Holy Places

aurora borealis, aurora, northern lights, autumn, alberta, church, holy places, long exposure, Dan Jurak, heavenly landscape, stars, rural, countryside, long exposure, astrophotography

I just finished vacuuming the main floor of our house and while doing an idea for another blog post popped into my head and I do say popped because for the most part no thought goes into my writing. It is kind of like a stream of consciousness thing where thoughts happen, I write them down.

On September 15, this past Friday we experienced a phenomenal evening of the northern lights. When mother nature presents herself like that I don’t think, I react to what I see and that is how this photo of an old church near Vegreville, Alberta happened.

While thinking of a title I got the brilliant idea of “Holy Places” referring to the old prairie churches that dot the Alberta countryside. Some still in use. Many now vacated and empty.

That made sense to me and then as my imagination goes I could see Robin from the sixties Batman and Robin television series saying “Holy Places”. Funny eh? I can even hear Robins exact voice exclaiming that to Batman or Commissioner Gordon.

Anyway, back to the churches. Alberta is full of these gems. Some of the most beautiful are also one strong wind away from being blown down. Brush Hills Church comes to mind. It is inhabited by pigeons that have found their way in through a broken down front door and broken windows.

This gem is probably a strong wind storm from becoming only a memory and with that passing goes the history and memories of all that were a part of her.

Every time I visit one of these places in the evening by myself, I walk respectfully among the headstones and cemetery markers. Some of the dates go back one hundred years or more and I am taken back to those days when the church was a centre for social and spiritual activity. Boys met girls. Men married women. Children were born. Christened. Those children were married, had their own children and the circle was continued.

When I came upon the church at the top of this post it was just after midnight. The northern lights were dancing overhead and in the far distance I could see the lights of combines working the fields and hear the sounds of migrating birds overhead.

As I walked closer to the church illuminated by the green of the aurora the cemetery markers came into view and again I was reminded of how fleeting our time is here on earth. As we pass our youth replace us only to become old and likewise pass. The circle of life.

And as I photographed this old beauty I was thinking of how those same geese, swans and cranes overhead ventured up north only a few months ago and are now heading southward for the winter. They will return again in the spring, some of them. Some will never make it back. Kind of like us. Here one moment and gone the next just like the Holy Places.

Happy shooting,

Dan

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~ by Dan Jurak on September 19, 2017.

2 Responses to “Holy Places”

  1. Absolutely stunning!

  2. Thank you Jane. When Mother Nature puts on a show like last Friday it is hard for me not to be overwhelmed.

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