I was losing light during our walk around Greenbelt Lake. The sun was dipping behind the trees as the sunset took hold. If you've played with photography at all, you know that you can take the same walk a hundred different times and still see different shots to take. And then there are other times when you see little or nothing to capture. This was one of those times, right until we reached the far side of the lake and this view opened up.
Greenbelt Lake, man-made in Maryland
Built in the 1930's, during the New Deal period, Greenbelt, Maryland was created as a 'New Town' with mixed-income housing and lots of publicly accessible amenities: shops, schools, a swimming pool and a community center. Greenbelt retains much of that old-world, village atmosphere even though it has grown in size since the original part of the town was laid down. As its name implies, the city was designed with a wide band 'greenbelt' around the central core. Part of this was the construction of Greenbelt Lake.
Greenbelt Lake is an integral part of this historic town, lying as it does, just west of the original town center. The lake is literally manmade. The agency in charge of the construction of the city chose to forego bulldozers and other contemporary mechanical methods in favor of manual labor. This was done in favor of providing employment at a time when ordinary folk throughout America were struggling to find work.
A Place for Recreation and Community
Not much has changed around the lake over the years. It's original purpose of providing recreation, green space and a gathering place for the Greenbelt community are still true. Most of the year you will find open areas around the lake are filled with families barbecuing, celebrating birthdays and all manner of cultural events. Joggers, walkers, and bikers continuously circle the trails at varying speeds. Children fish for tadpoles and minnows, whilst adults cast their lines for larger catches.
Each July 4th there is a large firework display, which thousands of locals turn up to see. People fish from the lake's shores, walk the trail around it and occasionally even kayak its waters.
As the sun dipped behind the trees on this warm June evening, I grabbed a quick shot whilst walking around the lake. The blue skies contrasted nicely with the golden sun, and the lake's waters were calm and still, creating beautiful reflections.