Last Saturday a fault line in the heavens cracked opened the skies and gold poured down on the Finger Lakes. I like to think it was a sneak preview.
Sun licked halfmoon waves on the lake with diamond glitters of light glistening to the shore while also piercing the liquid glass with radiance. The brilliant blanket of light illuminated the cold water and spread out upon the rocky bottom, causing small ringlets of shadow to shimmy over the smooth stones. Further out, where the bottom could still be seen from the shore, bald sandy spots were tinged slate blue by the cloudless sky overhead. It was that kind of a day.
A blue-ribbon performance showing off Geneva, my wife remarked, referring to all the visitors attending the Hobart William Smith graduation. In spite of a long to-do list for the day we were unable to resist walking the dog along the lake, beginning at the tunnel. The playground next to the wine ice cream joint swarmed with gleeful energy. We pressed on. Near Long Pier we took our seats to enjoy the opera at the Martin House, watching an avian drama unfold. Scores of the birds flew in and out, miraculously shrinking to squeeze through tiny holes and then presumably, out of sight and danger, feeding their young.
The dog insisted we keep going. A spanky clean white Sundancer, one of those cruise and fish kind of yachts, was being unloaded at the boat launch, and waiting in line behind it, a huge pontoon party craft. We walked on.
The I LOVE NY playground at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center was a beehive of excitement. “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” some voice cried out in hopes of being noticed, while bodies big and small crawled up and down and over and around brightly colored obstacles. Friends and families huddled and sprawled on the deck outside the Welcome Center sipping drinks. I saw one woman inside, wobbling for balance as she tried to stay on the dotted lines tracing a trail between lakes and landmarks on the map imbedded in the floor. “Don’t get lost,” I warned. She looked up, chuckled, and lost her balance.
Onward we walked into the warmth and sun. There were nearly as many dogs as people, all more or less friendly with our extraverted Labrador. Whether it was the guilt of errands and work we had to get done calling us, or the thought of coffee, we finally turned around. But then, with drinks in hand, the chairs in front of the Welcome Center seemed just too inviting to ignore. We sat down. The dog curled up in the shade underneath the table after ferreting out every morsel of abandoned food. Any urgency evaporated and we lingered. So many people to watch, so many colors to soak in, the breeze and warmth and just plain beauty of it all was delicious.
Looking down the lake from the Welcome Center toward the Ramada, recognizing how different and wonderful it is from just two years ago, both of us welled up with gratitude for this public resource and for those who designed and manage it.