One of my favorite walks is along a piece of the Waterfront Trail of Lake Ontario. I never tire of looking at the water — seeing the wave action, marking the horizon. It’s a thing of wonder and beauty to me and washes me with no small measure of peace.
Lake Ontario, Canada ~ Keith Binns, photographer
On this particular early evening, Mr. G, honey and I are taking one of our rambles along the water. It is an unusually balmy spring day for April, and we are not the only ones taking the air. As we stroll along and I watch the activity around me, I realize that what I am seeing is the many and varied faces of love.
Walking in one direction, we see a father and his teenage daughter watching a beautiful long-necked swan swimming along the shore of the lake. I suspect she waddled across the boardwalk from the marsh and plunked herself down. It was to be a lake swim today. The father and daughter have their heads bent together, talking quietly. Teenage daughter seems to be concerned about the swan, and her father is offering some words of assurance.
Farther along, a young dad pushes his wee daughter on a swing suspended over the sandy beach. You can tell by her squeals of laughter it is a thrilling ride. Not too high. Just high enough. Dad’s hair is all ruffled in the breeze, and both wear identical expressions of joy.
We walk along to our usual point of turn and see a woman, with an old black lab on one long leash and a feisty young schnauzer on another, heading across the sand and towards the water. We follow behind them and watch as the dogs tramp into the water. The old lab lumbers along in water up to his chest, while the schnauzer — about two feet out — swims with all his might. They make quite the odd couple — a regular canine Felix and Oscar. I guess the old lab’s swimming days are over, but not the doggy joy of the water. Their mistress manages both leashes, smiling indulgently as she picks her way along the rocky shore.
Halfway along our return route, I watch a beautiful couple in their seventies as they sit on a bench looking out over the lake and holding hands. He is tall with golden brown skin. Spare. Elegant. She is rather petite, with that fair Irish skin and the most beautiful smile that travels from one side of her face to the other. They look so much in love that I simply can’t hide my grin.
We’re almost all the way back now. Coming toward us on the left is a woman lifting her toddler son to her hip. He bounces along secure in his mother’s arms, leans out, and gives me a grin that is sure to charm the socks right off the ladies one day. He is charming me now. He waves his chubby little arm in my direction and gives a very enthusiastic hello.
I laugh. “Hello yourself,” I say.
As we pass, I begin to hear the deep sound of primal drumming. I look around this way and that. Finally, I see a young woman and two men sitting with drums between their feet beating out a sound worthy of the day. The woman is being tutored. She waits. Watches. And then, sets her hands to the drum, a look of rapture upon her face.
It is the beginning and ending point of our early evening walk. A walk in which we took delight in the sights and sounds of the water against the shore and witnessed the many faces of love. I am content.