There is a grackle on our little deck who, by the sounds of it, is quite upset by something. His angry caws compete with the constant cheerful song of the passel of white-winged doves that have taken to spending their mornings in the skinny, gnarled live oak tree next to our camper. Someone is cooking bacon outside and the salty smokiness is making my mouth water as I take another sip of my coffee and think about my own breakfast. Behind the birdsong, I can hear a train whistle and the subtle ceaseless hum of I-35 and people talking to one another around the RV park we are calling home for these eight weeks.
Tessie and I have crawled back into bed and I’ve taken up my pen to jot down these early morning noticings. Justin is off at work and I think of him with more gratitude and appreciation than I can begin to articulate. It takes a lot of courage to agree to a lifestyle that requires you to face being “the new kid” every 2-3 months and he’s done it with his usual good humor and openness. This life on the road wouldn’t be possible right now without this and as I work to transition my business more entirely into destination and lifestyle work and submit more and more of my writing for publication, I am reminded daily of just how fortunate I am to have a partner who believes in what I have to offer this world and is willing to make sacrifices alongside me to help me build and grow.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and as I’ve said before, it’s simply not a holiday that particularly resonates with me in the traditional way. The idea that love looks like red roses and chocolate and fancy dinner out seems so…I don’t know…wrong, somehow. It seems to miss the very best parts of what deep and abiding love gives. Beyond the sexy (which is great, don’t get me wrong!), there is the not-so-sexy, the plain ol’ day-to-day partnership and life-building. To be seen and heard, to have a home in another person that is so rooted in trust it liberates you to explore and risk and grow and challenge every notion you have of your own limitations…how can Hallmark possibly capture that on a card?
But I’ve come to appreciate any day that honors love. Lord knows, the world can sure use as many expressions of love as we can throw at it right now and far be it from me to disparage a single one of them. And I can always use an extra reminder to tell the people in my life how much they mean to me, how grateful I am to them for all that they bring to my little corner of the world, how much my life is improved for the simple knowing of them.
So I’ll take it, this little “Hallmark holiday” of ours, and I’ll continue every year to embrace the very best of what it stands for. And I will do my best to apply its lesson to the other 364 days a year and share my appreciation for the love I am so lucky to have in my life, even when things are “un-sexy” or routine or less-than-perfect. I will continue to spend my mornings noticing the sounds outside my windows and the scents that waft on the air and how sweet our dog’s little face is when squished in sleep and how beautiful this damn life is even in the torn, ugly spots.
I wanted to share a few last snapshots of our drive from Maine to Texas…we took a little side trip to the New River Gorge Bridge in WV, hit up a slew of bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, explored the wondrous Mammoth Cave National Park, wandered around Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas (not at all what you might expect!) and sampled a bit of craft brew, and had our first couple of nights “camping” in Walmart parking lots as we started to get crunched for time. I will share a bit of our Texas home next week…the impossible-to-remove astro-turf on our deck really classes the place up!