Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Little Light

Today something happened that brought some light into my day.

I was walking my dog near the Alster, this beautiful lake right in the center of Hamburg, and had decided to take a break at a bench.

While I was sitting there, my dog went over to the shore, got a stick and brought it back. She wanted me to play fetch with her, but I didn’t want to do that.

All I wanted to do was just sit there for a moment and take in the scene: the mallard ducks bobbing on the water and the seagulls flying above.

After a few minutes, though, I started to feel ennui. I think this was because I realized then and there that I didn’t really have any plans for the day.

So there I was just sitting on the bench, zoning out and feeling slightly blue, when a group of people walked up alongside me. They were a jovial bunch and had wanted to take a picture in front of the Alster. There must have been, like, seven or eight people in this group, but what jumped out to me was that a few of them were speaking what sounded like American English.

After they took a few pictures, one of the members of the group, the guy who had taken the picture of all the others, asked me in German if I could take a picture of the entire group, himself included.

I said sure, answering in German. He then joined the others and I stepped back with his iPhone in my hand to take the picture. I noticed, though, that these people seemed to be having a lot of fun as they were getting ready to take the picture. So I started clandestinely snapping away with the camera. (I had once seen a professional photographer do this in a group-photo situation and had thought that the idea was brilliant.)

I was already pleased with the secret pictures I had taken of the people, but of course wanted to give them the kind of photo they had asked for, and maybe a little more, so when they finally were ready to take the picture, I said, in perfect English, “OK, guys, ready? Say cheese!"

By revealing in that very moment that I wasn't a native German, I was trying to spice things up, get these people a little excited, which I thought might lead to a better picture, and it did.

But then the magic really happened. My dog, which up until that point had been playing with her stick by the water, walked into the frame, dropped the stick, stood perfectly erect alongside these people and looked straight into the camera, almost as if she were posing along with them. I mean, the way it all looked...it could have been a commercial...it was that perfect.

While I was taking the last shots, I couldn't help but start laughing. I told these nice people that I hoped they liked my dog because she was now featured conspicuously in several of their photos. We all laughed at that.

As I was getting ready to go, one of the group members asked me where I was from. I told him, and then we all had a nice, small chat. (It turned out that those accents were actually Canadian.) But the real cool thing was was that after I had finally taken my leave from these people, I noticed that I was in a much better mood than I had been before they came along. What I really felt was light. Like, "turn on the light" light. I felt that this group of very happy people and the interaction I had had with them had brought a little light into my day.

So there you have it.


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