The Cycle Of Life

Posted: 8th November 2013 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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The entire premise of life is built upon the concept of converting one thing to another.  Food is transformed as nutrition for our bodies into energy, allowing us to perform great and magical feats in the world we live in.  Gas powered cars convert fuel into heat which is them transformed into motion.  Compost changes form and over time becomes nutrient-rich soil, suitable for growing new food sources that one day will begin the cycle all over again.  It’s this very premise we explore in today’s post where we visit a very special place in our hearts here on Vancouver Island.  This place is called Fairy Lake.

Fairy Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Fairy Lake – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

From the depths of Fairy Lake, a stump protrudes upward, as if reaching toward the heavens and life itself.  Nature, never taking a break, continues the relentless cycle of life by providing an inviting home for a new life to spring forth.  Located just outside of Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, Fairy Lake is a place that we visit at least once a year.  You find it by taking treacherous back-roads over hills and mountains and in the dead of winter you can drive the entire road without seeing another human being.  Each time we passed this place, with the new tree reaching skyward, we make plans to return and photograph it.  This summer we made a special trip to do just that.

Fairy Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Fairy Lake – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The mountains of Vancouver Island are famous for the wood they produce.  This is one of our most precious natural resources, and you see many of our buildings and homes constructed with this wood, in some cases still standing strong well over 100 years later.  On this day, the summer was stifling, the heat lay over the land like a blanket, palpable and thick.  Just a few short kilometers down the road nearer to the ocean, the temperatures dropped drastically and a thick fog hung over the land.  Our previous blog post “Bridge Out Ahead” features a bridge just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from the ocean, with visibility severely hampered by the fog.  It’s hard to imagine that these two series were shot within an hour of each other.  This is part of the magic known as “Vancouver Island Weather”.

Fairy Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Fairy Lake – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Campsites pepper the south shore, and in the summer this is a welcome way to escape the still and relentless heat in the valley.  Even though Fairy Lake is one of Vancouver Islands best kept secrets, nary a space was free on the day we visited.  These kind of places here on the island tend to take on a mystical presence known to many but familiar to few.  In the heart of winter, these campsites are mostly submerged in water as the water table and lake rise from the unending deluge of rain that falls for months on end here.

Fairy Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Fairy Lake – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Whether you are floating aimlessly with your mind just as much adrift as the inflatable boat that randomly leads you from place to place, or you stand at the shore taking in the incredible beauty and majesty of the island itself, there’s something to be found here for everyone.  The smoke from the campfires and BBQ’s lazily drifts over the water, wafting aromas of burgers and steaks, signalling to those adventuring around the lake that it’s time to head back for the afternoon.  Long shadows begin to form, creating further refuges from the never-ending heat of summer and helping to create memories that will be with us for an entire lifetime.

Being alive in such a huge world and being a part of a much larger universe at times can be daunting.  A chance to reconnect with the things that matter the most, our family and friends, the lands we love to call home and the incredible natural beauty of a very special island is a special and personal experience, one that increases our perspective of the world around us, and our place within it.

Thank you so much for your kind visit today, we really do appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have.  Until next time, my friends!




  1. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    What a wondrous and serene location Toad. The first image is a stunning shot – so unusual and uplifting.

  2. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Oh wow Toad what a magical place…and magical images as well. Beautiful my friend.

  3. avatar Mary Jo says:

    Just wonderful and amazing! I love your writing–your making me want to pack up and head to the mountains 🙂

  4. We discovered Fairy Lake a few years ago and have since returned to camp again. Vancouver Island is indeed a magical place. Thanks for sharing with your fine photos and commentary.

    • 99% of islanders aren’t aware of this little magical spot yet here we find a friend from Saskatchewan who knows all about it! For a planet with such a large amount of square footage it sure is a small place. Thank you so much for visiting our post today and for leaving these absolutely terrific comments I am sure everyone will enjoy!

  5. I love that first shot! nice post

  6. Toads – You really have a soft touch with your lens. Every photograph here is well composed and processed. So subtle yet so full of meaning. My love to you both.

    • Gosh, Spencer, every time you pop by you make our day with your kind and wonderful comments. Thank you so much, my good friend, best wishes and tons of love to you and your family too, from your friendly Toads!

  7. avatar Jim Nix says:

    what a beautiful spot Toad, so nicely done!

  8. I can’t even believe a place like this exists! Your captures are ethereal and I totally love the intro to your post. Profoundly true!

  9. avatar LensScaper says:

    This is a beautiful place to be, and that first image is a fascinating find. Trees seem to able to grow in the oddest of places.

    • Thank you so much there, Andy, your comments mean a lot to us. It’s really weird sometimes finding things like this, we’ve even seen trees that somehow grow from the side of a cliff right in rock! I believe it goes to show that nature is much more powerful than many of us give credit for. Thanks ever so kindly for your visit my friend.

  10. I just love lakes – by far my favorite natural geographic feature. That first shot with the tree is special.

  11. I have not stopped there for around ten years now. It is the prettiest little lake though and the photos show its beauty. I also like the realness of the forest coloring.

    • Thank you so much Joseph, we sure do appreciate your kind visit and support today! I just love Fairy Lake and really would like to return one day with just a bit more lens, something in the 200mm range. Anyways, thank you so very much, you’re the best!