Miracle on Planet Earth

Miracle on Planet Earth March 22, 2016

On the San Juan Islands, a variety of ecosystems exist side by side. Here a woods, a meadow alongside a bay shore. Photo by Barbara Newhall
On the San Juan Islands, a variety of ecosystems exist side by side. Here a wood, a meadow, and a salt water cove. Photos by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Want to experience a miracle? Take a walk on one of Washington state’s San Juan Islands. Beach, forest, wetland, meadow — the various San Juan Islands ecosystems often coexist just steps from one another. An afternoon’s walk can take you past woodsy kinickinick, sun-loving oxeye daisies, and salty pickle grass wafting in the tide. Miracles all.

Two summers ago, I spent the second week of July taking pictures on a tiny peninsula on one of the San Juans. It was just a couple of acres, and just a few days, so the photos you see here represent but one small slice of what goes on flora-wise on the San Juans — and just a hint of what planet Earth will do, left to her own devices.

I don’t know if there’s a God out there, but it seems to me that we live in a miraculous world: on a few small acres in the Pacific Northwest, just one corner of the planet, so much desire, so much effort, so much complexity unfolding.

More San Juan Islands thoughts and photos at “San Juan Islands Flora: Or, I Cling, Therefore I Am.”  If you enjoyed this post you might also like “The Hagia Sophia: Face to Face With Islam in a Christian Church.”

Barbara Falconer Newhall is the author of “Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith,” from Patheos Press. She writes about her rocky spirtual journey — and the view from the second half of life — on her website,

Two blossoms of the oxeye daisy eurasian flower, with white petals and yellow centers. Photo by Barbara Newhall
In the meadow: oxeye daisy

The white berries and green leaves of an osier dogwood plant in the San Juan Islands, Photo by Barbara Newhall
In the woods: osier dogwood
Lichen grow on rocks at the beach of the San Juan Islands, Washington state. Photo by Barbara Newhall
At the beach: Lichen


A meadow of green, golden and orange grasses in the San Juan Islands. Photo by Barbara Newhall
Meadow grass. Photos by Barbara Newhall
Pickle grass and algae grow in the shallows of a San Juan Islands bay. Photo by Barbara Newhall
Pickle grass and algae at water’s edge. Photos by Barbara Newhall
Beach plant with rust colored blossoms grows in the sand near the shore of a San Juan Island. Photo by Barbara Newhall
Beach grass. Photos by Barbara Newhall
Holes in a tree in the San Juan Islands are the work of the pileated woodpecker. Photo by Barbara Newhall
Fauna live here too, as this handiwork of the pileated woodpecker attests. Photos by Barbara Newhall

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