I sat down at the breakfast table on Valentine morning and scowled at the window at the reflected person looking back at me with his sleep-tossed, creative Mohawk. Looking down I cut in half my Hillshire Farm thinly sliced ham, fried egg, grated Parmesan and bleu cheese curds with stone ground mustard on excellent seedy toasted bread sandwich. I poured an inch of lemon juice into my tall tumbler and squeezed a lime wedge into it, also. I filled the glass with cold water and added two packets of Wyler’s lemonade powder. After stirring with my fork, I sipped through my puckered lips and smiled. The sandwich didn’t last long.
I pushed the plate away and pulled in the book of Mary Oliver poems that Peg had left on the table. I read “Flare.”
“. . . In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.
Live with the beetle, and the wind.
This is the dark bread of the poem.
This is the dark and nourishing bread of the poem.”
The stanzas responded to my sandwich breakfast and my thoughts of Valentine’s Day.
Back at my desk where the day had begun, out my window I noted the falling snow returning and looking down spied fresh raccoon tracks under the stairs leading down from our deck. We feed our local deer sometimes, but only trade “marking” with the raccoon population. The snow was good news and bad. Peg and I had already talked with cousin Lindy about waiting a week to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so the snow didn’t really matter. We had plenty of food, toilet paper, and paper towels to last. I had work to do for two clients. That and a couple of naps would see me through the day. However, the chances were growing slim about a new client meeting in Spanaway on Monday.
Peg slept in. When she awakened, I made her a mushroom and sausage omelet. I could hardly wait. After Peg had breakfast we shared presents. I had a framed computer designed painting made to accompany the lyrics of a Cole Porter song, “Cherry Pies Ought to Be You.” I had sung a few bars of the song to Peg a few days earlier and it piqued her interest. She generally doesn’t prefer cherry pies, so I don’t know how she would react to a gift about cherry pies. It took a lot of crust to come up with a half-baked idea that I hoped would go over. It did.
“Cherry Pies Ought to Be You” by Cole Porter for the Broadway musical “Out of This World” sung by Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney – youtu.be/SoAQg9hVy9o
Peg’s gift to me was a chart of shades of color with heartfelt comments written over the color patches. Although I learned mixing colors as a fine art student at the University of Puget Sound, I no longer have the patience. I still do some brushwork, but mostly I use my computer. Peg’s water color tones and shades took several days. She loves doing patterns with color pencils as well. Her comments about love and our children and grandchildren sparked the morning conversation as we shared memories and thoughts of the past as well as future possibilities.
Our yard deer guarded the corners and later feasted on sliced Fuji apples. They added to our warmth.
Snowed in and alone we had a wonderful day of relaxing and sharing. Our day was a celebration of Mary Oliver and her poetry. We lived the “dark and nourishing bread of the poem.” We look forward to next Valentine’s Day . . . and every day in-between. And hope everyone else shared the warmth and love of a cold February winter day.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.