I am a watcher, perched above the lake, as high as the tops of the palm trees that have survived years of battering winds, sometimes hurricane force. The expanse of sky with the lake below brings me joy every day. My window faces south, so I get to observe sunrises and sunsets. During the hot summer afternoons, I will occasionally wander down for a dip in the pool, but more often I find myself observing the changing scene below.
I see two women deep in conversation at a table by the boardwalk. Nearby, on the small bench, crowds a family of four, parents and their young boys, fishing gear scattered all around. Richard, the neighbor everyone knows, is working on his sailboard. I see him often, even during the winter sometimes, catching the wind and skimming across the surface of the lake. Here goes a young teen boy, skateboarding carelessly through the parking lot.
The pool is crowded today, the temperature being in the high 90’s. There are many babies and children, slathered with sunscreen and watched with eagle eyes, or so I hope. There is the party bunch, more middle aged, gathered in a corner with their beer and cigarettes and classic rock. And over there are the sun worshipers, girls in bikinis, and the young muscled men with tattoos nearby. I should add, since I mentioned tattoos, that it isn’t really gender specific. I have one myself.
My gaze travels over the lake. A couple of boats sail in the distance, looking very picturesque. The water is cut by the power boat zooming past, seemingly recklessly. Where are they going in such a hurry, I wonder. Occasionally I have seen kayakers and people on standing paddle boards, but that is rare. Above all, the birds fly. Always there are seagulls, and often pelicans. They find roosting places on the old pier that juts away from the pool area. On rare occasions, when the weather is just right and the fish are jumping, the pelicans swoop and swarm frenetically all over the lake. The pelicans are rather ugly until they spread their wings and float ever so gracefully on the currants of air.
My gaze goes skyward. The blue of the sky is reflected in the lake and the pool. Cottonball clouds drift without care. Oh to be a bird, to always be able to look at life from a higher perspective. I lean back, close my eyes, and think about that for a while.