I have never been able to understand those Valentine's Day Scrooges out there. I guess if you have had bad love-life luck as of late it is permissible to role your eyes at the rose stands and chocolate displays. But I have recently encountered people who are blessed to be surrounded by love and happiness and still grumble about the day. These people are forgetting the underlying reason for celebration: love. And I don't just mean romantic love. Some of my earliest (and best!) memories of Valentine's Day are of discovering a new pair of socks waiting on my plate at the dinner table -- a token of love from mom. I agree, the commercialism and Hallmark holiday is a little over the top.. ok, sickening. Yes, I too avert my eyes and speed walk past the seasonal aisle in Target so I don't have to look at the copious amounts of heart-shaped chocolates and teddy-bears that will soon enter the lives of another couple for a moment's proof of love before being tossed aside. Hallmark wins. Ba-humbug. But the underlying excuse to show love for the people, the world, and simply life around you is too good to pass up. Hallmark and commercialism hasn't stopped us from celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, even though for many, gifts and goodies is all that Christmas is about. A store can stock pile on tacky Christmas gifts and and pass it off as "getting in the christmas spirit". But poor Vday has no long-standing Biblical story and truly WAS invented - there is no denying it is a Hallmark holiday. But that doesn't mean we can't make it something more. So do something fun this weekend to celebrate your love for the people, the world and life around you! I am proud to say Evan and I will be celebrating Valentine's Day this year by making a nice home-cooked meal (as of yet to be determined), playing scrabble and dominoes into the night, and perhaps venturing out to a Shakespeare play on Sunday. And by the way, I'm truly not that righteous - I enjoy my share of the commercial holiday; I'm betting we'll even eat some chocolate : )
Here is a montage I created from the photos I took February 2008 (mentioned in post below). It was a frigid day (much like every other day in Minnesota!) so it was a challenge just to steady the camera and press the shutter without shaking. But I ventured out into the snow-blown fields at the Pierson farm with the only companion daring enough to accompany me: Kate, the beautiful golden retriever. Together we were witness to the intricate patterns chiseled into the lonely snowscape. Close up, the delicate blue ridges could pass for mountains with deep chasms and shadows. But we weren't alone out there - we spied other signs of life! Notice the bird print who's delicate pattern was left undisturbed by the passing wind? Or the frail flowering stalks, somehow bracing the cold, insistent on the promise of spring? What a fun little backyard photo safari I had that afternoon on the farm.
PS -- Click on the montage for a larger view so you can see all the details and patterns.
I was just going through my inbox of photos waiting to be edited and came across a collection that I shot LAST February (baaad Carolyn). But now I am glad I waited this long to edit them, because seeing these images of the frozen tundra that was Minnesota 2008 reminds me that this is just a cycle we are going through and of course, as always, we will eventually thaw in 2009.
I am actually enjoying winter a lot more this year than in the past, and I attribute much of this to my newfound hobby: nordic skiing. This past Saturday we ventured up to the cities to spectate at a few of the Loppet events. I am not sure exactly what Loppet stands for, but I do know what we witnessed: crazy Minnesotan nordic skiers racing across Lake of the Isles led by their dogs! I wish we had seen some of the top finishers, who I imagine were well practiced and trained, moving forward as a united source of power and synchronized agility. But by the time we arrived the last batch of dog-owner tandems were just coming down the homestretch, and it seemed to me as though the dog provided more of a challenge to the skier than a source of horse...err dog power. Some dogs are made to run with sleighs across the arctic, others prefer to sniff other dogs and pull towards the excitement of the crowd. But it was great to see. Even the dogs who weren't quite cut out for the venture basked in the attention of this dog-geared day. And they sure looked proud to be part of a pack!
I am including a photo from February 2008 so you too can remember how you have endured, conquered, and perhaps even enjoyed winter before. Take time to revel in the beauty and patterns Old Man Winter so delicately creates!