Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands

Friday the 13th

Come to the sunny San Juan Islands where the weather is always fair with nary a poisonous snake, bear, mountain loin, or cockroach…..well, the critters part is true, and for the most part the weather is mild and pleasant, if you discount the humdinger of a Nor’easter in 1990 or the three feet of snow in 1968.

No, wind and precipitation wasn’t the problem on July 13th when this photo was taken.   This is nearly three hours after the power went out because of lightning strikes, which, like any other extreme weather here, are very rare.   In the over four decades I’ve been on the island, I recall only two other evenings of major lightning, and recall them I do!  There’s something about lightning and thunder that frightens and exhilarates at the same time, a ‘bigger than thou’ episode.

All the light seen in this 8 second time-exposure, except two windows in the center lit by a generator, is from car headlights and taillights moving through town around midnight, plus another truck parked at the curb to illuminate the interior of a shop at the end of the street.  Notice the street lamp to the left of the stop sign.  All his brothers are in agreement: “no juice, no light….live with it!”

We’ve all become shamefully blaze’ about electricity in our lives. ‘ It’s there, it will always be there…except when it’s not!’   There’s a preparedness exercise that is a real eye opener; go 24 hours without electricity.   Try it, and IF you succeed, you will have a huge new appreciation for the electric outlet!   Some say this is the atomic age, but in reality it’s the electric age.  Atomic power is just one more way to make electricity.

One last observation before heading home after midnight; I’d heard of light pollution but it wasn’t until I looked up and saw a bunch of stars that I realized how much the ambient light of a town or city “pollutes” the ability to see the dimmer stars.

Photo location: Spring Street, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island  Friday the 13th!


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