Posted by: Silver | September 10, 2010

Sointula to Black Creek

Originally, this was going to be a two-day ride (Sointula to Sayward, Sayward to Black Creek), but when somebody mentioned the words ‘hilly’ and ‘windy’ in relation to my route, the memory of just how much fun I’d had in the Yukon with such conditions prompted me to add an extra stop in Woss and turn the journey into a three-day event. In the end, neither the hills nor the wind were actually quite as bad as I’d feared, but I can’t deny that the shorter distances did make the first two days of cycling more relaxed. In fact, they were very pleasant rides indeed, with good weather and a great deal of beautiful scenery; but what sticks in my mind the most was a single tiny tree…

There are quite a lot of rocky outcrops along the North Island Highway (presumably where inconvenient gradients had been blasted away), and it was to a narrow ledge of one of these outcrops that the tree in question was clinging. As I came round the corner towards it, the angle of the sun against its leaves at that precise moment turned the whole tree into a luminous beacon of orange fire, shining brilliantly against the grey rock around it. As I drew closer, however, it became clear that the tree was losing its struggle against the inhospitable location in which its seed had bravely tried to grow, and the orange colour was due to the fact that the leaves were dying. In the instant that I realised this, I was forcibly struck by the aching poignancy of something so near to death glowing with such radiant beauty, and in that moment, that one tiny tree burned a smouldering hope into my heart that every single one of us might have the chance to shine with such brilliance and beauty at least once before we die…



  1. So beautifully written…I saw your tree as I was reading, I heard you speaking… It was lovely.

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