Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Thinking Spot

There is a place near my house, some three blocks away, where I walk to several times a week to think. It is a local marina on Lake Michigan with a park and a beach situated at the botton of a steep hill. I did not begin to appreciate such a wonderful place (right near my house) until this year when I began to go there more and more. I go there to think, to dwell upon problems, to create ideas, to rid myself of the constant distractions of school, work, and home. It is a beautiful place.

I leave my house and cross the busy street in front of it, which serves as a reminder that I am, in fact, still in the city. I travel down the sidewalk that leads through a neighborhood of cape cods and ranches that were built in the 30's and 40's. I sometimes look at the houses and admire the unique landscaping in their front yards. I think that, if I could live in another house, I would pick a certain one along that road. The street is lined with trees--oaks and maples, mainly. The branches hang very low at some points so that I must duck under them or let them brush into my face. The people, also, are very friendly and must know that I frequently walk along their street. They wave and say "good morning" every single time I walk past.

The houses abruptly end at a road overlooking the lake, which meets another road leading to the marina. From here I can see a view of the lake from a high point and hear the gentle hissing of the waves. I walk down the roadway to the marina, where I notice the construction of the nearby water treatment plant. It provides a good supply of tap water to my home among others in the city. As the roadway comes to an end, it gives way to an arched, teal footbridge that crosses a wide creek emptying into the lake. People often throw their fishing lines off of this bridge but seldom catch anything besides sucker fish. I prefer just to stand on the bridge and watch across the mouth of the river.

A jetty juts out into the lake, just past the yacht club and the beach. There are chained railings on each side of it, but I like to cross over them and sit on the rocks below. From here I can almost see Michigan on the other side, yet it is still only a blurry haze. I can also see the beach and watch the people swim with their families and friends. A great number of the beachcombers are immigrants from Latin America, so I like to listen to what they are saying and attempt to understand it. But mainly, I merely prefer to listen to the crashing waves and be alone with my thoughts. Any thoughts, really. Whenever I am at home, I become distracted with anything and everything around me. At the lake, the only thing I can do is relax myself and clear my mind. I believe everyone should have a thinking spot and indeed does have one without necessarily knowing it. I have been doing a lot of thinking these past few months and have been coming to the lake several times a week. There has been a need to escape the constant stress of this summer and clear my head of it. And when I decide to turn around and walk back to my house, I know I have reached a greater understanding than before.


BlackenedBoy said...

The lake is pretty. I would want my thinking spot to be a bit more secluded, but that's just me.

I'm glad you have this place.

I'm also glad you've started posting pictures, seeing as photographs can open an additional window into a person's life, though not quite as much as their words are able to do.

How is the work situation and everything else going?

Anonymous said...

hmm...I like the idea of this blog post. I know you talked about wanting to create a video of your walk to the beach, but I do enjoy your idea to write it out. It was simply written, but with good word choice.

I also like how your observations of details are included. Most people would miss those things. I especially like how you say that the people along your route must know who you are and always say hi. That has to be a very comforting thought.

Good post as always, and I agree with blackenedboy, photos do add something more to your blog.

BerryBird said...

I lived on Lake Huron for a number of years, and I always found the shore to be a great place to think. There is something very soothing about the sound of water. That bridge looks pretty sweet, too. I love footbridges.

SoNotFastFood said...

Your thinking spot is beautiful. What lovely weather you are having! Lovely photos.

Ideally I'd have my own thinking spot - evidently everyone should have their own. :)

SoNotFastFood said...

Privatizing secondary schools? How in the world would that work? You're correct saying it's a backwards step; it seems like a return to the days when education was a luxury, not a right.

You have public colleges and private ones, like public and private schools yes? How does that work? In the UK, even very prestigious institutions like Oxford and Cambridge have essentially the same fees as other universities. We do have scholarship programmes as well, but I'm not too sure how they work. Most of our scholarship students go to American universities anyway - there was someone in my school who I think was accepted for one based on his athletic prowess.

Adam said...


Yes, the idea of privatizing high schools is very backwards, but it is thankfully a losing debate. The government would provide vouchers to each student to go to a school, but the capitalist idea of competition would be applied to students. Wealthier students would still get a better education. That's how it is now because our public schools are so poorly funded due to the current government (Bush, cough cough). While my school is cutting the arts and class sizes are increasing, the rich kids are living it up because they can afford a cushy private school.

As far as college, we do have both public and private. You still have to pay for a public college, but it is reasonably priced if you live in state. The only problem is that public colleges hardly give out any scholarships. If you are good academically, private colleges can dish out a lot of money for you and are sometimes cheaper than public ones. The quality of education is similar, except private colleges generally offer more individual attention. Most employers have no preference between the two either. Well, I hope this explains a bit how things work across the pond. Sorry if it got a little political--it's a very important issue to me.

Electronic Goose said...

So important to have a spot like that. I just read a good book on the subject, Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods. You might enjoy it if you haven't read it already.

BlackenedBoy said...

Where are you Adam?

Anonymous said...

He's on vacation for the weekend

SoNotFastFood said...

I forgot to check back for information about public/private colleges in America. Thanks for the info!

BerryBird said...

Haven't heard from you in a while, Adam, I hope things are OK. Do you have a different thinking spot for the colder months? It must get pretty blustery out on the jetty this time of year.