Laughter In The Wind

Posted: 13th September 2017 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
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We find ourselves in a period of upheaval in terms of the global economy, and with this transition comes change.  One of the changes that seems to be so prevalent these days is the many buildings we encounter that once were flourishing with activity and are now forgotten.  We tend to find an anchor in many of these buildings, with memories attached to them of times past.  As these buildings fall into disrepair and degradation, so does the fading recollection of the voices that once filled these walls.  We go through a period of grieving, almost as if we have lost a loved one.  In many cases, our memories are indeed cherished, and the loss bears no less weight for it.

This house is almost all that remains of the once thriving town of Jordan River on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  It holds many memories for me as I once knew the family who lived here and was friends with them all.  As such, each time we visit Jordan River I find myself reflecting back on moments spent here with a deep sense of melancholy.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

As you wind your way down the twisty highway that leads out of Colwood and Langford heading for the deep west coast, the landscape changes as the miles tick away under your wheels.  A burgeoning metropolis gives way to the incredible forests that call the island home, and at times you feel as if you are the only soul alive on the planet today.  Wildlife is teeming in these forests, and the ocean that sits just beyond the roadway goes on forever, only stopping once the shores of Asia and Russia emerge on the horizon.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

As a young man with an affinity to drive and explore, I found myself out this way many times.  I would drive the ribbon of highway with music filling my car and my imagination running wild as I pondered the weighty things that inhabited my mind for miles on end.  Jordan River was one of the destinations of choice.  Arriving here was a highlight, allowing a few moments of repose that would find me sitting in my car looking out over the wide ocean, looking for an inner peace that often evaded me in the trappings of modern life in the city.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

One of my regular stops was this very house.  I had a friend who lived here at the time as his family enjoyed living the dream on the shores of the ocean.  The peace and tranquility of the area was healthy for everyone, separating the madness of modern life from nature that calls many of us with her siren’s song.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The garage that sat on the property just off to the side of the house was home to my friend’s car.  It was an early 80’s model Camaro Z/28 with a built 350 engine and a manual 5 speed transmission.  Many a time we would linger in the garage, working on this or that, or sometimes just polishing a fender.  Frequently we would pull the car out of the garage and take it out on the highway for a spirited stroll.  This would usually elicit howls of laughter and joy as the car was very fast, indeed.  At times it seemed nearly impossible to control.  This was certainly a part of the fun of it.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Over the years I lost track of my friend.  Honestly I can’t even remember his name now it was so long ago.  But the memories remain, as strong as ever.  The house always stood as a monument to these times for me.  Today it feels as if the house’s wounds are my wounds.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

As we explored the site, my memories brought back voices now long unheard.  The wind whipped all around us, coming in from off the ocean and eddying around the property, and my mind played tricks on me.  Was that the sounds of a child’s laughter?  Or was it the call of a seagull as it hung on the air currents playfully?

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The front porch no longer has chairs perched on it looking out over the seascape.  Vegetation encroaches as the plants now call this house a home.  The energy from the family that once lived here gives way to the constant visitations by the local graffiti artists, looking for a canvas to scribble their names on, or to present an edict complaining about those in charge and their arcane laws and rules.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

No longer do the sounds and smells of dinner in the kitchen waft their way out into the front room, nor do we hear the sounds of children playing or watching their favorite program on television.  All that is found here is a sense of the morose and a foreboding feeling.  Even though this is all decayed, this too will change.  In short order nothing will remain.

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House - Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Abandoned House – Jordan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Everything and anything of value has long been removed.  In some cases these things are recycled and reused elsewhere, and in other cases the extracted treasures are sold to feed a habit.  As is the case when rodents take over a building, all that is required is the smallest of openings.

To see our video in full screen HD quality, please visit our YouTube page “Abandoned House – Jordan River“.

As our time grew short for our visit, we took our drone out for a flight to capture some unique aerial images of what remains before the sands of time remove all signs.  This perspective leads to discoveries and vantages that would otherwise not be possible.  We can’t help but think that if not for those of us with a passion and interest in documenting these places, as times move along would they be forgotten forever?  Almost as if they never existed in the first place?  This fascination we find drives us to take a deeper notice of things around us, and to marvel in what is today with the realization that only a few short years can sometimes be the only buffer between something and nothing.  This is a profound realization, one that mirrors the ongoing struggle between life and death as a whole.  Can a house be a metaphor for the human condition and an endless need to understand where we are and why we are here?  It’s almost as if the purpose of life can be found, yet remains elusive, just beyond the reach of our fingertips.

Do these profound insights help us to appreciate that which we have today?  Do we have a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world we find ourselves in?  Or are these fleeting lessons that are lost, soon to be long forgotten like this house that once was loved by the family that called it home?  We feel the answers are within us all, if only we seek them out.  Perhaps this is the secret of life.

Thank you for taking the time to visit us here at The Hollow today, we certainly appreciate it.  As always, we truly love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.

Apple Seasons Savings at B&H Photo

Apple Seasons Savings at B&H Photo




  1. avatar Randy Hall says:

    Scott – This series brings back some great memories…and definitely some sadness seeing the current state of the house and property. Years ago, I would spend many a summer staying here with family. Being a city boy, this was a major culture change, but we had a lot of great memories growing up. Seeing that you knew the family who lived here in the 80’s, you either know my family, or the ones who moved in after they left.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    Randy

    • Oh my gosh, Randy, how small is this world we call home to?? Did your family own this house? That must have been just before the family I knew moved in, unless you guys had an awesome blue Camaro Z/28 in the garage? What a terrific surprise to read your comments here, Randy, I cannot thank you enough at all for taking the time to pop by and leave these for Mrs. Toad and I, and all our visitors and fans, to enjoy. Cheers kind sir!

  2. avatar Kelley says:

    What a great post Toad! I especially liked your choice of creepy opening music on your drone footage. A very cool old house and a great day out exploring. Good job!

    • Thanks so much Kelley! We had a great day with you guys on this explore, and we sure do appreciate you taking the time to pop by and leave your comments here! Stay tuned, we’ve got an epic story coming on the power station we visited as well, that one is taking a bit of time to finish and produce but will be well worth the wait!!! 🙂 Cheers!!!

  3. avatar Tim McGrath says:

    I just like the house and the spot it inhabits on the coast.

    I noticed it on one of exploration tours. Nice to learn a bit more about it.

  4. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    I know that this may sound weird, but I think this house is absolutely beautiful.
    And your narrative of it, even more so.
    Sometimes I purposely seek out “broken homes” (as I call them), just to sit with them a while and wonder about all the possible stories behind them.
    Again, this one is a true beauty.
    Thank you for sharing it here, and have a wonderful week!

    • It seems we share a common love Lisa, both Mrs. Toad and I are constantly drawn to forgotten things. There are always stories hidden behind the remnants of the walls and structures of these places where once families and businesses thrived. I know that progress is important for civilization and we all enjoy new and contemporary things, however we also feel this shouldn’t come at the expense of our history. Not an easy thing to balance. At any rate, many thanks for popping by today and for sharing your great thoughts here Lisa, cheers to you from both of us! 😀