Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands


Forest Lookouts

Forest Lookouts

This photo can be a bit difficult to interpret, so let me explain: It is taken from a very high hill, and those are the tops of the clouds you’re looking down at as they lay in a valley. This view is normal from the Forest Service lookout towers that once dotted many hills in the Northwest forests.

I watched a documentary film today about Morten Lauridsen, the world renown choral composer who has a cabin on San Juan Island. In the film, Lauridsen mentioned how after a summer manning a forest lookout tower alone, he had realized how much he missed the music training and experience of his youth, and returned to college to begin in earnest his career in music. He talked about being above the clouds amongst the mountains, and how being alone in an almost celestial environment makes one contemplate wondrous thoughts.

I am studying to sing with the San Juan Singers next month at the Friday Harbor Film Festival where Lauridsen will accompany the Singers as we perform “Sure on this Shining Night”, a lovely choral piece only four and a half minutes long, before the showing of the film about the composer.

Angel, our director, says it should prove a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Throughout the film, Lauridsen talks about how the peace and serenity of the woods and waters of the islands, where he has come for over 30 summers as an adult and in his youth as well, have contributed to his writings.


One response

  1. Ask him what lookout he was on! Thanks, Dick

    September 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

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