Atmosphere

Okanagan Mountain in the Sky

Here is where the wind changes on Okanagan Lake. These are late afternoon pictures. In the morning, the water beyond this point was silver. Not like water-that-had-a-silver-colour but silver. The light was alive in the water. On the near side of the point and south to Summerland and Penticton, it was green, like sagebrush with a light shining through it, and rolling in waves. By the afternoon, however, the sky had thinned. Look at the thin cloud forming out of the air.

And the snow on the plateau! And Rattlesnake Island catching the light.

Turning to the east, we can see all the layers of this story: the air beginning to spill water, the snow forming a living, animal shape on the hills and the shadow of the mountain behind me, cast across the lake onto the lower shore.

Fifteen minutes later and a kilometre to the north, the sun is coming in very low from the west, underneath a band of cloud sliding past the lake to the south. The air above the lake remains open.

And then it happens, five minutes later on the shore in Peachland to the north, looking south. Now the mist is boiling out of the air, the bank of cloud is still sliding through Garnet Valley and avoiding the lake altogether, and the sun is burning in the cloud line, following the main lake, while the spur of the Mission Creek Fault is uplifted at a 90 degree angle to the west shore of the lake.

Such power! And to think that the lake lies in an over-deepened channel 1140 metres below sea-level, as ice bore down into this gap between old island chains, old seabeds tilted into the sky, and new volcanoes. Look at the power of the fault, still carving a channel in the sky. Hundreds of cars and trucks passed me as I ran along the soft shoulder of the road, following this light. Their drivers all had somewhere more important to go. I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I was right here.

Right here with Okanagan Mountain.

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