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Widening my horizons

August 28, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

It all started with our neighbor, Bill, suggesting we cut back some brush and a mix of saplings along the beach to expose a couple of pretty little "Charlie Brown" pine trees. On either side of the ramp that takes me to my beach, there are small trees that need to have their branches cut back every so often so they don't interfere with the power lines. But since those branches are higher, they don't obstruct our view.

These little saplings, however, cut off much more of the view than I realized until Terry and Herman cut them back.

So, Terry brought her "loppers," chain saw and hedge trimmer over the second day after Herman had been using his grandfather's cross-cut saw on day one. Things went fast enough on day two, so they also cut down and hauled away six small trees on the borders of neighboring properties.

Article Photos

This photo shows the view from Kathryn?Spira’s house before brush was removed.
Photo submitted

My love of the beach, as I've told you before, started at a very early age and my parents would often take us to Euclid Beach in Cleveland on Lake Erie. However, I never really got the full effect of the beauty of a beach until I went to Marco Island in Florida. Other favorite beaches over the years have included the white sand beach at Siesta Key, which recently was catalogued as one of the five best beaches in the world. The cool sands of the white sandy beach there definitely fall in the "best" category. I've also been to the beach at Eilat in Israel and the Mediterranean beaches in the south of France. I come by this naturally, as my mother also loves the beach and passed that love to me.

When I was in California pursuing my acting career, I would even try to schedule auditions around my beach time. This tradition carries on today as I try to schedule my writing and other activities around beach time as well.

So, when Herman and I saw the chance to settle down along a beach years ago, we jumped at it. Or, I should say, I jumped at it and persuaded Herman to do the work and build the house.

The house I live in was finished in 2001 and designed to support accessible entry and getting around in a wheelchair. But just as important was the glass in the lake-view front of the house.

I now have a vista of the lake and Adirondack Mountains to my west with no obstructions of the beautiful sunsets and constant activity on the lake - from water skiing and boating in the summer to snowmobiling and cross country skiing in the winter.

Now, with the extra brush and trees away from the beach, it seems like my horizons have been widened and more of nature's beauty has been let into my life. I hope you all can say the same thing as you meet each day.

I enclose before and after photos of our view. For views of our home, go to

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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