May 18, 2014
A few days ago, I took about a half marathon walk throughout Courtenay/Comox on Vancouver Island, and I have to say, that walk ranks among my favourite in Canada thus far, and I highly recommend going for a stroll there.
This blog will be more photo based, as what I saw is best shared this way. If you take a walk down Comox Road, this is what you’ll see….
All these signs made the walk such a fun scavenger hunt – especially the dick-head one…HAHAHA! Most of them are easily viewable from the road, but a few you wouldn’t see unless you were walking because of the way they are hidden. I love touring by foot for that reason – seeing this country and it’s people for the details.
Between Courtenay and Comox is this really wicked estuary/bird sanctuary you can take a rest at. I met a woman named Liz there who had moved from England to Comox in 1947, and lived there ever since. The two bottom photos I took because of what she told me, and she deemed this “local knowledge.” :). If you look closely at the left mountain picture, see if you can make out the image of a little girl picking flowers….
The right mountain photo is apparently “The Forbidden Plateau.” She didn’t tell me why, but then went on to say a couple climbed it and got married up there last year. Haha….Would have liked to hear more of that wedding story! Perhaps if you go wandering through, ask and see if you can find out the rest.
May 5, 2014
In June of 2011, a lot changed in my life. It seemed every pillar/foundational category of my life (health, relationships, family, career) all stepped on ripe banana peels and fell down tall spiral staircases. I can honestly say that it was the darkest time in my life, and finding motivation and inspiration was exceptionally difficult.
Looking back, it was also the biggest turning point in my life – one that came with the decision to do music full time.
At that point, I was gigging around a bit here and there, and had tried my hand at busking on Granville Island, more for love of the atmosphere than anything -particularly the Ferry Docks and the Market Courtyard. My Dad loved the creme pies there…..However, when I left my previous job to do this, playing at Granville Island essentially became my life line, and there were times when that was so challenging it was scary.
My hat goes off to full time buskers, as you truly need a solid shell, and a deep deep determination to make it work. In my mind, this is the most challenging performance forum, and if you can master that context, you are well equipped to take anything on.
This post, on the other hand, is not about busking. It is about the wonderfully caring and perceptive people that exist in the world, and a recent happening inspired me to share this.
One morning in 2012, when I was in a really difficult headspace, I happened to be busking at 11am in the Market Courtyard at Granville. During my set, I saw two people walking by, drinking out of a coconut. This was amazing to me, as that is one of my FAVOURITE things to eat/drink. I mentioned something mid song to the pair about where they got them, as I wanted to go get one if I earned enough that day. They happily told me, and went on their way.
Near the end of my set, I was floored to see them reappear, a coconut in hand with a straw sticking out of it, which they gently placed near my open guitar case……………………
I was stunned at the kindness of this gesture, and at that time in my life, it meant more to me than I could ever explain. In that single act of thoughtfulness, they launched my spirits into such a warm and positive place…it gave me the drive to get out of one of the deepest funks I have been in, and spurred me on to achieve some incredible things. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life, and refer to it often as my “Coconut Moment.”
One of the pair, Bianca Kempe, creator of an amazing entity Doze, became one of my greatest friends. We actually don’t see each other that often – a few times a year if that, but she’s someone that has always been amazing to connect with. She is changing the world in so many ways, and always inspires me to do more.
Last week before heading out to Vancouver Island for the next segment of my walking tour, I decided to go play at Granville Island one last time, as my license to play there was expiring on May 1st, and I wasn’t going to renew this year. I played for 4 hours that day under the beautiful sunshine, and loved every minute of it.
Right near the end of my last set, who do I see? Bianca, who I hadn’t seen in a year, walking out of the crowd with a coconut in her hand, straw sticking out, and just as before, placed it gently near my guitar case.
I started to mawl…..that is my made up term for manly bawling…haha….the kind where you can’t control the coming forth of tears due to a surge of powerful emotions, but you try nonetheless. Especially when you’re singing amplified.
So, for the second time in my life, I was graced with a Coconut Moment. It left me with a deep seeded, revitalized happiness to know people like Bianca are out there, and that she keeps doing the amazing things that she does.
It’s spectacular how far one thought and act of kindness can go. Doesn’t take much to positively affect someone else’s life :).
May 5, 2014
Many moons it has been since sharing a barding adventure here. Lately I have been reporting more from my email newsletter (email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive these) or my music website http://michaelaverill.com/, but recently I have felt inspired to start writing here again.
Over the last year I have been amazed with the idea that everyone is connected with 6 degrees – ie, through at least 6 people you know somebody who knows somebody……spooky!!
However, my recent year has yielded a great deal of empirical evidence that this in fact, is not the case. I have concluded that it is more accurate to claim 1 Degree of Separation. An example you say? Of course…….:).
Through my I’d Rather Walk Tour, it seems almost every person I meet knows a mutual friend or family member. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Nanaimo Folk Connection Coffee House to meet a woman that shared the same last name – Sue Averill (an amazing host and a wonderful musician). She heard an interview I did with CBC last year, and connected with me out of curiosity due to our mutual last name.
The night happens on the 3rd Friday of every month, with an open stage and a feature act, unplugged/completely acoustic. I played a few tunes and shared the story of my Dad’s song history with CBC, and why I am doing what I am doing now. Afterwards, a man named Mike Sadava, who was playing in the feature band, came to talk to me about a man he knows that is writing a book about walking. He also asks if I know a Mavis Averill…….haha….Mavis is my Aunt, and it turns out that until last year, he lived in the same neighbourhood in Edmonton as my Aunt, my Aunt sang harmonies with him ages ago, and his wife Anne was in a book club with her to boot!
The plot thickens……..
Mike put me in touch with a man named Keith Encinas and his wife Keli- house concert hosts on Vancouver Island, and a truly inspiring family. It worked out for me to play at a fundraiser last night with them to help raise money for the Cancer Society and the Bandwagon Project, driven by The Lion, The Bear, The Fox, and Music Heals. Incredible projects that I was happy to support….and once again, by 1 Degree, I know the guy driving Music Heals (Chris Brandt), so the circle just keeps spinning round……..
Crazy, yet again, how small this blue and green sphere we live on is. I would be willing to bet that at any given time, if you are around people, someone is connected to you via one person!! Just ask :).
On a completely random note – Keith took me to Thetis Lake yesterday in the Victoria region – an absolutely beautiful park and trail system. Highly recommended to go! It is the time of season where the Arbutus trees are shedding their bark, and with a touch of rain, was one of the coolest forests I have walked through. I took a photo of one of the bronzy orange under layer of one tree, and wanted to share it with you below. If you look closely, there is an “HS” carved into the bark…….Any thoughts or made up stories as to what it means or stands for? There will be prizes for the most creative interpretations!
Stay tuned for more barding stories…………………..CAUSE THE BARD IS BACK!!