The beach. It’s my favorite place in the world to be. Just the smell of the salty air can bring me back to the appreciation of “now” in a snap. I love the sounds – sea gulls, waves, crowds (or not). I love the sights – a seemingly endless stretch of water in front of you, the white of the sand, the lapping of the water as it soaks the boundary between water and land. I love it all. I miss it terribly. I’m used to being pretty close to the ocean. Close enough to hop in your car and be there in a few hours.
I do, however, think I’ve found a worthy replacement. Lake Michigan is grand, commanding and beautiful. It’s surrounding landscape is breath-taking. And then there are the dunes. While dunes are not new to me, dunes the size of Mt. Baldy and the like are quite new. I’m accustomed to dunes a few feet high. The Indiana Dunes are indeed a sight to behold.
Last year, when I first made a trip to the beach of Lake Michigan, I was in a state of confusion. My sparkling emerald water and blinding white sand had been replaced by a bit of sand and rocks – but it was a beach, all the same – the water gracefully lapping at the shore, rather than violently crashing into it. It was a moving scene, nonetheless. In fact, I decided on that day that the magic is somewhere hidden in those large bodies of water.
As a newcomer to a Great Lake, it is amazing to see. And while it wasn’t the beach I was accustomed to, it was a place filled with that same serenity and beauty I’d come to know and love over my life.
I’ve been back numerous times. The latest was just a few weeks ago. This time, I hiked to the top of Mt. Baldy (with a baby on my back) and then spent some time at the waters edge. It was a beautiful day,which had abnormally reached temperatures in the 80s. I made the absolute best of it and even managed to convince a visitor that she was going to see a part of Indiana she’d never expect. She fell in love immediately.
The Indiana Dunes are now a part of me, a part of my outdoor routine. I’m convinced that I see something new and beautiful every time I go. Whether it be those gorgeous rocks, the beautiful plant life or a new view – there’s always more and I’ll keep going back to see it.