It was a lovely evening. The last two days have cooled off considerably. "Nice sleeping weather" is what they say around here. So tonight we packed up the dog in the car and drove to one of the nearby city lakes.
My husband stopped to get a cigar. For some reason, he likes to smoke a cigar while he's walking around the lake. Then we walked a few blocks down, past the big houses with bikes instead of cars in front, and past the small front yards filled with flowers, and past the end of the month moving vans.
The lake front has been tailored for traffic. There are two paths, one for walking and running, and one for bikers and rollerbladers. Whenever I go to this particular lake, I start feeling very nostalgic, pining away for my young adult days, when the future with endless possibilities was spread before me. I got nostalgic for picking up an Utne Reader at Orr Books (now out of business) and taking it down to the beach to read. I got nostalgic for Morris and Christie's Market, where I would stop for some kind of funkie juice drink. I fondly remembered the time a guy tried to use his two cute daughters to pick me up. (I was so young and single then!) This particular lake reminds me of being young, and adventurous and just a little counter-cultural, harboring heretical thoughts. Makes me wonder what others are nostalgic about, what places, people, smells or sounds.
Walking around, I noticed the earnest runners in their bright orange shorts, the women whispering and laughing, families with little kids in strollers, or backpacks or arms. I noticed families of all nationalities, wearing varieties of bright colors. I noticed synchonized rollerbladers, skating to unheard music. For the most part, people were smiling.
We stopped at the Pavilion to get something to eat, stood in a long but friendly line, where Scout made many friends and obtained admirers. A young dad and his little boy oohed and aahed. A Bernese Mountain Dog sniffed Scout and Scout sniffed back. A little girl absently patted Scout's head. She loved it all, played to the crowd.
We ran into Newest Parents from church, and their 2 1/2 week old daughter. She's beautiful. I'm a little prejudiced. I got to hold her when she was 1 day old. They are filled with gratitude for this gift in their lives.
I'm not old, but I'm not young any more. Going to the lake doesn't feel the same as it did once. But somehow, maybe for different reasons, it still pulls me -- to find respite, to find a sanctuary, to find hope.