After my husband and I returned from our bike ride, I plopped into a chair on the hotel's balcony to cool down. It was unseasonably warm in the Austrian Alps. Years before, streaks of winter snow would have shimmered on the peaked mountains in the late-morning sun. I sighed at the memory, then contented myself with Achensee's majestic vista. One of Europe's deepest glacial lakes spread wide and long in the mountains' embrace, its water so clear I could see rocks flickering beneath quiet waves at the shoreline.
A boy, about six years old, and his parents stepped into view. The boy gestured toward the water; the parents gestured toward the low, wooden platform jutting a few feet onto the lake. With a shrug of approval, the parents sat on the platform, and the boy walked along the shore, opposite from the group of teens who splashed in the water to the right of the platform. He was bare-chested, a tall and skinny kid with a mop of sandy hair. He absent-mindly tugged his shorts upward as he walked with a determined focus. There was no doubt in my mind the kid wanted to go swimming, without the teens near the platform spoiling his fun. Those hot chicks and cool dudes were messing around, flirting and laughing with loud abandon and having a different kind of fun.
The kid kicked his flip-flops off and began testing the waters, seemingly for an approach with the fewest rocks. Some minutes later, he called to his parents and with a bright smile on his face waded into the water, then dove forward and began swimming. After a respectable distance, he turned around and returned to shore, only to repeat the swim with stronger strokes.
It wasn't long before others about the boy's age stopped with their parents and, after the same shrug of approval, kicked off their flip-flops and followed the boy's path into the lake. As swimming contests evolved, adults lounging on the platform began to give the young boys more than parental attention, at the expense of the teens' frivolity. When passers-by on the sidewalk began to stop and watch the young boys race, the teens began to grow quiet, eventually leaning hugging the platform with bewildered looks on their faces. The action had moved on.
But, parents being parents, they soon halted the mini Olympics, probably because the kids had been at it long enough, and everybody moved on. Those who would walk the sidewalk along the rocky shoreline wouldn't know that teens had been hanging out, as teens do before the generational torch passes, and a kid about six years old, with the help of Mother Nature and supportive parents, had charted a new path, what youth does when opportunity laps at his or her toes, regardless of where the kid lives.
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My husband and I returned home late yesterday. For a while, as it does on holidays, time seemed to stand still, as if the calendar didn't exist. Since my husband works long or erratic hours, he really enjoyed the suspension, and I felt contented by his relaxed smile.
Thanks for your patience these past weeks and for hanging in there. You're the greatest!
I've much to share with you in upcoming blogs. But, first, I'd like to drop by and see how you're doing. I've missed you! See you soon! Lots of love, Kittie