"I hope we always celebrate Valentine's Day. The making of valentines was a serious business when I was growing up. Gilt and silver paper, red hearts, lacy paper frill, blue ribbons, and little doves to paste on the finished product-we loved them all. I usually got my doves on upside down, but I thought they were elegant.
Later on, when we were older, there was Valentine's Day when the only boy in the world produced a package from his pocket with a present in it. Oh, enchanted winter moon shining down on two bent heads, on mittened hands! The paper crackled, the ribbon was folded away, and there it was, the little locket set with chips of what might be diamonds, or the silver ring with the matrix stone. Who ever forgets first love, and the first real valentine?
After Valentine's Day we can really feel that winter is on the downgrade. A few more blizzards, perhaps, but definitely March will arrive. There will be a certain day when the air comes in over the hills with a different feeling. It's an untangible thing, known only to folks who have had hard winters, and it is exciting and wonderful."
-Gladys Taber, The Book of Stillmeadow
The village is snuggled into thick drifts of snow. The farmer's acreage is like a sea of white foam, dotted with tiny mole-hill islands, powder blowing off the hilltop with a sifting sound. Kiki chases stray leaves that come tumbling down the slope, or rolls on grainy patches of ice, licking and gnawing, delighting in the cold. I stand, knee-deep in the snow, laughing, my hood over my head, hands gloved and thrust into my pockets, wind and the occasional caw of a crow the only sounds. We enjoy being the only ones out there in the snowy hills and fields...there is a feeling of luxury in that solitude. It's as if we have this tremendous white stretching playground just for us. Yesterday Ramon and I felt like little kids for an instant...he suddenly shouted and dove into a deep drift. I giggled and fell on my back, waving and arms and legs to make a snow angel. Kiki watched us, panting, and then went on leaping through the snow, nose to the ground, searching for who-knows-what. It was truly jofyul.
Is it true what Gladys says? Is spring really so near? Hard to believe. And yet I have witnessed it myself; how the world suddenly shivers and shakes and thaws, and everything is dripping and green and brown; first sopping wet and glistening in the weak sun...and then one day, there is new life bursting from buds, and the full creek is gushing and laughing, and birds fill the air with energetic singing. And then you spot it...the first brave yellow primrose, swelling between the rotten leaves of autumn past, and you smell that strong sweet scent of wild daphne, and follow the fragrance to where it blossoms, purple and delicate, on unassuming stalks. The raspberry canes are dotted with green, and the grass and clover are slowly lifting their matted blades and leaves after having been smothered in snow and ice for months on end. And quite suddenly it is here...the first inkling that spring is arriving.
So I remember this, on days where the only green or flowers are in a vase or on my windowsil. And I do my best to enjoy these snow days, to laugh at Kiki's childish enthusiasm as she rolls and digs, to savor hours indoors, kettle whistling and heater on high. Yes, in February we live in the limbo of trying to enjoy the moment while holding onto the hope that spring will come soon.
I am wishing you all a lovely, heart-warming Valentine's Day....we aren't celebrating in the classic sense of the holiday, but are endulging in the quiet moments that a couple who has been together for a very long time knows to savor...those hours side by side, reading, or typing, or dreaming, where you don't have to talk, but you are fully aware and taking comfort in the warmth of their body heat, the sound of them breathing, and the simple fact that they are there next to you.
The simple fact that their hot feet are there for you to press yours against when they are cold....true love.
xoxo country girl