Misty Mountains Cold

Updated: May 13, 2020

If the Earth had a pulse it would be shown through the vast, undulating mountains that are scattered throughout it's vast and dynamic landscape.

My eyes and brain could not fully process what i was seeing, and it was as if i had been suddenly dropped into one of Vincent Van Gogh's iconic paintings. The snow capped mountains soared upwards as if they were challenging the sky itself, and they dominated the skyline every way i turned my gaze. The sheer beauty and magnitude of what lay before me swallowed any and all thoughts of the chaos that was infecting the world.

As photography is a passion of mine i did not hesitate to get out my camera and slap it on the tripod i happened to be carrying with me. The person you see in the photo is one of my friends, Mason and with his brightly checkered fleece shirt i thought his presence perfectly complimented the landscape. He was to be the ideal model for the photo i had in mind. Much to his dismay, over the next half an hour i laboriously tried to transfer the perfect image that i had painted in my mind onto a more digital format that you can see above.

But where was this photo taken you might ask?

Well my friend and i were on the dock of Camp Elphinstone, a YMCA camp situated in the township of Gibsons, Vancouver. We were there as part of a larger group of volunteers, aged between 17-19, which amassed from different parts of the globe. Our role at camp was to become part of the integral staff network that would eventually help provide an exhilarating camp experience to a wide range of kids and adults alike.

I am sure you can imagine the thrill and energy that all of us shared when we were thrust into this alien environment for many of us had never before experienced anything of the sort. Furthermore, the idea that only two weeks of intensive training separated us from not being able to work with kids to being expected to lead a group of 15 of them in various activities certainly sent shivers down our spines. I had no idea how i was going to deal with them! They were like nothing i was used to. At that point i could tell you more about how a drone worked than what made kids tick. Like how long was i meant to charge their batteries for? How do i fix a broken arm if it comes loose? Do they run off autopilot or am i gonna have to go manual with them? I had no idea. However, over those two weeks i quickly learnt that the kids are nothing like drones and i was in for a wild ride.

The group and i dove head, body and soul first into this adventure thinking that this heavenly place would be our second home for the next 6 months, potentially even more. However, this was not to be the case. We were unknowingly against the clock as a new virus had surfaced in the province of Wuhan, China.

Dubbed #Covid19, this virus was to shape the course of history and at the time of our adventure we did not even know it, and, due to our isolated destination we were blissfully ignorant of how far it had spread during the first few weeks of our stay. One night of the third week of being at Camp we were given the grim news. Camp was shutting down and we were likely to have to go back home. At that point in time the beauty and colour around us seemed to vanish in a puff of smoke. The now monochrome setting left us feeling heart broken and weak for we had grown to adore our surroundings and the camp life.

However, for all the grief and anguish there was some good in it too. The tragedy deepened the connection between us and the friendship that we shared helped to open our hearts and re-saturate our surroundings. Furthermore, we had no kids to put in cages...ermmm...look after and so we had a vast pool of free-time to dip into. The time that we had at our disposal was spent re-vitalizing our image of Camp and we spent every moment we could outdoors exploring and appreciating the precious time we had there.

The final couple of weeks at Camp taught me two very important lessons. The first being that time is a precious commodity . If you are not careful enough it can easily slip through your fingers like dry sand, catching you unawares. This curse means that past, present and future can seemingly dissolve into one, shapeless form. You have to learn to appreciate every moment , big or small, as like my group and i with camp, you don't know how much time u really have left. Finally when the troubles and intricacies of life begin to weigh down on you, taking the time to appreciate your surroundings can do a world of wonders. That could be going for a walk, taking #photos or closing your eyes and listening to the sounds that are encapsulating you.

There is a lot of beauty and consequent peace that can be found in your surroundings even on the bleakest of days. I was lucky to come to this realization while i was still in Canada and it allowed me to capture many spectacular moments , such as the photo above, that will stay with me forever.

Think of all the beauty around you and be happy ~Ann Frank~
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