Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day.

I slowed down today and the world caught up. Or the world slowed down, and I caught up. Either way, we seem to be friends again, and I'm experiencing the serenity I've been missing for many months. 

I am house and pet-sitting in a beautiful character home in the Nutana area of Saskatoon. The little dog, a rescue, is nervous and fairly needy. We are establishing a kind of rhythm, Max and I. In the morning I dress him in his plaid "sweater" and Velcro him into his felt booties (which he is fond of losing). We get in my Subaru and I drive to the Shell station on the corner of 8th and Broadway. There's a Tim Horton's attached, and Max waits while I steal in for a large coffee and a plain, old-fashioned doughnut. I eat the doughnut at the counter, then we return to the house and go for a walk. Thus far my coffee has not sloshed onto my coat or gloves. 

Later in the day their is a reprise: another walk. Outside of these activities I work on the edits of my essay manuscript. I Wasn't Always Like This (And Other Essays) will be out this fall with Signature Editions.  I feel there is so much left to do on it. The writing really never ends. Nor does the editing. Eventually you just have to make yourself stop.

Sometimes I see friends, or family. Mostly I don't.

Today I took Annie Dillard's An American Childhood into a patch of sun on the bed. The small dog with the slightly-foul breath curled next to me. The cat, Mr. B, was in his usual window perch. I read Annie's good words. I fell asleep. I felt loved. 

It is Valentine's Day, and three times young men have walked past the house cradling bouquets wrapped in brown paper. My love is six hours away, and this, our first Valentine's Day as a couple. 

I can't help thinking of all my friends -- and all my strangers -- who don't have partners, and how this day might be among their most miserable of the year. Or not. I'm a "couples" person; some people are, I understand, content with their own company. One year not long ago I was alone, and feeling sorry for myself. I e-mailed 14 valentines to friends, and didn't receive a single valentine back. So much for that experiment!

Let it go ... 

There comes a time when the offspring become wiser than the parent. Recently my daughter told me I need to love myself more. Maybe it starts with the quiet, and the sun. Maybe I need to learn to let go of stress. Just close my eyes and let it go, like a child lets go of a kite ...