Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's day

I have taken out a modest loan and am about to unveil the ultimate Valentine's weekend. Jewelry? A tropical vacation? No.

Cinderella the ballet, accommodations and a nice steak dinner. I was excited planning it and have been looking forward to it, but now that the day is here, I am wondering if it really matters. We could have done this any weekend..given enough advance notice to take a loan against my 401K ...but on Valentine's day, the day for lovers, maybe there was a better plan. Maybe a trip to the gulf coast was in order. There is something so natural and healthy about sunrise on the beach; not the face down, mouthful of sand, morning after kind of sunrise, but the kind of sunrise that has you walking with a pleasantly full belly, a hot cup of coffee and not even the slightest trace of a headache, hand in hand with the one you love. If there are porpoises in the surf it's even better, but just a moment without the noise and expectations of human life, surrounded by birds scurrying to evade waves and little bugs digging to evade birds always feels more personal and intimate than the most carefully planned night on the town. I guess my existing plans will do for the moment, but maybe my weekend will include the promise of a quiet sunrise walk on the beach at some point in the near future. Now that I think of it, I am the one who likes sunrise...maybe the promise of a quiet sunset walk on the beach. Ahhh, the beach......

If I ever disappear, I will be somewhere in a small cabin with a one-lane dirt road that leads to the beach and another that leads to a small town. The cabin doesn't have windows, just square openings in the walls with light curtains that stir in the breeze and shutters that are latched open to the outside walls. A sunrise run takes me through the small town, where someone rakes the dirt in a small courtyard to create the clean, simple image I need. Maybe it's in the Florida Keys, and it's Ernest Hemingway raking the sunrise sand as he spits out the last few grains from his own morning on the beach. "Hello," he says, "I like raking this sand, sand that leads to the snow-white beach with grey-green clumps of grass that hold onto the small dunes, trying to keep together the image that the world is withstanding the forces of time and nature, not washing into the pristine blue waters of the gulf and further down to fill great rifts in the earth's crust that accept the fresh sand and absorb it, only to compress and heat it, pushing it up to create new lands somewhere else," as only Hemingway could say and somehow still obey the laws of grammar. In the distance a bell rings, the sun rises and an old man catches a giant swordfish on only a handful of string and a hook. Back at the cottage it's February 14th, and I head out hand in hand for a walk on the beach with the one I love.