Sunday, November 09, 2014


What do you do when your partner's range of operations diminishes over time? When the idea of heading out (or even heading downstairs) seems less pleasurable than, say, staying under a quilt with mountains of material to read on the internet?

I've said plenty here, on Ocean, on the topic of Ed's desire to stay closer to home -- to not travel across the ocean, to forgo trips even across the continent. I've stood up in favor of traveling alone when your partner digs his heels into his (or her) familiar home turf. I've said it time and again -- solo travel is cool! It allows you to open your eyes wider to people and places you encounter. It buys you freedom. It's cozy, it's comforting, it's adventurous.

But what if that range (your partner's range) keeps growing smaller? So that you're recalling months of hikes, expeditions, explorations together -- all in the past tense?

I thought about this after Ed and I finished our Sunday cleaning this morning and I saw that he was ready to crawl back under the quilt and resume his reading. I didn't want to wait for breakfast, so Isie boy and I ate alone.


As Ed came down sheepishly, right when I was finishing my last bite of oatmeal with kefir, honey and fruit, I thought -- maybe it's time to give a little nudge. (If I were to be honest, I'd have to admit that it was more like an impassioned plea.)

And so on this last fine day before the polar vortex begins its slow descent to our neck of the woods, we do not retreat to our various projects. Not today. It becomes, instead, a day we'll spend together and I mean more than being simply in the same room of a farmhouse.

We pick a beautiful segment of of the Ice Age Trail and we hike, pausing not infrequently to explain various parts of our projects and preoccupations to each other.



I don't know that Ed needed that, but I certainly was missing some back and forth.



It's such a perfect place for a probing conversation: a back and forth up there, where the trees are now bare, the grasses golden and the air as crisp as the leaves beneath our feet.


On the way home, we make two stops. At Culver's for the frozen custard...


... and at DB Chocolates (in Madison), where Ed tells me to fill a box. I do.


Most of the times, he and I give each other plenty of room to hunker down, pursue our own projects, stay put in our own bubbles. But sometimes that alone time is just too long. Today, I so appreciated walking in step again.

In other news -- the chicken mama called and left a message: sorry it took so long. I'm coming this afternoon to get Oreo.

I saw Ed's face drop. I watch Oreo trundle along, after the white hens...


...trying his hardest to keep up. Winter is coming. I'm not out in the yard that much. Oreo is part of the pack. I call the chicken mama back: don't come. We'll keep him until spring.

In the evening, my girl and her husband come over.

(I told her to look pregnant!)

There aren't many of these Sunday dinners left. A number of the weekends between now and her due date will be given over to other activities -- holidays, travels, etc.


You think you've established a pattern and before you know it, the pattern is untenable and you have to start afresh.

Sometimes breaking a pattern is a good thing. Other times you're just so hungry for a new one to fill its place.