It was a beautiful day, in the Rocky Mountain park of Banff, Canada. She was on vacation, and Banff was her favorite getaway to refresh and renew. The cool mountain air, even in the dog days of summer had a quality to it that was hard to put a name to. The pine, mixed with the moss, and the clean fresh snow in the mountains never failed to revive her tired spirit.
Moraine Lake was one of her special places, a "happy place" some might call it, for it held special memories for her. She and her late husband had come here on their honeymoon, and she made the trip now every year to remember the beautiful relationship they once had.
One of her hobbies, was photography, of scenery, and as she walked she snapped pictures on her new digital camera, that she treated herself to as a birthday present. The mountains were beautiful and the color of the lake, a surreal turquoise blue, caused by the silt of the runoff. She had never found a film that could quite capture the unique color. She only hoped that the digital could do that for her. She would be excited to see the pictures on her laptop, when she got back to her little cabin, nestled in the woods.
She decided to stop, and rest for a bit, and sat on a large boulder, and pulled out a bottle of cold water, and a sandwich she had packed. She also had some nuts, and sunflower seeds, and while it was illegal to feed the wildlife in the National Parks she couldn't help but share a few seeds with a friendly little chipmunk that had come to keep her company.
As she ate, she meditated about her life, since the loss of her beloved husband. He was such an amazing man, she had loved him deeply, and even though it had been more than five years since his passing, she still wore her wedding band, unable to break that last connection to him. She wept quietly, for the life that should have gone on for many years to come, for what they had lost, and what they had never had.
Suddenly she felt the presence of another with her, and she turned to see a handsome man, a few years older than herself, handing her his handkerchief. She hadn't even realized she was weeping and then there was this man, standing there. "You look like you lost your best friend.", he said to her, smiling gently at her.
"What? Oh, I, ah, yeah, I have lost my best friend. My husband passed on and we had come here on our wedding trip. I come at least once a year to rest, relax, enjoy the scenery, and take some photos." She nodded at the camera hung around his neck, "Looks like you had the same idea."
He perched on the rock beside her, and also took a bottle of water out of his backpack. She offered him some fruit and nuts, and they sat in the sunshine and visited, comparing notes on the photos they had taken.
"You're not from Canada, are you?" she asked him, fascinated by his rich deep voice, and the smooth southern accent, that was nearly not there. She picked it up, as she had a thing for an accent.
"No, I'm not, I'm from Texas. I have heard about Banff, and really wanted to shoot some nature photos, and really what better place than this
She agreed with him, and asked what else he had seen. She told him of all the wonderful walks that can be found, not back country hiking, but gentle strolls in the mountains, for good photo ops.
He noticed that she felt a sense of pride for this part of her country, and he asked her if she would be his guide to the area. He was going to be there for another couple of weeks, and so was she.
"Oh, I don't know. I'm not sure that I'm the one you want to show you these places. They hold too many memories for me, and. . ."
"You don't want to share them with another man, is that it?" he asked her gently.
She looked him in the eyes, and found a sadness there that matched her own. He was alone in this world too, she knew that instinctively, and smiled at him shyly. She nodded, and looked away, over the lake. They continued to talk, and found they were staying in the same cabin compound, only a few doors away from each other.
"Have dinner with me tonight, please?" he asked.
She could not refuse this man, and could think of nothing more appealing than sharing a nice meal with him. "Do you have any place in mind?" she asked him, "because if not, I know a fabulous four star dining room not far from here."
"Fine, I'll pick you up at 8:00 PM?"
She nodded, and said she would make reservations for the dining room. They got up, and packed up the garbage from their lunch, and walked leisurely back to their cabins. A nap, a bath, and a lovely evening out for the first time in years, was something to really look forward to. Yes, it might turn into a wonderful vacation after all.
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<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/novels/a-walk-around-the-lake.aspx">A Walk Around the Lake</a>