“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”
— Blaise Pascal
* A year ago on Valentine's Day I didn't know what was coming. (Well, I guess by then we'd all heard of the coronavirus entering the country but I was still naive enough or stupid enough or hopeful enough to think it would be handled well and contained.) On this day last year I was blogging about creating black-out poetry, because I never have a lot to say about Valentine's Day. Atticus and I often forget that Valentine's Day is approaching, though we've always bought chocolate for our daughters because any occasion calling for chocolate will be observed in the Edmisten household. Our anniversary is at the end of January so we've just finished trying to figure out when to schedule the celebration of that (because —hello! — school year in full swing and National Honor Society induction meetings and speech season and my schedule in addition to his ... you get the picture) when Valentine's Day rolls around and we're left looking at each other and saying, "Again? We just celebrated our love, for Pete's sake. Now we have to come up with another creative observance?"
Okay, we've never actually said that but that's how it feels. It's not that we don't like romance. We just don't like having it dictated to us on a timetable. I'm a Questioner (thanks, Gretchen Rubin, for coming up with the Four Tendencies. I kind of love you for this.) Questioners need to have reasons to do things and I've always rebelled against being told I should express my love for my husband in a certain way on a certain day. I'm always perfectly happy to express my love for Atticus on Valentine's Day, but my rebel wing bristles a little at the world saying I should.
Anyway, here we are on Valentine's Day, 2021, and Atticus and I told each other not to do anything at all. "Nothing, do you hear me?" He said he heard me but he also bought me a little box of chocolates and gave me a homemade Valentine. I gave him a card and told him he should buy that Wallace Stevens biography that he wants.
So, happy feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Atticus.
* Recent reading:
The Seven-and-a-half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (fun distraction)
Life is in the Transitions by Bruce Feiler (a number of interesting stories about just how non-linear life is)
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (took a little bit to get into it but it ended up being very Backman-ish in its blend of humor and poignancy.)
The pandemic robbed me of the joy of reading for a while but I've been getting back into a groove, I'm happy to report.
Favorite reads from late 2020 that I probably haven't mentioned here:
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (haunting and stunning)
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (she writes of grief with such piercing truth)
* December and January were a blur of Covid-related sadness and shock, prayers, practical attending to my parents, coming to grips with their reality, near-daily surprises and difficult decisions about their conditions, and re-learning that miracles happen. The blur this week is one of preparation: they are going home! My father, since early December, has spent time in a hospital, then a specialty hospital, and then a skilled care facility while my mother has been in a skilled care facility for the last six weeks. They are returning home, not unscathed by Covid, but with hope for the years to come. I am grateful beyond words.
All in all, not a bad Valentine's Day gift.