Valentine’s Day

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It was not the Valentine’s Day of my dreams…

In the afternoon I attended the memorial service for a man with whom my husband and I used to sing. He was a retired minister with a warm smile, a twinkle in his eye, and a deep love and steadfast devotion for his wife. His son described the love his father had for his mother as a “perfect shelter.” One of his closest friends spoke movingly of the time he spent with him on the many hikes they would take together in the Shenandoah Mountains. He was one of those rare people in this world who simply radiate goodness and light.

I went alone to the service, and my husband stayed home with the kids. As I was leaving the house, I asked my family to think of something fun that we could all do together when I got back. I knew it would be a wrenching occasion, and I wanted to have something to look forward to when I came home.

When I returned, my husband suggested that we go for a hike.

?!

?!?!

Did he not remember that I had asked him to think of something fun to do?

Did he not remember that in all of the almost twenty years that he’s known her, his wife has always, most definitely been an indoorsy kind of person?

Did he not remember that we had just gone on a hike the weekend before, thereby 100%, maybe even 175% fulfilling the annual hike quota for 2015?

Did he not care that it was about 20 degrees outside?

No. The answer is no, he did not.

And so we went.

We went to the Ragged Mountain Natural Area, which at this time of the year looks like this:

As we walked along I kept hearing alarming creaking noises and thought it was only a matter of time before I got beamed on the head with a falling tree.

My fourteen year old had decided not to wear his winter coat, and in keeping with my resolution to let him make his own crazy-ass wardrobe decisions, I kept my mouth shut. He did not look very happy:

As we hiked, I was quickly outpaced and fell behind. Everyone disappeared from view, and I trudged along by myself, thinking sad thoughts and apprehensively eyeing the groaning tree trunks. Suddenly, I saw this brave little plant right in the middle of the path. It seemed to be miraculously growing out of rocks…

I thought it might be a sign.

When I reached the summit, I found this:

It was a beautiful view worth hiking for, and it made me smile for the first time that day.

And then, to round off Valentine’s Day, we went to Lowe’s to pick up a part to fix a light fixture that had blown out…

And that’s how we restored a little light and love to Valentine’s Day.

In memory of John, who really did love hiking, and who brought so much light and love to the world.

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