Out to the edge


When I was a little girl,
I had a big crazy dream
about wanting to become the first woman astronaut.
Visions of walking around the outside of a space capsule while
looking back from the edge of the universe towards earth,
were completely captivating
and compelled me to study the sciences
while striving to be the best student possible.
NASA was demanding.  This I knew.

So it was a good thing I found out early
I was too short for space exploration
[then, the minimum height for pilots was 5' 4"]
because I never excelled in the sciences
and was fairly hopeless in math,
two very important subjects for discovering new worlds
in the cosmos.

~ evening view from Iceberg Point, on the far southwest tip of Lopez Island ~

What has never left me after all these years
is my unwavering attraction to the edges of places.
Funny to think of it this way but
when I look back on where I've travelled
and where I've chosen to live,
I see the pattern ...
still that wannabe astronaut, albeit in disguise.
Instead of space boots
it's likely a pair of Keens [or Blunnies when it's cold] these days.
And as often as possible
there's a certain four-pawed companion in tow,
a bit frowned on within intergalactic travel.

~ view from Spencer Spit, eastern side of Lopez Island, Swift's Bay on one side, Lopez Sound on the other ~

No, there may not have been rocket transport to the moon in my history
nor a glimpse of Mars from a capsule window,
but a simple outboard motor can surely be a 
perfect enough shuttle on a fine summer day when
there's an outer island to explore ....

~ passing through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, outer San Juan Islands ~

Not much traffic in the low-season
aside from the odd floating log
or a few seals just offshore.

~ the signal building, Turn Point Light Station, Stuart Island, San Juan Islands ~

My friend Pat & her husband do some caretaking out at Turn Point Light Station
although often, Pat heads over on her own.  In need of an extra pair 
of helping hands for this trip, Pat offered a ride.

Located way out on Stuart Island ... the farthest northwest point in the San Juan Islands ...
it's still only a 40 minute journey from the marina on Fisherman Bay.
The views are breathtaking.
Still, I can barely imagine living life out there - full time - as the keepers of old used to do.
While reading their stories, carefully preserved & documented in the small museum,
I couldn't help but think how  THIS  would be truly
living on the edge.
Many of the keepers didn't last too long in such a remote spot

except for this one ...

~ copy of photo from Turn Point Light Station Museum ~

Louis A. Borchers, keeper & amateur photographer.
I could relate to his propensity for picture-taking

~ copy of photo from Turn Point Light Station Museum ~

and probably would have spent my own time doing
much of the same.
Although, look at that beast of a tripod !
Good, sturdy legs for Borcher's Putnam Marvel,
a beautiful wood 5 x 8 view camera that would have cost
a pretty penny back in the day.

~ cliff at Lover's Leap [left], southwesterly view from Stuart Island ~

~ view to Vancouver Island, Canada from Stuart Island, USA ~

We ate our lunch on the bluff in front of the signal building
where the rushing confluence of tides was pleasant music
on such a peaceful, windless afternoon.
Sitting there in awe of this beautiful world,
right there on the boundary line between the States
and our western neighbor, B.C., Canada,
I pulled out my little pocket camera [phone]
while expressing thanks to all the explorers that came before.
Fortunately, there's no height restriction for this kind of adventuring
and I'm sure some were short just like me.

It was a fine day out.


  1. wonderful post and pics. Always like to see what you are reading, thanks for sharing.

    1. Sometimes I've wondered if anyone actually checks out the books ... fun to know that's *yes*
      Thank you, Susan.

  2. Replies
    1. many thanks, Els. Hopping over to your place now to see what you've been up to ...

  3. I can SO relate. My desire was to be a model...until learning that my statuesque 5 feet was not quite statuesque enough. Well, modeling was to have been my part-time...artist was always my life long desire. Got my first camera (pocket Vivatar) at 9 or 10 and haven't stopped yet. Don't plan to either as I see as much or more thru the camera as looking with my own eyes.

    Stunning shots you've taken of what must have been a treat of a day. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You're welcome, Jennifer, and thank you.
      Perhaps being mom to those two darlings is an art form of the highest degree ;>]]

  4. You live in such a beautiful area. No space travel for me but growing up at the beach I always thought living in a lighthouse would be grand. As an adult I realize that it would have been way too isolated for me and they'd probably taken me away with a big net after six months. Even so, there's always been that dream nestled deep within my psyche.

    1. you & me, Penny, yup, taken off in a big net, foh shure!!

  5. These photographs are stunning Christi. Thank you for the ride.

    1. Da nada. Very pleased to have you visit aboard o-t-r ;>]]

  6. What an adventure - thanks for taking us readers along, Christi. How does your Pup Dog like the skiff ride?
    xxoo, sus

    1. Four Paws couldn't come along this trip, Sus, as landing involved hopping down into an inflatable
      and rowing ashore. If I'd left her onboard the howling would have been heard at the far end of the

  7. Stunning photos. Probably far more to capture the imagination here on earth rather than up in space anyway.

    1. As I have no choice in the matter, I shall take that notion seriously under advisement, Maggi !
      thanx so much.

  8. Your photos are beautiful, Christi. The first one looks like a great big offering bowl of sea. I think I would prefer to spend the day there instead of on the moon.

    1. Tipping me hat to you, Robyn.
      New phone camera has *pano* option ... been going a bit wild with it. Love the thought of the "offering bowl of sea."

  9. I can feel the peace in this place from your photos.

    1. There is much of that, Christine,
      so much so that I need to go in search of a little
      heel-kicking every now & then !

  10. What amazingly beautiful photos.
    Wonderful to know there are peaceful unspoiled places out there!
    Buster would love to visit!

    1. Buster would sure have a good time at our Dog Club get-togethers ;>]]

  11. All art is edgy. We are all pushing our limits--you express it well here. The sea is another cosmos as well. Expressed well, Christi!

    1. Thank you, Mr. P. ... I guess if truth be told I am far more comfortable by/near/surrounded/in the watery cosmos than up there in the starry one. And exploring more edges is doable down here.

  12. i'm late to the conversation [have been grubbing out weeds and chopping wood and feeding a cauldron]...so glad you didn't become an astronaut Christi otherwise we might not have met and then i wouldn't be able to say those photos are beautiful but your islands are even more so :)
    and i bet Isla is pleased too.

  13. Christi, thinking about the lighthouse keepers reminded me of the people who used to do fire watch in the lookout towers on tops of mountains...we visited some of them when I was traipsing along with the geologic mapper in Northern CA way way back in the 70's. They were a curious lot, and glad to have visitors. It was a scary place to be in a lightning storm. Getting there was quite the adventure along the narrow roads traveled mostly by logging trucks. It was an ocean of land that they surveyed,looking for sparks and wisps of smoke. Changing the subject...the Empress of India was quite the beautiful ship!!

    1. Yes indeed, Suzanna, just imagine watching ships as grand as that passing back n'forth through those boundary waters - a sight to behold, I'm sure! As for those lookout towers with the mapper ... your story conjures great visuals ... I remember when I first learned about the fire watchers: did you ever see that episode on 'Northern Exposure'? That's where - on t.v. But you got to live it and that sure makes for a good story now, however hair-raising it might have been in the moment ;>]] Same breed of peeps - lighthouse keepers & fire tower folk - I would agree.

  14. I keep sayin it Christi, you have such a good eye! was wondering if you have ever seen a sea star, the star fish Annie Dillard talks about in her book "The Writing Life", to quote;
    "Sometimes part of a book simply gets up and walks away.... It is like the astonishing - and common - starfish called the sea star. A sea star is a starfish with may arms; each arm is called a ray. From time to time a sea star breaks itself, and no one knows why. One of the rays twists itself off and walks away."