This is a place I am drawn to, like a moth to a flame. Each visit reveals new vignettes, new little stories featured in a way I didn’t notice before. Either that, or somehow it’s changed. This is a place that captures and reflects light in unique ways. Each season, each time of day reveals different mysteries. This is the Stone Butter Church, a house of worship that was designed and built with so much intent and love. Even so, it’s service life was short and today it stands atop Comiaken Hill just outside of Duncan as a sentry.
The first snow of the season dusted our landscape with nothing short of pure magic. Landscapes take on an entirely different life in settings like this, and when the snows come you will surely find me at some point standing on top of the hill admiring and shooting what I consider to be my photographic muse.
We have a special tag at our blog dedicated to this wonderful place, “Old Stone Butter Church“. As time goes on and we return for visit after visit, the archives grow deeper. If this is your first visit with us to the church, you may like to read our detailed posting on the history, “The Ghostly Hallows“. There’s a lot of info in that post including the story about the church and how it ended up on Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Each season casts the church in a different light. Textures and colors take on different aspects as the natural surrounding light changes over the course of the year. The church was active for only a very brief period of time, the congregation built a new church in the valley and moved to it shortly after this one was completed and consecrated. Yet somehow, over 100 years later, the structure still stands. Time and the relentless dampness of west coast winters have taken their toll, as have vandals and local youth looking for canvases for their art. The builders and parishioners are now likely long gone, yet still we find the Old Stone Butter Church standing guard high atop Comiaken Hill, overlooking the valley, under the watchful eye of Mount Tzouhalem. It creates a dramatic presence in a very dramatic part of Vancouver Island, a rugged place that is home to tall forests and mountains and beautiful shores on the ocean.
I don’t know what’s in store next for this old church. As I age, I find that time seems to be kinder to the church than it does to me at times, so I can’t help but believe that long after I am gone it will still be standing. This makes for the perfect subject, the perfect place to return time and time again.
Photo is © Scott Johnson – All Rights Reserved
First published at Toad Hollow Photography