Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies

Her name is Jane. We’ve been together for almost three months. We’re teaching each other new ways of looking at ourselves and the world around us as we accumulate shared experiences – one at a time. Both of us feel like it’s springtime again in our lives. I’m suddenly aware of many others who have felt the same fresh breeze of new love in their own worlds. They smile at me or nod knowingly or write positive affirmations. My friends tell me I look and behave “differently” (which truly surprises me – I had no idea). I find myself responding to questions like: “how are you?” with an enthusiastic “terrific” or “faannnntastic” – and meaning it.

As a widower, I am keenly aware of a delicate balance between honoring the treasure I’ve lost and rejoicing over the treasure I’ve found. When I was evolving in my readiness to pursue another relationship, my early (and irrational), silent fear was that loving another woman would somehow be dishonorable to Susan. The idea almost seemed adulterous. That’s clearly a fallacy – and I’m over it. I’ve had nothing but encouragement from friends and family – including Susan’s family. We are being accepted by the people in each other’s communities with open arms and warm hearts. And I had clear instructions from Susan herself (those who knew her can start grinning now) that I was expected to do exactly what I’m doing. In fact, Jane and I both have a sense that Susan was somehow actively involved in getting us together because it feels so “meant to be”. That sense makes this all the more special. It turns out that I am honoring the treasure I’ve lost by rejoicing in the treasure I’ve found. They are not mutually exclusive. What I learned in partnership with Susan is “paying forward” into what I bring to my relationship with Jane. We have arrived in each other’s lives at seemingly just the right moment. We seem to be doing exactly what we are supposed to do.

Anyone who has ever experienced this time of year at altitude knows what we mean when we say “It’s springtime in the Rockies”. It can be warm and beautiful one day, complete with gorgeous spring flowers and budding trees. The next day could bring a storm with heavy, wet, branch-breaking snow. We often refer to spring weather as “unstable”. The sudden changes can be daunting, and stressful. But spring storms also leave behind a wonderland of beauty. (The mountains are breathtaking after a fresh snow.) The indisputable promise of summer is still there. Spring moisture makes everything colorful after a drab cold season. If springtime is a metaphor for new relationships, then the springtimes that Jane and I have already experienced in our lives have prepared us well for this one. As in all new relationships, we’re making adjustments to the lifestyles we had before. We’re accommodating each other’s schedules. We’re learning what the other is like at various times of the day, what foods we enjoy or dislike, what we watch on TV, what brands we buy at the grocery store, our tastes in music, and a multitude of other, sometimes mundane details. We’re also realizing the similarities of our Midwestern heritage (we grew up 100 miles from each other), the many ways in which we’re alike, and how often we have the same thoughts at the same time. The adjustments can be daunting, even stressful – the realizations delightful. Because we’ve been here before, we know that the beauty of the relationship itself is what’s really magical.

We recently took a brief trip to Montana and Wyoming to visit Patrick. We came back through Yellowstone and the Tetons – a first for Jane (and I don’t think I’ve ever been there during this time of year). Soon it will be warmer and greener with less precipitation – and way more people. So it was special to experience these places (and the wildlife that inhabit them) in snowy, cold, overcast conditions – and in their never-the-less silent majesty. The steadfastness of the changing seasons, complete with their unique splendor and their onerous challenges can help us appreciate the meaning and beauty of life’s odyssey. Jane and I hope to have many seasons together. But no matter what, we are experiencing life in all its glory – right now. Capture the moment. It’s springtime here in the Rockies – and it’s faannnntastic!

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I just love your blog postings, Uncle Rob. You have a great way with words. We are so happy for you and Jane. :)