Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

The Horizon, Vastness, and Memories

The Daily Post, in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon, asks the question, “Is there a particular horizon that speaks to you?” I would have to answer that question, “not really”, but as someone who grew up spending many a summer day in western Michigan along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, I first thought of that horizon. The lake seems more like an ocean than a lake, especially to a child, and the sharp line where water meets sky has always intrigued me.

Back then, the water always seemed so infinite, until the day a brisk east wind took my new beach ball “to Milwaukee” (as my Dad said), and I realized that the lake, although great, was finite. Later, when my dad gave me an old camera of his, it was the lake and the horizon that were my favorite subjects, and I took plenty of overly dark and blurry sunset pictures. My dad took better pictures of us too with that horizon as a backdrop, and those pictures bring back great memories. As an adult, I realize that it’s the people and the memories that I cherish, not just the scenery behind us.

When I thought about taking this challenge, I set some parameters for myself. My gallery of pictures includes only pictures from my walks in 2013. As an ode to the horizon of my childhood, the first group includes pictures taken along the shores of Lake Michigan, from three of the four states that border it: Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.

It’s the “things” in these pictures that makes them interesting: the things in front of the horizon, the things that break up the horizon, and the natural wonders like clouds and waves. I’ve enjoyed looking again at these pictures with a new eye and remember those walks well. It brought to mind other, different walks that I also remembered and enjoyed.

One of the things that surprised me most through these past ten months of walking is just how beautiful the flat grasslands of Illinois are. The interaction between prairie and sky is different than the sharp horizon line between water and sky, but has an infinite beauty of its own.

As I look back at the pictures from these walks, I remember the beauty of creation: the colorful fields of flowers, the waves of the grasses, and the vastness of the sky. But, I also remember who was with me on each walk and that we had a nice time, and that’s what speaks to me.

Those memories are as important as the scenery.

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My son, enjoying the vast quietness of a closed road, at the Midewin National Prairie.

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Day Two Hundred Ninety-two

Prairie Duneland Trail

We headed to Indiana again today to visit family. We took a slight detour on the way for a walk along a portion of the Prairie Duneland Trail between Portage and Chesterton. With the trees approaching peak colors, this wooded trail was a great place to walk today.

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We started at the parking lot at McCool Road and walked northeast to the pedestrian bridge over State Route 149 and back. We saw the connection to the Iron Horse Heritage Trail and read about other connecting trails and bike routes at both ends, making the Prairie Duneland a great way to get around Northwest Indiana and up to the Lake Michigan shoreline on foot or two wheels.

Prairie-Duneland2Great trail, great walk!

Day One Hundred Ten

Walking and [Not] Photographing Birds with a Camera Phone

My youngest son, my husband, and I donned our winter coats this chilly April morning and headed to Northwest Indiana.  We drove to Griffith and walked a lengthy portion of the Erie Lackawanna Trail.  This trail was originally part of the Chicago & Atlantic Railway, but changed hands (and names) a few times.  For awhile it was part of the Erie Lackawanna Railway, and the trail got its name.Erie Lackawanna 2

The town of Griffith has made the most of their portion of the trail by adding overhead train-station type signs over the trail and large inlaid tile and paver initials in the trail.  It is also a “friendly trail,” my husband commented when the cyclists, runners, and fellow walkers were all pleasant and outgoing.

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Near Turkey Creek, my husband pointed out a bird, perched near a suet feeder along a home’s lot line, that he didn’t recognize.  It was a red-headed woodpecker!  I have never seen one of these before, so I was pretty excited.  We also saw some sort of warbler along the ground near the trail–too busy to even notice us.

Regrettably, the digital zoom on my phone’s camera is not the best equipment to document wildlife, and I was unable to get a picture of either bird.  Fortunately though, the camera phone is the one in my pocket when I’m walking, or I’d have no pictures at all!

Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred

Walking across the State Line

To celebrate one hundred days of blogging and walking, my son and I bundled up on this cold, dreary day and headed out of state, to Indiana, to walk this afternoon.  (Truth be told, the state line of Indiana is closer than some of my in-state walks.)

We checked out part of the Erie Lackawanna Trail.  This trail runs from Hammond for fifteen miles to Crown Point.  We started near the north end of the trail in Hammond.  It felt like Cabela’s, Indiana, rather than Hammond though, because the entire portion of the trail that we walked on today is on or adjacent to the giant store’s property.

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I know there’s a huge interesting portion of this trail beyond Cabela’s, and I am looking forward to walking more of it in the future.

Good day, good walk!