Wednesday, May 04, 2016

At the Intersection of Nature and Industry

We humans have not done very well at taking care of our earth. I'm glad that we're more conscious of the effects of our industry and living habits, but we have such a long ways to go.

I'm always encouraged by creation's resilience, and how, left alone, will slowly and inexorably reclaim mankind's harsh bootprints. You have only to let a garden go for a year or two - for blackberries and weeds will encroach - to see this effect.

Tod Inlet is such a place. Once a busy industrial port that shipped Portland cement all over the world, it's now a peaceful, quiet parkland. Remnants of the past remain, and will be evident for a long time, but in less than one hundred years their mark is already fading. 

This photo, from the Butchart Garden archives, shows the area as it once was. The two tall chimney stacks, the wharf, houses for workers, and other buildings are mostly gone now. We enter Tod Inlet, by boat, from the top right of the photo and anchor on the left, out of view. It's quiet and protected, a beautiful and peaceful place.

The long cleared space in the middle of the photo is now the entrance road to the Gardens, and just to the top left of that space is where the Sunken Garden would be. 

This one chimney is left, visible from the gardens themselves, and from the Inlet. There are a few foundations of old homes still evident. There is an archaeological project going on at Tod Inlet these days, uncovering more evidence of the lives once lived there. 

These cement pilings remain, and I love to photograph them from all angles, from shore and from the water. When we anchor in Tod Inlet, I like to take the little dinghy out for a row and poke around along the shore, seeing what I can see.

When we were there a few weeks ago, I paddled fairly close to get this photo. The pilings are homes for mussels and perches for purple martin homes. 

 The narrow road that leads to the Inlet is now a walking path, frequented by many in search of Nature's peace. Canada Geese paddle by, ducks land with feet braced, moon jellyfish proliferate, and blue herons stalk the mud flats near the mouths of the two small streams that enter the inlet. Humans shape and use the earth for benefit, yet, when we leave, Nature has her way.


  1. It is surprising that those remnants still remain after all these years...
    I would hope that today most companies would be responsible for cleaning up once they close down the business.
    You have taken lovely pictures of these relics from the past...I quite like the rusted bit of metal.

  2. Anonymous5:51 PM

    I think God will restore what the locusts and we humans have eaten on this earth. At least I hope so. I'm hoping we are on a good road to recovery and better care of our planet.

  3. Nature seems to have her way in spite of us. Interesting photos.

  4. You are so right Lorrie that in many places we have not preserved our earth and yet we were created to be her stewards. The once barren area surrounding the Sudbury nickel mines in northern Ontario has come full circle with the eager and determined community working for many years to return it to a lush and beautiful place to live, inhabited by wildlife again.
    You have captured the ghosts of the pilings from a good angle showing bird houses on top to beckon life above the water as well as that which is thriving below.

  5. I love all your photos..especially the pilings...very good post.

  6. Very insightful post and I really appreciated these interesting pictures. I really pray that with the increasing awareness all around in preserving our planet, that it keeps growing and our children and grand children will keep that goal alive. I really believe they will.

    Thank you, Lorrie. It's all very relevant.


  7. Mother Nature at her finest reclaiming her rights. Wonderful post. Love the photos.

  8. I am so thankful that I won't be here in another hundred years to see our Earth. I know we are all more aware now, but wonder if it is too little too late.
    Beautiful photos.

  9. How lucky you are to live in such a lovely part of the world. Your photos are delightful.

  10. I didn't realize that the Tod Inlet was so close to the Butchart Gardens. Your aerial map has helped to bring it into focus. I would tend to agree with you on the way that we are taking care of our planet. Despite better efforts with recycling, I am continually alarmed by the mountains of technology which are, no doubt, still winding up in the landfill.

  11. You and I have a similar theme today Lorrie :) Love the photos, and it looks like an idyllic place to anchor your boat. I thought the concrete pilings were wood at first. I like the fact that martins are encouraged there now.

  12. How fascinating to see this. It is amazing how quickly nature takes over. We will be gone for 24 days and I am almost afraid to see what nature does just in that short time to our garden. What a beautiful inlet. Having been to Butchart Gardens I can just imagine it now with a different view.

  13. Very beautiful and interesting photos, Lorrie!
    This however is a painful topic for me. Hundred years is a short time in the scale of Earth history, but where I live some people have already been fighting for fifty years - a lifetime - to defend their homes and environment against the devastating effects of the mining industry... and there's no end to this fight.
    Sorry about my pessimistic comment!
    I wish you and yours a wonderful and sunny weekend!

  14. Nature has her day in the end doesn't she!

  15. Lorrie, I love Butchart Gardens. And the surrounding area looks wonderful, too. Thanks for showing us more of this beautiful spot on the planet!

  16. My dear Lorrie, what beautiful and enchanting photos! I so enjoyed my visit this evening :)

    Have a lovely weekend. Hugs!

  17. Lorrie, this is an eye opener about how nature can take back the earth if given a chance. Thank you for the story and pictures, I enjoyed it so much.


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