Home > Art, Good Stuff, Life > Love is….

Love is….

“If they find our bodies, they’ll be able to identify us by our mittens.”

That’s how we encouraged ourselves as we contemplated a path through the woods that cut across a nearby neighborhood. Though it looked sunny and safe, we imagined the possibilities for violent mayhem that could be visited on a couple of unsuspecting middle-aged women out for a Saturday morning stroll. We were dressed for the excursion in our jeans and hooded sweatshirts which did a fair job of disguising our gender and age. Sunglasses added to the illusion that perhaps we were the bad guys. The only thing that gave us away were our mittens; the fingerless kind, knitted by my mother for Christmas in bright, happy colors — not the sort a hoodlum would wear in an effort to look tough.

“Should we go for it?” I asked, fully expecting the usual safe answer of “no, let’s walk an extra 2 miles to get around to the bike path at the entrance”. We’d already hiked a couple miles, fortified by a rare breakfast at McDonald’s where we killed time waiting for the oil to be changed in our cars. Carbohydrates, sugar, cheap protein, and a blast of caffeine wrestled with our better judgement, and the winner was….. “Sure, why not?”

Taking a deep breath, we stepped into the woods, leaving the questionable but reasonably safe (during daylight) neighborhood behind. We knew the bike path we sought was ahead of us somewhere and the woodland path seemed to be heading in the right direction.

It wasn’t long before “the path” became a flooded morass that threatened to end our journey. I looked to the sides and saw dry areas that might support our weight, but because I am not entirely familiar with the wild areas of Florida, I considered the possibility of encountering quicksand. Adrenaline shot into my veins, like the drugs that may very well do the same on this path at other times, as we carefully placed one foot in front of the other and felt for solid ground.

When we finally got past the bog, other paths began to branch off from the one we were on and it occurred to me that if we had to turn back, we might have trouble discerning which way we’d come. Never mind, I thought. We can’t get lost in here. I can tell which way we’re going by the amazing cloud stream up in the sky. We marched on.

“What’s that?!” she exclaimed from behind me, pointing her purple and pink fringed mitten at an object ahead. I froze. We stepped forward slowly as we tried to identify the gray object crouching in front of us.

“It’s just a log!” I replied, as though I’d known it all along. “Phew,” she said, “I thought it was a wolf.”

My second hit of adrenaline wore off and a new one surged as we discovered that the trail we were on ended. Crap, I thought to myself, then mustered my previous bravado and said, “No problem. We’ll just backtrack and take the other branch of the trail. The one less traveled.”

My heart pounded faster and the cries of birds waiting to strip the flesh from our bones sounded louder as we searched for the other trail. I checked the sky to make sure we were still headed in the right direction. Finally we found the less obvious path. The woods were wide open at this point, littered here and there with beer bottles and some trash. Civilization! It seemed we should have reached the bike path by now but I didn’t say anything. I have a reputation for leading people in uncertain directions but have thus far not failed in my attempts to eventually get where I’m trying to go. And almost always during daylight…

“Look!” she exclaimed as her flamboyant mitten pointed out a bright object whizzing through the woods a hundred yards ahead. “A biker!”

“HA! I told you we could do it!” I retorted, abandoning the path and tromping excitedly through the crunchy leaves and slick pine needles. In another minute our puffy palms made a “ploof” sound as we high-fived each other on the bike path in celebration of having survived our harrowing half-mile trek through the sinister forest.

When we got back to the garage where our cars were being worked on we told the mechanic all about our excellent adventure, waving our hands in the air for effect. The mechanic’s expression conveyed that somehow the bright orange, fuschia, and teal green of our mittens belied the possibility that our circumstances could have led to us having been violently accosted and left for dead.

But we didn’t care what anyone thought. In our minds we had survived a life-changing experience, one that brought us closer together and introduced a new level of trust into our relationship. And it was all because we knew that if we hadn’t returned, our magic mittens would let the world know who we were and how brave we had tried to be together.

Later, as we warmed ourselves by a roaring outdoor fire, I considered a new definition: Love is adventure, love is trust, love is triumph over circumstances, and in the event that survival of those circumstances results in less than high-fives in fingerless mittens, love is forgiveness.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! May your love grow through the challenges you survive! 😀

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Categories: Art, Good Stuff, Life
  1. Mama Nance
    February 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    You had me fooled AND my fingerless mittens too!
    Happy Valentines my outwitting explorer …..

  2. Anonymous
    February 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Love this! As an owner of now 3 pairs of the magic mittens- I am eager to go out and explore with my loved ones (if it gets above freezing) Happy Valentine’s Day!

  3. February 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I love reading your stuff. You are a beautiful writer! 🙂

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