“I look exhausted,” says my wife in response to me showing her this photo (right). She sportingly agreed to accompany our youngest son and me on a walk last Friday evening after a week of teaching and auditing a class. She may have been tired but her spontaneous hug of our son in the pre-sunset light made for an excellent photo.
We took this picture near the beginning of our walk last Friday, as we were strolling – of all places – the campus of McDonald’s corporate offices in Oak Brook, Illinois, just a few miles from our house. Somewhat surprisingly, the McDonald’s campus is a beautiful, highly accessible natural area of prairie plants, oak savannah, and several ponds and waterways with Olmsted-like landscaping.
As we continued our walk, following Salt Creek on the eastern edge of the campus, we saw flowers, birds, butterflies, and almost no people. The quiet and the closeness with nature relaxed us and put me, at least, in a philosophical frame of mind.
When we arrived at the other side of this corporate campus-nature preserve we stopped on another bridge. We looked over a small dam, a large pond, numerous bridges, and on a little peninsula across the water, a bride and groom in wedding garb working with a photographer (photo right). It was, indeed, a wonderful wedding photo location with even more wonderful light – the golden glow of the last 20 minutes before sunset.
Even from a distance we could see the couple engaged in the usual poses for wedding photography: gazing lovingly in each other’s eyes, smiling, embracing in various ways as the photographer snapped away, occasionally stopping to re-position the pair.
It then occurred to me: Yes, this is how it starts. The wedding couple. They’re hugging each other exclusively right now. But in a few years they’ll be back here with a son or daughter, posing lovingly on a bridge for a family photo.
And they’ll look over at this picturesque little peninsula, smile, and remember a romantic Friday evening in 2014.