Sunday, February 14, 2010

What The Pileateds Did on Valentine's Day

It's interesting that Roger and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day in the traditional sense. My parents always did. They exchanged cards and remembered each other in those kind ways that romantics sometimes do. Even from his deathbed, my father had one visiting child (my older brother) buy a card in January and hide it in a drawer for a month, and had another visiting child (me) fill it out for him to give to my mother on his last Valentine's Day. It was that important. He died one month to the day later. Yet here it is Valentine's Day, and Roger and I don't buy any cards, gifts, candies, or flowers. We spend 24 hours a day together. That's literal. Our affections are expressed in the little surprises we do for each other every day of the week. It's true. One of us sneaks off in the morning while the other is immersed in political readings or Facebook, and makes the bed. Or, Roger will whip up a breakfast frittata. Or, I'll make a fresh batch of maple almond granola. In the evening, every dinner is a celebration. We open a bottle of wine. We hold hands before we eat and thank each other for the meal and the day. When one of us is doing the dishes, the other turns down the bed. It's a daily dance of love we do. Seriously what more could we do on Valentine's Day that we aren't already doing everyday for each other?
We go for a hike. On this Valentine's Day the sun was shining in a sierra blue sky. We headed out in the mid morning, feeling the warmth of temps already in the high 50s on our winter pale skin. We walk a brisk four-mile round trip. All the people on the trail are just as happy as we are to have this beautiful day. Everyone greets each other with a generous "good morning" and a "wow, what a beautiful day..." and walks on. Dogs splashed in the irrigation ditch, and children fished for brown trout. It's that kind of day. Easy.
Off in the distance a pileated woodpecker calls. Then again. We walk on, feeling lucky to be heading in the direction of the sound. We stop and listen. The call is so close, we know the bird is as near as can be. There in a very tall, old snag we see a flash of a red head on a black body. He calls and cranes his neck to find his mate. He calls again. She arrives. The trail is instantly restored to its natural quiet with the two of them together at last on the tree. And for a moment, we think they must be celebrating Valentine's Day.

18 comments:

  1. love your woodpecker R and R, and love your valentine. if you cannot treat each other well all year, one day will not be enough.

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  2. a home-run of a post, dear. just beautiful.

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  3. You two are living a marriage the way it should be.
    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  4. Oh, I think you *did* celebrate!

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  5. More proof that V day is a silly holiday. You 2 demonstrate your feelings for each other every day.

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  6. We never make a big deal out of Valentine's Day either. It seems more commercial than anything else. A day hiking is always special especially with a lovely photo as part of the reward

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  7. Very touching remembrance of your father's efforts to symbolize his love for your mother. Whether in daily routine or spurred on by the moment, you both seem to have an enduring love and respect for each other that is inspiring. Happy day :)

    The pileated pictures are beautiful.

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  8. I do believe Valentines Day is for improving the gross national product. You guys do it right.

    Love Pileateds. Wonderful shot with the white bark and brilliant sky.

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  9. Love is all there is, it makes the world go 'round / Love and only love, it can't be denied

    (Bob Dylan)

    Happy Day-After-Valentine's Day!

    The atmosphere of love that your parents created together lives on in you and Roger.

    What you wrote and the series of images of the Pileateds and their home makes this my all-time favorite post at The New Dharma Bums.

    I noticed the long needles on the snag and thought of these baskets:

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.kumeyaay.info/museums/modern_baskets/moderni/Pine_Needle_Basket.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.kumeyaay.info/museums/modern_baskets/pine_needle_basket.html&usg=__P5sB1IbCqe6akXFivxsX97pcyfA=&h=444&w=600&sz=103&hl=en&start=6&itbs=1&tbnid=HXjpp1BiqU0M8M:&tbnh=100&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dlong%2Bneedle%2Bpine%2Bcalifornia%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

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  10. I love your post. I wish I had someone so close. As it is, I guess the cats and I spend a lot of time together. Perhaps they are my valentines. Your walk sounds like it was very peaceful and enjoyable.

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  11. O U kidz!!! What a sweet post, with that Valentine-headed bird doing its thing!
    Many more days of happiness to you.

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  12. A wonderful post! We never celebrated Valentine's Day either. I think it could be said that every day was special for us. Love the photos of the Pileateds. We don't have them down here, so they are one of the birds I miss. They will be something to look forward to seeing once I'm back in eastern Canada this spring.

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  13. My partner turned me on to your blog a few years ago and I have been hooked ever since! I've never commented (on any blog) but this post called out to me. Your words so often reflect my thoughts and mirror the life I have finally created with the love I had somehow missed for 46 years. This spring he and I will celebrate nine years together. It has been a peace that I had never imagined possible in a relationship. Thank you, Robin, for the gift of your words and the awareness of joy in life itself.

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  14. This filled me up.

    ***

    I'll save the woodpeckery comment for later, so's I can stay filled up.

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  15. you live the life I always imagined--but had rather little proof-- is possible for two open-hearted people.

    beautiful post.

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