Photo-a-day, I Love My Town version

I’m doing a photo-a-day challenge with some friends on Facebook. I think the “challenge” is daily posting my crappy-ass snaps when they are posting their MoMA-worthy shots and not giving up in despair and humiliation.

I can’t make it an exercise in improving my photographic craft, which is nonexistent, but I have been trying to make it a mindfulness exercise, looking for interesting moments of each day and not try too hard to stage them. (Except the self-portrait. That gets a few do-overs before going public.)

It was in fact so bright on our ride to the lake that I was sure we’d get into an accident with a car, but we made it anyway.

Yesterday’s theme was “bright.”

After being quarantined in the house because of whooping cough and excessive heat, a bike ride in the cool of the evening was a like a dream. We stopped and took that photo before going around our lake, so we wouldn’t have to stop along the way.

I have terrible balance, or else I would have loved to snap pics of our trip, which is comfortingly predictable.

We hit the lake by walking our bikes past several large houses, some of them the most expensive real estate in the metro.But soon we’re biking past scruffy shoeless families fishing on the pier and the weird characters who hang out in their lawn chairs next to them. As we start around the south side of the lake, there’s a tiny beach where the windsurfers take off. Someone is always hauling a board off his or her car, and someone’s always sitting on the beach next to a board, staring out at the water.

We pass the parking lot for the south swimming beach, not really visible from the bike path, and soon we’re with the slackliners, ubiquitous at every park in the metro. Always there are about 4 guys and 1 girl, each of them looking like a model from an REI catalog. Always 1 girl, no matter how many guys. I like to think that she could drop kick their asses across the lake if needed, and she’s never ever slept with any of them, despite many opportunities, because, you know, eww. How do you slackline with the guys after that?

Then it’s the beach volleyball pits, with grills and lots of groups of young people practicing their setups in the grass while they wait for a court. If the slackliners are REI, the volleyball kids are Abercrombie. In high summer, the log rollers will be somewhere down there too, not far from the old mansion turned into a museum of electricity and magnets–how cool is that?

Coming up the east side there’s a soccer field, and as we round the corner towards the north beach I always think that the playground equipment looks like that cool, old equipment that’s fun but likely to lead to both tetanus and a severed femur. Across the street is one of the oldest social clubs in the city, Then the canoes, and then you can see the paddleboarders moving meditatively through the channel between the lakes. A man had a dog sitting at the end of his paddleboard. The dog looked mighty unhappy to be there, and I wondered how far from shore they’d be when the dog decided to take his chances and jump off.

The hill is next. It doesn’t look like a hill when you’re walking. I’ve learned to count how long I feel I’m really making an effort in order to get past it. 20 seconds maybe? And yet it’s 20 seconds of “oh god my lungs my legs oh crap a baby stroller is about to break any momentum I’ve gained oh am I gonna make it,” and then of course I make it because it’s 20 seconds. There has to be a metaphor about life in there, but I’m not going to reach for it right now.

After that we head back south, past the pavilion with the restaurant, which makes me feel like I live in Disneyworld because my lake is full of happy, smiling people relaxing, staring at the lake, and enjoying life with a fish taco or ice cream cone.

From there it’s the sailboat launch, our favorite swimming beach, the little kids’ playground, and the we’re watching for our exit. We stop and drink water, squint out at the sailboats and windsurfers, then push our bikes up the hill in front of the Zen center before riding home. I feel like I’ve experienced nearly everything I love about our state, town, and neighborhood in a few miles’ ride.

As we rode the last few blocks last night I was trying to calculate how much longer an evening bike ride will be feasible – not much, I know. But then the ice skating starts.

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