People Watching

Observation
Original photo from Unsplash

Earlier in the morning the lakefront was calm and quiet. A couple of hours later the area was crowded with people, blankets, towels, coolers and the items needed for a day at the beach.

We set up our camp chairs on a grassy slope facing the water. Despite the fact I had a book with me, most of my time was spent people watching.

Laughter echoed in the air as children frolicked in the water. Several were on brightly coloured flotation devices. I watched siblings splash each other and parents introduce toddlers to the water.

A couple carried paddle boards down to the water. They climbed on, quickly found their balance, stood and paddled off. I watched their fluid strokes with admiration.

A little farther out a bright yellow kayak made its way close to the roped off beach area. On the other side of the rope a few speed boats towed water skiers.


The variety of activity was perfect for people watching.

A young boy, about three years old, ran back and forth on the pathway. A butterfly had captured his attention and he followed its flight. When it landed on a nearby patch of grass the boy slowly approached and leaned in for what I assumed was a closer look. I smiled at his curiosity and a moment later was shocked to see him stomp down and grind it into the ground. Not what I expected!

In a public setting, it is easy to watch people. On the lakefront I saw fun and laughter, some sweet loving moments and a few things I wish I hadn’t observed.

Most of us carry on with our lives unaware anyone is watching.

The fact is, I never know for sure if someone has witnessed my actions. I may be the object of someone else’s people watching. If so, what kind of impression am I leaving?