Loosened from the mud, I find myself floating in a world of possibility.

So can you.

Lowering the Horizon

It was extremely hot this last weekend in the Twin Cities, but for some reason, we decided to go to the Loring Park Art Festival. No one in this family handles the heat well, but I was determined to have a great time because it was just wonderful being out as a family, plus one guest. It was a day that reminded me how beautiful Minneapolis is, the City of Lakes.

This festival was situated around a lake and it was interesting gazing at the tents across the water and past the cattails. It reminded of a medieval encampment what with all the canvas tents sporadically billowing in the wind. The set up was just perfect in that there was only two rows of tents/vendors/artists lined up all around the lake. Aside from the heat, this was not an overwhelming experience nor an overstimulating onslaught of color, art, sound. The centering lake balanced out all the sensations and made for a lovely afternoon.

Take a look at this picture and see for yourself what I mean.

And now the same shot but with the horizon lowered.

There is a big difference in these photos in terms of composition and light despite being taken from the exactly the same spot.

These days many dissertation memories are springing up from the depths. Out of nowhere, it seems, I have these snippets of triumph and heartbreak seep through my pores and assault my emotions. Here's an example of a good, instructive memory.

Four years into my program I was in the process of fleshing out the "architecture" of my project. Seeing the structure of chapters emerge, building ideas like I would build steps from one level of a house to another. Trying to cap the project with a roof that could contain all the ideas, yet limit the focus to something manageable. Everything seemed to be a visual exercise in grounding theory.

I happened to catch a documentary on Ansel Adams where there was a segment about how he conscientiously decided to "lower his horizon". This was incredible instructive to me back then when I was struggling to climb my mountainous doctoral program. The mountaintop figuratively represented my goal and on my way there all I could see was up, the granite impossibly attainable and looming, constantly threatening failure. Once I stopped and lowered my horizon, I was able to see the many steps, plateaus, etc., that I had to encounter on the way to the top. Finally, I was able to see a little more of the process in a less strenuous, more realistic manner.

I'm still floating around these days with goals in mind, but no plan on how to get there. Thought I would bring my horizons into check. Maybe take more time out of my day to gaze at the beautiful scenery and circumstances of my life.


  1. Wow. What a great post. I love that alliteration about lowering the horizon. What a difference it makes.

    The festival looks like a good time. My friend Gretchen lives in Minneapolis. It seems like a wonderful place to live.

    I am visiting via your comment at Chookalooks blog. So nice to meet you and read your post today. Way to go finishing school!


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