I’ve spent much of my holiday break inside, rendered sedentary by a renewed appetite for fiction combined with a general case of the motivational doldrums. When I woke this morning to a thick overcast New Year’s sky, the cabin fever that’s been building in me the last few days felt oppressive.
A lunchtime run chased away some of the fog and lethargy, but I knew I needed to breathe more than the air of suburbia to brush away the remaining cobwebs. So I set out to hike Meadowbrook Park in Urbana.
All of our pre-holiday snow has melted, so I didn’t expect much in the way of lens fodder beyond tree silhouettes and prairie ghosts. Now, I’m certainly not beyond finding beauty in the browns and greys of the winter landscape, but the prairie wasn’t calling my name as I walked into the brisk air of the park.
I wanted to see what visual magic was flowing along the stream that meanders through the wooded area of the park. The walking trails don’t intersect the stream too often. I took a hard left off the first footbridge, traipsing over the fallen victims of beaver and under the thickets of invasive honeysuckle in order to follow the stream along it sinuous curves.
Some stretches were frozen solid, others open and flowing. The most beautiful moments existed in between and along the edges, ever-changing crystalline sculptures carved by the flowing stream. Each made me wonder what dynamics caused its unique pattern of curves and cracks. Were they growing stronger or soon to dissolve into the undercurrent of life?
This last photo struck me. I could imagine a person, perhaps a small boy. Sitting in these woods along this stream, knees tucked up in front of him. Rivulets of thought spinning around in his head. Just like the ice currently confining his expression, he faced the inevitable changes that his life’s stream would carry.
Captured by a snapshot, he soon becomes a memory with an infinite future.