Sunday, August 12, 2012

finding your way

A day or two ago: you want to go hiking and camping in the Black Hills?

(He continues to paint the house.)

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Breakfast. You'll see the same images of a morning meal on the porch, though today Ed picks tomatoes and so we have those, too, to admire.

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If you hear a note of desperation in that first question, you’re spot on. As August moves into its second half, I know my free days are very numbered. In the past, we’ve done a number of North American adventures in the summer. But this year a case could be made for just staying home. The weather is finally near perfect, we have almost no bugs (even as farmers down the road are having a hell of a time fighting them off; we rack our brains trying to understand what we’re doing right for two years in a row now and in the end, we figure it’s like the economy: too complicated for anyone to really understand and reliably manipulate into the future). 

Ed tells me – the tomatoes are ripening, your flowers are blooming, home is good now.

And yet, the man loves wilderness camping. I can sense the tug. Sill, I recoil once I figure out the driving time. Over thirteen hours each way on the highways. Many people have issues with flying. I have issues with spending the best part of any one day in a small box moving along a ribbon of asphalt.

We could listen to stuff. Make it fun.
So we should go?
Maybe not... it’s so nice here. Unless you want to camp?
Can we do two nights in a motel?
There’s no point in driving that far if we then spend time in a motel.

I do not see it that way. In an inspired flurry of morning activity, I had found a cheap cabin and in a surge of optimism, I booked a room. After hearing Ed's perspective, I unbook it and close all Internet tabs with promising South Dakota hiking trails. How is it that sometimes, Ed and I are so very compatible in our travel dreams and images. At other times, we are fermented in our own idiosyncratic preferences.

And so this too becomes a trip not taken.

Earlier, he had said – pick a place for dinner. Any place. I had noted that I’d been cooking daily, pretty much nonstop since our return from Europe. The man is asking me out on a date. I go for the whole banana: with a movie before that? (He knows that means a romantic comedy.) Okay, with a movie before that.

We eat at Lombardino’s, one of Madison’s good Italian places (by good, I mean that freshness matters to them).

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And before, we see the movie Ruby Sparks. It’s a lovely film. And maybe you're thinking -- eh, it's not relevant to my bag of issues and foibles. Oh now, don't dismiss it that quickly. Will you agree that it is ever so wistfully sweet in suggesting that somewhere in the tangled mess that is life, you can find a good way to live with a person who is... very different than who you are and that that difference may be a good thing?

At dinner, we have the most wonderful pasta with seafoods...

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...and at home I watch the end of the Olympics and I sob at the beautiful fiction that allowed us, for two weeks, to think of the world as a safe and caring place where good effort is enough to give you a chance to be who you want to be.

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nasturtium from the garden