Everyone I know has been posting the most beautiful pictures on social media, chronicling their summer vacations, with enviable captions like, “The perfect summer day!” and “Life should always be like this. #poollife” and “I’ve never been so relaxed…ahhhh.”

I, on the other hand, have felt depleted, spent and anxious.

Having spent the better part of a summer Friday working, including waiting for a conference call that never happened, I took advantage of the last few hours of daylight and went for a sanity walk in Central Park.

My favorite spot in the park, The Lake, has been my place of refuge ever since I moved to New York City almost two decades ago. Sometimes it is crowded and noisy, and I just pass through, admiring the beauty as I walk away. This particular evening though, cloudy and uncharacteristically cool, I found it quiet. Happily.

I sat down, closed my eyes and breathed in the cool air. There it was, the pocket of peace that had eluded me all day.

The light was beautiful, illuminating the trees and the reflections of the buildings surrounding the park. Always looking to take the perfect photograph of my favorite place, I began taking pictures with my camera phone.

A gondola came into the frame and looked oddly – and yet, perfectly – romantic against the impending dusky sky. I snapped away, framing the gondola against the backdrop of the Central Park West landscape. As I put my phone down, I noticed a couple in the boat. Then, I saw the man smoothly move from where he was sitting and crouch down on one knee.

I saw the woman gasp, then nod her head as she said yes to his proposal.

This was my perfect summer moment.

Love is everywhere. This love, though not mine, somehow lightened my mood. This couple, so full of joy and romance they promised each other a future, made me feel hopeful in what lies ahead. Love does that. In that way, I suppose it belongs to us all.

I hope you experience it for yourself.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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