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.

Day Twenty

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Time of Walk:  12:15 PM

Temperature:  21° F (Felt like a very cold 16°)

Weather:  Mostly Cloudy and Windy

My husband and youngest son joined me in walking from about Mile 1.25 to Mile 2.0 (and back) on the Old Plank Road Trail (a bike and walking trail converted from a railway line).  I’ve been walking on this trail quite a bit this year and am trying to eventually cover the entire trail.  I had been both east and west of today’s section and was glad to take care of this missing piece.

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Despite all of the layers, the hat, the neck gaiter, and double gloves (including the inner ones that I can use on my phone!), I got very cold walking today.  It brought back childhood memories of Michigan winters.  As a kid, I spent a lot of time outside, even in the winter.  I walked a ways to the school bus stop, we had three recesses a day in grade school, and as a family we had fairly regular sledding and ice skating outings.  Although I have never enjoyed the cold, the exercise and fresh air were, and still are, undoubtedly a good thing.

Good day, good walk.