Prairie Lights: A little ‘fall protection’ for our readers

In this Prairie Lights space, I generally give vent to personal opinions on subjects like politics, culture, religion and other tender subjects.

Today I want to test the limits of the First Amendment by unburdening myself of the opinion that we live in a spectacularly beautiful place, especially during the fleeting few weeks of High Autumn, which I am capitalizing in defiance of Associated Press style regulations to emphasize how glorious it is.

Ed Kemmick

Ed Kemmick

It’s the time of year when, in the face of such staggering, breathtaking beauty, it’s almost impossible to stay down in the dumps for more than a few minutes, at least if you’re outside.

So I went outside, to the South Side, to Riverfront and Two Moon parks, to the Heights, to the residential areas below the Rims, to the downtown, West End and central Billings, looking for images that captured some of that glory. A lot of the photos ended up being from Two Moon Park. My dog and I like it there. So sue us.

I also went to North Park, hoping to demonstrate how that fairly neglected, seemingly over-urbanized park has one of the best stands of trees in the city. I couldn’t quite capture what I saw with my own eyes, and what I had hoped to share. That means you’ll have to go there yourself and take a close look. It’s worth the effort.

While I was in North Park, though, I did take a photo of a young boy standing on top of an enormous pile of wood chips. Once these are spread out under and among the swing sets, slides and other pieces of playground equipment, they will be officially known as “fall protection,” as in protecting those tender young bodies that fall from swings, slides, monkey bars and etc.

And it occurred to me: I was out shooting photos for a kind of fall protection myself. Or, more accurately, fall preservation, trying to pin down on the ephemeral pages of Last Best News a few images of autumn before they were gone forever, replaced by the frigid, much less colorful images of winter in the Great North.

So my work is done. Enjoy it while you can.

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