The triangular shape carved into the glimmering clouds was just the first of countless visions I saw intertwined in the western sky on a late November evening in 2022.
I initially saw the Mystical pizza through the west facing window of my bedroom.
Realizing I was seeing a small slice of a mind-blowing Alberta sunset, I ran downstairs and grabbed my camera.
Crouched awkwardly below my window, I managed to grab a few images of the vibrant formation, but I knew this was only the beginning of the spectacle.
Luckily, something nudged me to go beyond, to take in the beauty from a more expansive perspective.
I have been battling an aversion to leaving the house for a variety of reasons lately, not the least of which was a biting wind that was hammering the praries that evening.
A voice inside me said something like:
“Kerri, this is why you moved to Lethbridge, to live on the edge of town again – take your camera, walk half a block and take in this magical sight from the unobstructed view of your backyard.”
My backyard is made up of far-reaching plains which collide with the jagged silhouette of the Rocky Mountains before embracing the volumous prairie sky.
That evening, I stode on the edge of a field for about 40 minutes photographing what is known in these parts as a ‘Chinook Sunset,’ which usually last longer than ‘typical’ sunsets, painting the sky with vibrant colors and intricate textures.
I saw more than just pizza in the sky that night. I saw magic.
Here is a slide show of a hand full of the 250 photos I captured. Click on any of the images to view full-screen.
With my childhood home a mere kilometre or so away, this relatively un-obstructed Western view was also my backyard for most of my life up to the age of 18.
When I moved back home to Lethbridge (from Calgary) a year and a half ago, I knew I wanted to live on the edge of town again.
Luckily, I found a perfect townhouse in a perfect location.
Living so close to where I grew up means I am often reflecting on the version of myself at the age of 18, comparing her to who I am now, almost 30 years later.
Measuring my accomplishments by societal expectations, which I believed to be absolute truths growing up, means I really did not do well in life, as a human female.
I should have gotten married, had kids, and/or had a successful career. My 18 year old self would have been mortified to know my 47 year old self did not do any of those things.
I tried, of course, with several ‘failed’ relationships in my 20s and 30s. And while I’ve had an interesting career path, I’ve never been overly successful in climbing the ranks in a post-secondary environment.
Luckily, the Kerri Martin I am now knows our society-based measurements of success are far from absolute truths, or even appropriate guidelines for how people should live.
With the state of the world these days and some over-whelming worries about my family and my future, it is not easy to live from this place of authentic knowing.
But Mother Nature always serves as a reminder to re-calibrate the lens through which I measure my worth as a human.
At a minimum, where I am right now means I can engage with magic, wonder and awe-inspiring beauty, even in my own backyard.
And this makes me realize – wow!!! I have seen and experienced so much in my 47 years.
I have so many stories to share, and soul-wise, I know I am exactly where should be right now.
This is a Wildlife Blog and I typically focus on my experiences with wild animals, but I felt compelled to share photographs of an awe-inspiring, Southern Alberta sunset.
Please feel free to comment below if you see any interesting shapes, other than pizza, in any of these images.
Until next time, watch for the beauty in your own backyard AND continue loving life and everything wild 🙂
Thank you for your inspiring words Kerri.
Lovely photographs and stories on your website.
See you again in the river valley one day. ☺
Thanks so much Clive! 🙂