On The Water, And Bedazzled

IMG_4558It’s hard to express what it’s like for a resident of a landlocked place like Columbus to be out on an open body of water like Maranacook Lake, skimming over the blue water on a boat, dazzled by the bright blue sky above and the sun-dappled water below and enjoying huge gulps of fresh, lake-moistened Maine air.

Words can’t capture the feeling; even pictures can’t do complete justice to the experience.  It’s just wonderful, and the kind of special occurrence that make vacations memorable.  Thanks to our gracious host, and ship’s captain!

The Sky Is Wide, And So Is The Water

 

I was looking through my photos of my Lake Temagami adventure today, thinking about how much I enjoy just being on the water — the sound of it, the smell of it, and the look of it.  A lake pushes the horizon back, making the sky seem wider and the whole world seem more expansive.  When this hardy soul left the dock in his little outboard craft on a cold afternoon, he seemed to be heading off into eternity.

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

On The Scioto Mile

2011 has been the year of downtown parks in Columbus.  Earlier this year, the Columbus Commons opened on the site of the old Columbus City Center.  Now the Scioto Mile has joined the Columbus parks parade.

The Scioto Mile is a thin strip of brick and stone walkways, flower beds and flower pots, fountains, and seating areas that runs along the Scioto River as it arcs through downtown Columbus.  The area sits atop the Scioto River flood wall, well above the water itself, and is an effort to try to reintegrate the river into the downtown area by making the riverfront a more attractive destination.

In Columbus and other cities, city planners long ago made it difficult to get to the body of water that was a big part of the reason the for the city’s location in the first place, by putting heavily trafficked roads or walls or sports arenas or fences in the way.  The Scioto Mile is an effort to reverse that approach.  Planners apparently realized what the rest of us have known all along — people like water and are drawn to it.  (Read the first few pages of Moby Dick if you don’t believe me.)  The muddy Scioto is not as striking a body of water as, say, one of the Great Lakes or the Ohio River, but it is nevertheless pleasant to sit nearby and watch as the water meanders past.

I appreciate the effort and thought that went into the development of the Scioto Mile.  I particularly like the inclusion of table areas for the brown bag lunch crowd and the swinging benches, which would be a pleasant way to spend a few minutes on lunch hour.  The tables have checkerboard imprints and are just waiting for some serious chess players to show up.  The fountains and planters also are attractive additions.  From the signs appearing at various points along the Scioto Mile, it looks like the project has had significant corporate and foundational support.

Although the park is nice, the jury is still out on how much it will be used.  The closest buildings to the Scioto Mile are government buildings and office buildings, without any restaurants, bars, or food areas in sight.  If the hope is to make the Scioto Mile a bustling place, some kind of food and drink options will have to be part of the mix.

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