There is a spot on the lake trail, smack dab in the middle of the strip malls, where if you sit on the bench, your back to the Barnes and Noble and the Maytag store, the parking lot, which smells of oil and tires and bustles with people who rush from car to store while talking on their cell phones, oblivious to the precious wonder of Spring all around them, you can watch the wind stir the water where the ducks paddle serenely back and forth along the edge of the bank, their most pressing concern the rush of the big fish who break the surface, breech like whales and slap the water loudly, leaving only ever-expanding ripples––the sole trace of their existence––behind.* The trees are just waking and the tiny blossoms appearing all along their branches look like anemones or strange furry Muppet creatures who could burst suddenly into song with wide, gaping mouths and googly eyes. You could take a book if you wanted but then you'd miss the walkers and joggers, the roller-blading priest, the young couples, the countless puppies and dogs who pant and huff and pull on their leashes for the enjoyment of each person who sighs and wishes to adore them. You could smile from the bench and people would smile back, but perhaps in that awkward way they have of smiling at those who are dining alone, or sitting by themselves at a theater. You could sit for long hours and watch the sky turn on the surface of the lake, starting as an impossibly flat blue, then slowly––like the subtle movement of the hands of a clock which never quite seem to shift––into a bleached pink and gold, then a darker blue and finally indigo and night. It may seem too much, this lake witnessing, but with a handsome dog sitting at your feet, leaning softly, comfortably against your legs, nudging pebbles with his nose, sniffing the occasional ant which crawls across his ruddy paw, time can stand still and not matter at all, pressing and important concerns can be held at bay and an afternoon can last forever.
*This sentence is dedicated to Kelly. She knows why.