Sunday, March 27, 2016

Springtime Celebration

Last Friday I was talking with a person who moved to this area from upstate New York.  The conversation naturally led to the beauty of that part of country - something with which I can agree wholeheartedly, having visited the Finger Lakes region last August.  Then she looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and said, "now I live here (meaning northwest Indiana) where we don't have anything pretty like that."  That's where we began to disagree.

The next day we drove down to Newton County to visit our grandchildren.  I love daffodils for many reasons and my daughter told me about this farm nearby where they plant hundreds and hundreds of them simply for the joy of it and they love to share it with visitors.   It was such a beautiful spring day and finding this farm was part of my plan for the afternoon.  My daughter decided to load the two kids into the car and join us.  Armed with some directions from my son-in-law and my camera gear, we crossed Highway 41 and wound our way along country roads south and west past a lovely brick church, flat fields waiting to be planted, white farmhouses and large oak trees silhouetted against a bright blue sky.   The paved road gave way to gravel and the gravel road gave way to a single lane of double tire paths bordered on each side and separated in the middle by well-kept grass.   This lane made a turn to the right and became the approach to a beautiful secluded farm tucked away in the middle of the Indiana landscape.   There were daffodils everywhere - surrounding the pond, carpeting the grass around the windmill, scattered amongst the trees that bordered the sweet little farmhouse.  It was lovely!

We spent about an hour there lazily wandering around the pond.  The family that owns this land takes the time each fall to plant more and more daffodils so that in the spring, they not only get to enjoy this springtime celebration, but welcome friends and neighbors to visit and enjoy it too.  Several others came and went while we were there, enjoying the day and the sight.   Quite often I had to stop and take it all in, trying to capture with my camera just how special this place is.  And I remembered my conversation from the night before.  Our part of Indiana does not boast of the same beauty and sights as other parts of the country - it doesn't have to.   Indiana's landscape and people have a beauty uniquely their own. It's a joy to find little surprises like this farm and I know you've got a lot more to show off, Indiana.  I'll be looking for it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

That Lake!

I was having a pretty stressful Monday yesterday so I went to the lake.  I certainly wasn't dressed for a stroll on the beach in my ankle boot wedges and office attire, but fortunately the sand was still packed pretty hard from having been frozen throughout the winter.  I'm sure I looked out of place as I stepped as carefully as a person could in high-heeled shoes on a sandy beach, but I needed this.  And the lake did not disappoint.   It never does.

I could have stood there for hours watching those waves start somewhere close to the horizon line, rise up, crest into whitewater and crash into Lake Michigan's famous ice boulders before washing over the edges of remaining shelf ice onto the beach.  The sound was amazing; watching all that power come roaring into the shoreline was fascinating.  Crazy as it sounds, it was calming to stand at a distance safe enough from the danger of shelf ice unpredictability but close enough to see the ice boulders roll and bob in the aftermath of each wave.  
In contrast to the continuous attack of the waves against the shoreline, stood the serene simplicity of the landscape. While the waves were gaining their momentum farther out, my attention turned to the shapes of monolithic shelf ice along the shore, the stark line of the horizon against the watercolor sky and the patterns of sand on a thawing beach.  

I did finally remember that I had a limited time schedule and checked my watch, not altogether sure how long I had been wandering up and down that section of beach.

I always have a hard time pulling myself away; convincing myself that I've seen enough; taken enough photos; experienced the best of what I came looking for.   Just before I stepped back onto the pavement that led to the parking lot, I turned back around for a final glance.   That lake . . . wild and powerful and dangerous one minute; calm and peaceful and elegant the next.