Youthful Smiling Faces

Last weekend I stood among one dozen youthful and smiling faces. Beyond was Lake Michigan, its muted blue and green water as stormy as the sky. Waves with whitecaps crashed on the sandy shore far below our perch, but made no sound. There was a cold wind that swept up and over the face of the dune and carried with it sand and snow that felt like a billion little supermen punching my radish cheeks.

I sat on the hard yellow sand and closed my watery eyes for a moment to imagine the warm summer day when I ran down the steep dune path (dimpled from climbers). The water was still and transparent then, which allowed me to see rocks near the shore and splotches of seaweed further out. I want to say I could feel the warmth of that summer day sun as I sat there with my eyes closed, but there’s no way. The wind whipping over the precipice of the dune carried away not only sand and snow, but also the remainder of my summer memory. As quickly as I had displaced my presence, I was brought back to the present by a chill that rattled my vertebrae.

Above me, dogs wove in and out of multicolored snow-pant pillars, playing and flirting with each other in a manner of which the rest of us could only dream.

When we lined up for a group picture, backs to the beauty, our smiles ran left-and-right and up-and-down. Big goofy sand-filled grins, all seeming to say, ‘I’m having fun if you are!’ And in that precise moment I realized that we were (and are) fractions of each other’s happiness. Without any number of us there, the wind would carry a sharper bite, the gray sky would be less magnificent, and our pictures – memories – and lives would be less brilliant.

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Attorney & Amateur Golfer

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