Sometimes you just need a break and sometimes you’re lucky enough to live close to a natural wonder. See the beauty of Yellowknife’s ice caves in stunning photographs.
I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed of late. My full-time job has been extra busy over the past few months. It’s not that anything in particular has caused it so much as a convergence of several flurries of activity. As part of my efforts to combat the stress this has caused, last Friday finally I let myself take a break. I took a vacation day and, since it also happened to be my dad’s birthday, I invited him to visit the ice caves with me. I knew I needed to take room to breathe. To take care of myself.
I only learned about the ice caves a few years ago, even though I have two decades in Yellowknife under my proverbial belt. Not to mention, the caves are directly across the lake from my childhood home. Last year was the first I ventured to see them. I think I’ll make it an annual event. It certainly felt wonderful, not just to go out but to take my camera, to replenish my creative well.
It’s been quite warm for March. It meant a nice walk across the lake with my dad. I bought snowshoes for this hike, and it made a big difference in my enjoyment. Instead of breaking through the crust of snow, struggling with every step, the walk was much less painful. The sun glinted from the snow as my dad and I trudged along, sometimes making idle conversation, but mostly enjoying the quiet of each other’s company. It allowed me, for the first time in a while, to truly recharge.
Going on a weekday meant we mostly had the space to ourselves. We ran into people leaving as we arrived at the ice caves, and people arriving as we left. Otherwise, it was just the two of us, our cameras at the ready. They aren’t true caves, but rather curtains of ice created by an outcrop of rock overhangs and flowing water frozen in time.
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I love the texture of the ice, the layers of rivulets in their ever changing shapes. The light glowing through them is interesting too, filtered as it is through the thick layers. Last year, the sky had been heavy with cloud, but this year it was clear blue skies and bright sun reflecting off the white snow.
We spent more than an hour out there, appreciating the wonder of the ice caves and the world from different angles. Exploring how to capture what we saw, but for me, also exploring how to hold onto how I felt. I wanted to keep it with me as a talisman, to arm me against the busyness of the world on those days I can’t simply take time away.
I may not always be able to take a day but I can take a break. In those breaks I can use my memories and my photographs to refill my creative tank enough to keep me going until my next adventure.