This morning was bustling before school as there was Valentine-checking, pulling items for classroom parties, and packing up Valentine holder boxes, somehow managing to squeeze in breakfast . . .

We gathered all of the necessary items in time, while still making it to catch the bus  . . .
Surrounded by the fresh foot-plus of snow, noting places the plow had visited, where the snow reached as high as four feet, amazing as it were . . .  In the brisk, energizing morning chill, waiting with my children, who were loaded down with their Valentine bounty, we were reminded of how much we love the snow, piles, wind, shovels and all . . . And, despite the annual hecticness of the preparations, how special it has been to make the valentines over these years . . .

After the bus arrived I headed to work in my office, which has been a near impossibility over the past week due to altered routines, and cancelled school . . .  But, in the spirit of love,  pulled some items of interest from my shelves . . . special gifts given over the years for engagement, wedding, Christmas, and “just because”. . .

These soul-pieces offered by my spouse, family members and friends, some of whom, after courageous battles with their health, no longer grace the earth . . . They and these, hold an eternal place in my heart . . .

On this Valentine’s Day, with all of its projections and expectations, I leave you with a bit of love, a favorite poem by Rilke, Pathways, read by a dear friend on the occasion of my wedding.  Years later, this piece still gets me in the gut, and again, I am moved by the beauty of words . . .

Pathways

Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:

You come, too.

-Rainer Maria Rilke