Perhaps no other day highlights the difference in the temperament between myself and my occasional traveling companion, Ed, than this February 14th.
Or, you could say that this day offers an opportunity to find common ground.
Valentine’s Day. You can’t get Ed to say one good word about it. And before you swear allegiance to this anti-Hallmarkian stance, let me throw in that there are no kind words offered by him toward Christmas or Thanksgiving or even birthdays.
Oh, wouldn’t it be simple and grand if I disliked all the above as well! But I don’t.
We wake up to a beautiful day. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Working on matters of budget and taxes I come to a critical point where I realize that a wrench has been thrown into my calculations, terribly upsetting budget projections for the year ahead.
This day is not looking happy.
I flush out my options and I have a sympathetic ear in my traveling buddy.
In the end, I'm able to put it aside. The sun is piercing. I want to head out. I haven’t much time – there’s so much to read, so much to absorb for work – and yet I feel that a few outdoor hours would be a wise investment.
Loving yesterday’s hike along Lake Mendota, I suggest we give the other lake (Lake Monona) equal time.
We start out at the edge, where the fishermen hang out.
...Where little boys follow their dads, finding pleasure in just scooping out snow and ice from the drilled holes.
Why are they all leaving now, at the height of the afternoon? – Ed asks.
Probably heading home, with roses for the women.
We make our way across Lake Monona in brilliant sunshine. It’s quiet here. The city is removed.
This is what Ed and I do well: we walk through snow in the quiet of a day. Even as I know that once off the lake, I'll have to take stock of what's around me.
Or, maybe I'll forget the rough edges. Maybe all will feel beautifully serene.
The hike back is straight into the wind. I’m okay with that. Wind wipes out angst.
Later, we stop at Barrique’s for a coffee and perhaps this should be my Valentine’s moment. Because it has a heart, delivered.
At Trader Joe’s Ed asks – do you want Cava for tonight? (Cava is inexpensive bubbly.)
In the afternoon, Ed goes back to care for his cats and I work on my law classes.
The day is nearly done. I take a moment to make soup for us and pour the Cava. The Winter Olympics are on, but Ed tunes out, as I follow my longstanding love affair with these games.
Love. Not even I can find solace in a Valentine’s insistence on it. But looking back, I find no fault with this day. Which is a good thing.