Roots and Blues and Osprey Views – Hu Naylor takes it all in

Music festival season is coming, so, to get you in the mood, we’re happy to share this post from Hu Naylor.

The Roots and Blues Festival, August 2015, was memorable for Jan and myself.

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The photo sets the festival scene – typical Jumbotron depicting action on the stage but wait! What’s that anomalous pole doing to the right of the screen?

John Tschopp tells me that the citizens of Salmon Arm on Shuswap Lake install poles to provide nesting sites for the numerous ospreys in the area, deprived by the march of civilization of many natural sites.

The lake provides an exotic buffet of osprey food. Think, for example, of the millions of Adam’s River juvenile sockeye salmon spending their first year in the lake.

The plan is working well here as the osprey takes in the stage show while waiting for dinner to arrive.

Our beautiful yellow tent is nestled in a campground across a bay from the festival site where we spent placid coffee-drenched mornings watching the aerial antics of the predator birds in the bay before the action cranks up on the festival grounds.

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But it is evening now and the drama starts to unfold. At the end of a typical hazy hot music-filled August afternoon, a Chinese musician with Mongolian roots is on the main stage.

The air is still but a glance behind reveals dark clouds with a veil of descending rain covering the sky. Is it moving our way? A few drops serve a warning but periodic glances suggest that the storm, by now with thunder and lightening is not coming towards us. It is hanging motionless in the distance. The evening light is fading over the hills casting a grey pall over the scene, contrasting with the floodlit joyous chaos on the stage.

Remember that osprey pole? From out of the gloom the silhouetted form of an osprey appears, does a couple of circles over the nest before a slow descent. Probably extra slow stretching out the moment because he/she has something special for supper and wants to make a dramatic entrance. In her talons is a writhing snake. Must be a water snake. Can you imagine the chaos in the nest with the rest of the family having to deal with this writhing creature?

Other senses, meanwhile, immersed in the magic of Haangai.

The evening comes to an end finally but one more surprise awaits us. The storm “in the distance” turned out to have been hovering over our campsite while we were bird watching. The soggy campground was littered with fallen branches and a couple of downed cottonwoods. Our tent (affectionately known to us by the manufacture’s title of Big Aggie), was in tact, having successfully dodged all of the storm’s falling debris.

All that was left was an exchange of news of the day between ourselves and Aggie.

And of course a little cuddle.

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