Breakfast this morning at Le Comptoir with Margo:
Clear skies, sunny, a feeling that Spring is right around the corner. Margo and I paid our first visit to the new lakefront pastry café adjoining Petit Louis Bistro. Much as I bemoan being the parent of a teenager, this morning was one of those great experiences where I felt the joy of being able to go out for breakfast together, walk around the lakefront, take pictures, engage in light, careless conversation.
As we sat enjoying our drinks we took in the view. There were people in it. An older gentleman and a little boy down on the dock were looking at two seagulls. A young couple in running clothes jogged by with their (very happy) dog. Margo started to laugh.
"Look! They're rolling down the hill."
I looked. Three children were rolling down the grassy hill in front of Clyde's.
When we finished, Margo asked if we could walk around a bit. We walked down past the Tomato Palace and Clyde's, near the water. A young family had spread out a blanket and were having a little picnic. Older kids were playing on the terraced lawn. We walked by the fountain and talked about wanting to see it turned on in the warm weather, with children splashing in it, or cooling hot little feet.
We kept on, walking down in front of the Rouse building and remembered going out in the porch there at our first Souper Sundae event to enjoy the view. We talked about progress on the building and the coming of the new Whole Foods. An older couple passed us, looking like veteran lake-walkers. It was a beautiful day to be out.
Since I have lived in Columbia, most of my trips to the lakefront have been marked by an almost museum-like quality. Everything beautiful and well maintained, but empty and silent. Today was different. It was clearly alive. Not for a festival or a concert or other publicized special event, but because it was a beautiful day and that is where people wanted to be.
I felt a sense of hope. Like the milder weather and hints of sun that make us think of Spring, a few children, teens, families, runners, grandparents, and walkers spoke to me of new life coming to the lakefront, and new life for Columbia.
I realized as we walked back to the car that we hadn't stopped to look at the People Tree, as is our custom. Why? We were too busy people-watching.