A Day By The Lake
Posted on August 27, 2011
Dipping my feet into the icy cold lake while my skin sizzles in the heat, I feel a rush of excitement usually reserved for adolescent boys watching the opening sequence of Baywatch for the first time.
There are ducks on the lake.
It’s funny how catching sight of these birds gliding by could inspire such euphoria in me. I’ve seen ducks before and find them boring and unremarkable. They’re tasty little buggers, especially when roasted, but that’s about as far as our relationship goes. I usually can’t care less when I see a duck, alive or roasted, but there I was beckoning my wife to see the trail of duckies by the side of the rowboat.
Many things are written about the wonders of travel and how it opens your mind to new possibilities. Growing up surrounded by concrete, it would seem likely that the novelty of seeing the same thing (the ducks) in the backdrop of a different environment (in this case, a pristine turquoise lake) was what sparked off this wave of excitement.
I really wonder if that’s it though. The setting is amazing and is straight out from a postcard but we have scenes that we place on postcards back home as well. I think what truly makes the difference is that I’m stopping and smelling the roses, something I was never really able to do previously.
In early 2007, the Washington Post conducted an experiment. Joshua Bell, a world famous violinist, took his Stradivarius and performed incognito at the Metro subway station L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. Out of the thousand plus people in the early morning work rush, only 7 bothered to stop and listen and only 1 recognized him. All in all, he collected $32.17 (excluding $20 from the passerby who recognized him) for a 45 minute performance.
My mind likes to paint a cliched stereotype but would it really be that unfair to suggest that a good percentage of these commuters were likely to be straight-laced government employees working routine jobs who were too caught up in their own lives to give a rat’s ass about a world class musician performing right under their noses?
Nah, what would really be unfair would be to suggest that they were also dull, homely looking and unmotivated.
I mention this only because it’s very likely that I would have been one of the commuters that walked by. In fact, it’s almost a certainty as I intensely dislike the sound of violins but that’s besides the point. Within the confines of my routine back home, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed if someone took a bunch of roses and stuffed the stems up my nose.
Now that I’ve been traveling for a month, I’m beginning to feel the effects of overhauling my life.
My senses are more attuned to my surroundings and everything seems fresh and new again.
Fruits taste sweeter. Conversations seem more engaging. Ducks are more exciting.