We made the leap. We packed our stuff and drove west. Destination Vancouver Island. The ocean has been calling my name for years. And I’ve been ignoring her call for too long. I have a good excuse though. For the longest time I have been seduced by another lover: the Rocky Mountains.
On Halloween morning we finally hit the road. We drove out in the rain, fighting a continuous spray on the winshield and battling the fatigue caused by weeks of purging, selling and packing. It rained in Revelstoke as it always does when we drive through and it only stopped when the ferry generously swallowed us up as the last car of the sailing. Above us a gray blanket covered the coastline, like a warm comforter that you pull up to your nose during the dark days of winter. It was a typical winter welcome to the coast, a return to mild coastal weather and a reminder of the first 28 years of my life in native Holland.
Ever since the plans to move to Victoria were set, I have been looking at the mountains differently. You start to appreciate them more when you know you will part ways with your beloved friends. You realize that every time you look them in the eyes might be the last day of your intense romance. You enjoy the short 5-minute drive to visit a friend in your tiny mountain town. You cherish the quiet coffee shop with familiar faces just a little more during that last week. And you admire the fact that during the last 15 years, true wilderness only started 2 minutes from your doorway.
For a guy who has only lived in relatively small towns, it will take some getting used to a city environment: the traffic, the unknown faces, and my own unfamiliar face among the crowds. The people and the infrastructure currently feel unfamiliar, yet the wind, water and rain immediately made me feel at home. I tasted the salt air this week and took an extra couple of deep breaths to make room for something new. We climbed over slippery logs washed up on the shore. We watched as a seal casually played with a school of fish. We stood small under towering cedars and we got stuck in traffic on multiple occasions. It is slowly sinking in that this strange and yet familiar place is our new home.
With my photography in the Rocky Mountains coming to an end (at least for now), it felt right to complete one final artistic project. I have been making mosaics for customers through my Etsy site for a while now and always intended to make one large final piece that reflects Canmore and my photography. You can see the result here in this blog. I took 800 close-up nature photos that I captured in the last five years and used them to make a large colourful mosaic. The background image that the mosaic represents is as Canmore as it gets: The Three Sisters, Canmore landmark and our view for the last 15 years. The individual photos represent many small pieces of nature that, together, build the larger ecosystem. To me personally the piece also represent hours and hours of enjoyment, sometimes hard work and wonderful memories in nature.
I intend to print the image on large format and hang it in our living room to keep a close connection to the place we’ve called home for so long. They say “home is where the heart is”. While the ocean might steal me away, part of this heart will always remain in the mountains.
To visit my Etsy site with mosaics, click here
For Three Sisters lovers, the mosaic is for sale as a print. Just contact me to inquire about sizes and pricing.