My Best Shot
Allen Hafner, Catonsville
The beauty of flight
I was spending a week on North Carolina's Outer Banks. One morning on the local news, there was a report that the Blue Angels flight team was getting ready for an air show. The report said the planes would fly by the Wright Brothers Memorial. I grabbed my camera and headed to the memorial. The Blue Angels made several passes over the park, but from my angle the last pass was the best.
A Memorable Place
By Christina Sfekas
SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Held in nature's powerful spell
I had been in Ireland for nearly five months, working and traveling. I was searching for the same things many travelers search for: self-discovery and an awareness of a world larger than what I had known before.
I got to Doolin, a tiny town on Ireland's west coast, in mid-December. Doolin is not large enough to have its own bank or ATM machine. It is nearly deserted in the winter, but in the summer the population triples.
It had been cold and rainy for most of my trip up to that point, but when I arrived in Doolin, the sky cleared and the rain stopped. I had a week of the most beautiful weather.
Doolin is a naturally wild place. Cliffs tower over the ocean, and waves crash into rock faces at the base of the cliffs. My second day there, I walked out of town and climbed a hill until I reached the top of the cliffs. A small expanse of grass separated me from the edge. It was cold and quiet. The silence was so intense, it became like a noise itself.
I crossed the grass until I could see the ocean below. I found a small crevice with a stream running through it. The stream ended in a waterfall that ran over the side of the cliff. I sat on a rock and looked at the waterfall and at the waves hitting the rocks at the bottom. It was as if this place had been made for me -- that the wind on my face and the sound of the waves was for me alone.
I stared at the water, mesmerized by its energy. Back and forth it went, sending up a giant spray, and I could touch it if I just leaned out a little farther, a little farther. Suddenly, I was giddy. I was alone, and I was laughing. I had a feeling of happiness in my chest so great it was almost painful. I was in the presence of majesty and I knew it. The waves were powerful, the cliffs were powerful, and I was small. But I was part of it for as long as I wanted to be. I had never been in the presence of nature so wild.
I look back on that day now and if I concentrate hard enough, I can almost put myself back there, almost taste the salt in the air, almost feel the bracing cold on my ears and cheeks. And I can almost feel that wildness again, that feeling of being happy for no other reason than that I was alive and in the presence of beauty.
Christina Sfekas lives in Baltimore.
York Beach, Maine
Jack Goedeke, Easton
Nubble Light is located on a rocky outcropping in York Beach, Maine. I've visited many lighthouses on both U.S. coasts, and this one is my favorite. It's such a beautiful, scenic location for a lighthouse. A "350" sign nearby was displayed to honor York Beach's 350th birthday.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Patty Kapelanczyk, Bel Air
Magens Bay, on the north shore of St. Thomas, has been called one of the world's 10 most beautiful beaches. The crystal-clear, turquoise water and white sandy beach is picture-perfect. My husband, two sons and I went on a cruise of the eastern Caribbean last June, and, of all the places we visited, none was more beautiful than Magens Bay.
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* Readers Recommend -- Briefly tell us about places you've recently visited that you'd recommend to other readers. (50 words or less; photos are welcome.)
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