I lean over the railing of the gazebo overlooking a mossy human-made pond. There are initials carved into the rotting wood of the gazebo. The sun radiates a soft yellow light and gently caresses my skin.
On the rocks surrounding the pond are bales of Sliding Turtles, still as statues and with snouts pointed upward. They look toward the sun as if in a state of worship. Two of the turtles descend into the water with the smaller one continually waving its claws at the head of the larger one like a child pleading for its parent’s attention.
Across the pond on the hilly lawn two lovers sit on a blanket. The man is olive skinned and silver haired. He looks sleek and slender like a fox. His legs are apart to make room for a woman who leans back into his chest. She wears a long white linen skirt that flows as femininely as her wavy brown hair. They look to be in their 50’s but laugh in the unfettered manner of children. It is a love that looks new enough to have an unearned spark, but old enough to contain some level of comfort. I smile at the moment they are sharing. I wonder if they will remember this experience and just as quickly realize that it does not matter because they have this now.
A toddler follows a duck around. He giggles excitedly as his mom looks on warmly. The duck does not fly away, it simply waddles as if indulging the boy in a game of tag. Eventually the duck decides to enter the water and the child cries. The mother picks her boy up with a warm laugh. He is comforted within seconds.
I become aware that I watch all of this with a sense of invisibility and that this both comforts me and makes me sad. I walk slowly back to my car and drive to my office.