Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Of Earth and Sky


Usually, 10 pm sees us heading off to bed. With the predicted solar storm in the news, we decided to have a little adventure and hopefully see the aurora borealis (Northern Lights). Island View Beach is about 15 minutes away from our home and we thought that the most accessible dark place. 

We had no idea of the number of people that had the same thought. A steady stream of cars aimed in the same direction. Parking spots were sparse, but we managed to find one. All along the beach people waited. At first we saw what looked like gauzy clouds shifting slightly in the night sky. Then pinks and greens appeared. 

Looking directly above us, the curtains of light emanated from a central spot in the sky. It was an awe-inspiring sight, making me think of the verse, "The heavens declare the glory of God." 

What made the event extra special was the singular focus of the people all around us. It wasn't crowded at all, but as the colours intensified, oohs and aahs rose in unison along the shore. We were all caught up together witnessing this beautiful phenomena. The joy felt by others contributed to deepening my own delight. If only we spent more time together as humans finding our common ground. 

Did you see the Northern (or Southern) Lights? A friend from Australia sent a photo of what she was seeing. Such an event!

Sunday afternoon saw us in a very different setting. Friends had purchased a new motorhome and were trying it out at a local campground. They invited to stop by and we all went for a walk. One single rail line runs up Vancouver Island, but it has not been used for a number of years. I rode the train just once and found it very rickety. Going over a curving high trestle bridge was nerve-wracking as the train slowed to a crawl to maintain stability. These days the rail line is good for walking on an afternoon filled with dappled light. 

Scotch Broom (cytisus scoparius) blooms just now, bright yellow against the green forest. The story goes that the plant was introduced to Vancouver Island by homesick Scots. Gardens were "sweetly reminiscent of home" according to Margaret Ormsby, a Canadian historian. Broom flourishes in disturbed ground such as the cleared land along the rail line. Now considered an invasive species, the plant crowds out native species and is taking root in more and more places. There are those who love the plant and those who despise it. The roadsides are pretty when the flowers bloom, but the plant itself is wiry and, to my mind, not particularly attractive. 

Leaving the rail line we followed a trail and descended 199 steps (I didn't count them, there was a sign) to a small river. Here a waterfall splashes down into a pool lined with fern-covered rocks, and ringed with tall cedar and hemlock trees. The water is clear green and very cold. Two people were swimming and someone joked that they must be Finns. On a hot summer day the pool would be a cooling spot. However, there are those steps one must climb to get back to the trail. 

I'm working hard to get my garden in these days. I planted out the tomatoes started under grow lights. Radishes and carrots are sprouting along with onions, lettuce, and spinach. A week of warm sunshine has heated the soil and everything is flourishing. 

Wishing you moments of delight and beauty. 


  1. Wow, you must have experienced something unique, those colors and I love what you mention Lori about happiness levels going up because other people around you were happy too!!
    The trail and waterfall fantastic, well done to the brave ones who took a dip!

  2. What beautiful pictures ! I could not see it but on the coast they could.
    It’s a nice place to walk. We have Scotch brooms blooming in the country at the moment nice yellow colour and we have light blue flax fields beginning to bloom.

  3. What an amazing and glorious sight that must have been, to witness the Northern Lights! Indeed, "The heavens declare the glory of God!"

    Thanks for taking us along on your walk. So much beauty to see . . . although I'd be daunted by those 199 steps back up to the trail!

  4. Sadly we didnt see the lights here, though parts of Cornwall did. Such an amazing sight. In France the motorways are often lined with Broom and the scent is quite overpowering!

  5. Your photos of the Northern Lights are spectacular. It looks like you found an ideal spot to view them. I hate to admit I wasn't even aware that this had happened until I started seeing people posting photos.
    Your hike along the rail line looks so pretty. Definitely sounds preferable to riding the rickety train.

  6. Oh lucky you to see such a beautiful spectacle. They even reached Jersey. Sadly I didn’t see them as it was too cloudy the first evening and on the second night they didn’t appear. They are meant to be around for a few weeks so fingers crossed I will get to see them. Your photos are wonderful. B x

  7. I'm so frustrated! We went out looking and never saw it. Others did, not far from where we were (and it was dark.) Could you see yours without your phone on a special setting? I know some here said that. I didn't have that setting -- but we saw nothing. SO disappointed. Your photos are wonderful!

  8. That would have been fun to enjoy the lights with a chorus of ohhs and ahhs. We have no streetlights where we live now and very few people keep their homes lit up so our deck was the perfect viewing area. What a show that was! Beautiful pictures of the lights and the walk!

  9. Lucky you, to have witnessed such a spectacular sight as the Northern Lights! Great captures!

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  11. How fortunate you were to see the Northern lights. They are beautiful!! So is that pool surrounded by moss-covered rocks. Worth the long trek down...and back up again.

  12. Hi Lorrie,

    I am in awe of your pictures of the northern lights. I cannot believe that Hal and I knew nothing about this until the next day -- makes me so sad. We used to belong to the local astronomy club many years ago, but somehow, this news passed us by. Lots of people nearby, and as far south as a distant cousin in Georgia, got pictures of this phenomenon. I'm so glad you and your husband saw the show and that you shared your pictures here! It looks like you had a lovely hike. The Scotch Broom looks pretty in your picture, but it's a problem when invasive species get a hold. I think Scottish Highland Thistles are pretty, but apparently, they are invasive, too. Thank you for your visit in April; I'm trying to do better about posting and visiting. :) I hope you have a lovely week!



  13. Dearest Lorrie,
    Do miss those Scotch Broom, they add such a happy yellow to the landscape but here in the South they don't survive.
    What a majestic view those Northern Lights and indeed it shows us something incredible and almost heavenly!

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  15. Lorrie, your post beautifully captures the awe of the Northern Lights.
    The shared joy on the beach must have been magical!
    Thank you for sharing these moments of beauty and connection.
    Your words bring peace and appreciation for nature’s simple joys.

  16. This blog post provided some great moments of delight and beauty. Your photos of the Northern Lights are spectacular! What a experience it must have been. I noted your 'books read' list in the sidebar and had fun browsing for possible new titles to check out. Wishing you a happy Victoria Day long weekend.

  17. Fabulous photographs of the Northern Lights.

    All the best Jan

  18. We didn't get to see the Northern Lights here. There were some people in our area that did, but it was cloudy and you had to drive pretty far. I love your description of how everyone was focused on them together. It must have been spectacular to see.

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