An American Scene

The rocky coastline and the special appearance of the homes and buildings make seaside New England villages instantly recognizable.  Those towns, with their gray-shingled structures and buoys bobbing off the coastline, have a kind of brand that Midwestern communities can never hope to attain.  You see a picture and you can almost feel the cool breeze and smell the salt and marsh at the water’s edge.

This picture was taken from the fishermen’s dock, looking back at downtown Stonington, Maine.

An American Scene

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An American Scene

America — and not just Minnesota, either — is a land of lakes.  We love to fish their waters, zip across them on motorboats, whip them into rooster tails on our jet skis, and skim their surfaces on sailboats.  We love to sit peacefully on the lakefronts, smell the watery scents of their shorelines, look across the ruffled surfaces, and feel the freshening breezes.

This photo was taken on the shores of Lake Erie, near Huron.

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

It’s the national pastime.  For more than a century, professional baseball has been the focus of America’s leisure time attention during the summer months, when a fan can go to the old ball game, eat a hot dog, keep a scorecard, and root, root, root for the home team’s triumph.  There is something comforting and nostalgic about the leisurely pace of the game, the familiar sounds coming from the field, and the buzz of the crowd.

This picture, with friendly and helpful ushers in the foreground, was taken while the Chicago White Sox took batting practice during our trip last month to Progressive Field in Cleveland, before the heavens opened.

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

Amusement parks are a big part of the American summer.  Every year, millions of children of all ages travel to these asphalt-topped celebrations of speed and thrills to eat ice cream and cotton candy and cheeseburgers and then scream like banshees as we are flipped, twisted, turned, dropped, and soaked on the fastest roller coasters, the tallest Demon Drops, and wettest water rides. We’re Americans — it’s just what we do.

This photo was taken in the line for the Millenium Force at Cedar Point.

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

Of course, not all of America is picturesque scenery.  In our capitalist economy, businesses are created, grow and thrive, and fail.  Great factories are built, are filled with workers, manufacture products, and then are closed forever.  Those relics of crumbling concrete and broken glass now stand abandoned in towns and cities across the land, reminders of the days when the America was booming and millions of blue-collar workers grabbed their lunch pails, walked to work, and produced the goods that made the American economy the envy of the world.

I’m not sure exactly where this abandoned factory is located — the photo was taken years ago, during a trip to look at potential colleges for Russell — but does it really matter?  Similar scenes can be found in Anytown, U.S.A.

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

So much of our vast country remains wilderness.  You can be only a few minutes outside a town, pull off the road, take a few steps down a trail, and suddenly find yourself in near-virgin wilderness.

This is especially true in the west.  The photo above was taken just a minute or two outside Red Lodge, Montana, where we came upon this vista of bracingly cold rushing water, dark, cool shade under the green trees, and deep quiet on a hot summer day.

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

Paddle-wheel boats were a huge part of water-borne commerce in the United States in the 19th century and early 20th century, as they ferried passengers and cargo up and down American rivers and lakes.  Now they are seldom-seen relics that have become too slow for most people and too expensive to maintain.  Those that still operate cater mostly to passengers who want to experience a living piece of the past and ponder the days when the paddle-wheelers ruled the inland waterways.

It is always a treat to see one of these great ships that look like wedding cakes on water, as it churns the water and steams toward its destination.  The Minne-ha-ha pictured above plies its trade on the waters of Lake George, New York.

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene

An American Scene