon around the front of the property. A deer fence is going in and the rock work is in place. There are two fellas down there laying a flagstone patio and some steps, and we're going to have our builder put in access steps from the front porch and the downstairs office to create a flow.

Finally, after seven years, it looks like we'll be growing at least some of our own food.

And just in time for the announcement of Bowfeast, this August 11-17. Excellent.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sad news from Vancouver Island. Longtime Bowen Islander Heather Croil passed away last week. She moved to Ladysmith a couple of years ago and took a place near the school. The last converation I had with her, she said she was looking forward to learning some skateboarding tricks.

Heather was a delightful Island neighbour. She was very active in the arts community, which is where I often ran into her, at concerts and gallery events. She was curious, supportive, positive and always interested in talking about big ideas, beauty and life on the Rock. She was one of the first people I met on Bowen and I never had a "stop-in-the-Cove" conversation with her that wasn't full of insight and joy.

Condolences to her friends and family who may stop by here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Home for a brief jot. Was able to get out for a leisurely walk this afternoon, around the Cove. The hatchery folks were releasing some coho in the Lagoon and that was fun to watch.

Weather was raining really hard yesterday, but beautiful today and likely to stay the same for tomorrow. There are buds on everything and the crocuses are up in the Memorial Garden. Winter is fading away now.