Thursday, January 08, 2009

Does the Sky have Borders?

Lake Huron - Canada-USA border
north of Sarnia ON and Port Huron MI


Borders are scratched across the hearts of men

by strangers with a calm, judicial pen,
and when the borders bleed we watch with dread
the lines of ink along the map turn red.
Marya Mannes

Much conflict occurs because of man made borders. Lines drawn by the victors after the two world wars continue to trigger ethnic violence. The world map is constantly changing and is very different than it was even twenty years ago.

Blue Water Bridge- Crossing into Canada at the top of the span

This week we drove across the Blue Water Bridge which spans the St. Clair River between Sarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan. It took about two minutes to present our passports and go through the USA immigration check point as the officer joked with us about the short shopping trip we had planned at the local mall. Two white Canadian women pass through this border very quickly.

Lakeside Park, Port Huron MI

I am very aware that I am in a different country as soon as I drive into Port Huron. The speed limit is posted in miles per hour rather than kilometres per hour. Gas prices are per gallon rather than per litre. The traffic signals dangle from wires rather than being affixed to a pole. The stores, schools, hospitals, homes and flags all have a different look. People tend to drive larger vehicles and the parking lots are filled with trucks and SUVs and rather than compact cars. The people speak with a different accent but are most welcoming and helpful. This is a friendly border.


Who drew the line in the sand and said this is America and that is Canada? I doubt many of us today could answer that question. The birds who left these prints on the beach fly freely in the skies and land in both countries. Nature is not limited by man made boundaries.

Will these borders always be secure and peaceful?

Their past has seen violence and if history teaches us anything, the future will likely host conflict again. I truly hope not, but pivotal events that change the present can occur very quickly.


I stood on the deserted beach looking across the water at my country. The skies were layered with colour and textures as high clouds were pushed along by cold winds. Ice was piled up at the water's edge even though the lake appeared to be open. A boat appeared through the distant mist in the horizon and approached the area where the water from Lake Huron drains into the St. Clair River on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.


It was a Canadian Coast Guard vessel patrolling that line in the water. Yes, we have borders on the land, in the water and even in the sky. As I hear the news about the current fighting in Gaza and other areas of the world I am appreciative of the peace we enjoy with our near neighbours.

May it always be!

Follow this link for more SkyWatch posts from around the world.

54 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos which are perfect for reflection..

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  2. I agree, borders are like blockages in the body that disrupts energy flow and eventually results in sickness and distress.

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  3. Love the photos, especially the last one.

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  4. As usual Ruth, a very thoughtful post.

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  5. It's nice to see some water front pictures at this time of year. We always take them in the summer. I don't know how many people the costal guard would encounter at this time of year, but it's nice to know that they have our backs everyday.

    Everytime we have cross the border it has always been friendly. They are just people like us doing their jobs. But there will always someone (or group) that will spoil it and the riens have to be pulled in tighter again. It's a shame. In Holland you can cross over to Germany just like crossing a street here. Two countries once at war now at peace. They have come a long way.

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  6. What a fantastic essay you get out of the ordinary. Good for you.

    My old stomping grounds although we didn't cross much in later years.

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  7. Wonderful shots. I love to see the sky stretched out blue all the way to the horizon.

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  8. Isn't it great to know that clouds and birds don't care about all our man made borders.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  9. A good read! Man is funny about ownership ... and ownership is so fleeting ... as short as life itself.

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  10. Dear Ruth.....a beautiful post.....I have been fortunate in my life to have visited both America and Canada and as you say there are differences, road signs etc. I found the people on both sides of the border friendly, warm and kind.

    Gaza has saddened me, as it has most people. I fear for the innocent children.....they have been in my thoughts on and off all week.

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  11. Lovely pictures and thoughtful reflections on borders. Our favorite charity knows no borders, Doctors Without Borders. Wish that could be said of all of us.

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  12. RW- I went with my daughter as she wanted shop at Meijer's, but she knew I had to go see the lake even if it was cold and deserted.

    NM- Well said and so true.

    Kim- I had to see what the boat was so I waited til it came close enough to read the name.

    Jayne- thanks... a lot has changed with our borders since 9/11 and I know they could change further.

    Cheryl D- I am glad you mentioned Europe. It is good to know that Holland and Germany are now so open.

    AC- I had forgotten you lived in this part of Ontario. How come writing was harder in school?

    SG- Yes, I see no border in that sky.

    Ruth- I am glad that people on both sides of the border care about birds and conservation. That is not the case with all borders.

    CS- The need for power and domination is very strong in some people, and as you say, to what end?

    Cheryl- Gaza has been on my mind and is really why I wrote this post. So many problems in the Middle East have arisen from lines drawn after the world wars without thought to ethnic differences. It is difficult to fix them now.

    NCMW- I admire Medecins sans Frontieres too and wish I had the skills to join them.

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  13. Great post and lets hope that these borbers are always peaceful and secure.

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  14. Wow...really nice photos!

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  15. Beautiful series and thoughtfully words.

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  16. Beautiful photos. I often wonder when I'm crossing into the U.S. where the line is in the sky or in the river. ;-)

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  17. Beautiful sky photos. Thoughtful words.

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  18. A very thoughtfull post. Your passag of the border was easy and peaceful. We had been to visit my in lawas in Montreal and were going back to Vermont when we were denied acces because, although the Prof. had a grren card to work at a US government Lab. it only apparently entitled us to one entry! Quite a kafuffle, withphone calls to Washington and all!
    Love your skywatch shots.

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  19. What a great post with so lovely shots. I live in part of Europe that is so turbulent that we try not to pay attention to everyday problems. Most of people where I live never, ever traveled abroad, or speak foreign language, or use internet on daily basis. But, most of them have someone who died during war in former Yugoslavia. You are very wise to know how lucky you are and to appreciate how you live. I hope that will go on this way. Always.

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  20. what lovely commentary and great photos...

    Gill in Southern Ontario

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  21. A very thought provoking post, one that I will read again. Your photos are wonderful.

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  22. Wonderful shots, does the body,soul,spirit very good.

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  23. A beautiful series of photos and words. Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Love the series of photos and especially loved the commentary! Borders are such fickle, limpid figments of the imagination eh?

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  25. I love the 1st and 3rd foto a lot! Like a painting! Beautiful!

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  26. What a beautiful, thoughtful post. Your photos reflect what your words were saying.

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  27. Wonderful series f images and a very thought provoking post.

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  28. Interesting, philosophical post and I agree that we should be grateful..
    My favourite image isn't the sky but those stones on the beach. Lovely. a reminder of Summer.

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  29. Great shots Ruth, you do our country proud.

    Cheers and Happy New Year!
    Regina In Pictures

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  30. what lovely photos - i agree with you that a visit to the beach is good no matter what the wather - ienvy you that have that luxury!!
    thanks for sharing

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  31. Lovely photos. I also wonder about "who" made borders. And why. I feel so at home when I travel to the U.S.A., I wish the borders would fade away.
    Thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

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  32. Ruth, this is great! We go to Port Huron occasionally but more often to Buffalo. We always count red-tailed hawks on our drives to and from New York state, the viewing is best in the winter of course. Happy Friday!

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  33. Wow. I like how the Sky and horizon blend.

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  34. Great post, Ruth. There is something about borders that excites. Standing on a border between two countries must be overwhelming!

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  35. Your quote of the day says to be truthful... so I will - Your Shots Are Fantastic! Great Captures!!!

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  36. Terrific thoughts, Ruth. I always love your pictures.

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  37. Oh no, the photos on my page were taken months ago - but I will take you up on the offer to share some snow w/ me!!! I would love to get some snow around here!!!

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  38. Nope, no borders!
    Beautiful sky over Lake Huron and a wonderful reflective post!

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  39. Excellent photos. I love the way you did the boarders to frame the photo. I am going to try that if you don't mind. I just love them that way.

    Have a great week
    Grammy
    Missouri, USA

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  40. This is quite an impressive post, Ruth.
    Not only the pictures are beautiful (the first one is my favorite), but you wrote true words about the borders too. It would be great men could cross borders like birds and other animals do ..., no passports, no questions ... just live in peace with each other.

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  41. Very nice post, Ruth. I hope and pray that the U.S. and Canada will always have friendly borders. And on a lighter side - NHL hockey unites these two countries! It would be a disaster if Canada and the U.S. were on unfriendly terms! ;o)

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  42. I wonder about that line as well. I am only an hour from the border over here in NW Montana.

    You have captured my heart with that first image.

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  43. Hi Ruth
    What an interesting post this is... I really enjoyed the words as much as the pictures.

    Tom :O)

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  44. Love the pictures and your thoughts on borders. Living on the coast (or near it), it's hard to imagine that was a lake and not the ocean from the photo.

    As much as we'd like to not worry about borders and what causes them, the flip side is sometimes, even in general life, those borders must exist in order to avoid conflicts. Though some people are most generous and their world is yours, we all know there are those on either side who will take advantage of that and rob you blind. Sometimes those borders are what keeps the peace.

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  45. Beautiful and thoughtful post.

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  46. Beautiful pictures and interesting thoughts on borders. Where I live, we had problems with borders more than 30 years ago, and still have the consequences of war to remind us.

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  47. What a very beautiful post.

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  48. Thanks for all the comments. I hope I have been able to visit all your Skywatch posts.
    (2sweetnsaxy- I cannot seem to find your blog.)

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  49. We cross the border frequently to see my Mom in Bellingham, WA. I find that borders are more than physical, they are also human. When we are in Canada the people have different attitudes and sense of purpose. In the States, people are hurried and have less time for each other (or so it seems to me). - Margy

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  50. Very nice article and photos. The views you expressed alongside your photos made me look at it with even more depth and appreciation.

    Greetings from Dubai, see you around!

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  51. I enjoyed your meditation on this theme. We have a border between Scotland and England that is now very peaceful, and hardly exists, but in the past it was bloody and troubled.

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  52. Lakeside Beach and Park - Port Huron was our place for vacations as a kid. Both sides of the family partied there - we took up many of the picnic tables and barbequed and swam all day long. They were good times and are great memories.

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  53. During the 1950's our whole family - both sides - had barbeque picnics at Port Huron's Lakeside Park and Beach. We ate, played ball, the kids used the mapo, we swam and enjoyed the entire day. They were good times, and now are great memories.

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