Slice of Life

This Valentine's Day, we have much to celebrate

ktanner@thetribunenews.comFebruary 12, 2014 

Kathe Tanner

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers. I hope you have as much to celebrate as we do.

For instance, our recent and most welcome rains have brought us more than happy plants and trees, temporarily tamped-down pollen levels and streaky windows. The precipitation also relieved — just a little bit — the lack-of-water angst we’ve all been experiencing.

But the true joy from the storms?

Our frogs are back.

We’d been bemoaning the lack of our twilight serenaders, the fortissimo choir of deep-voiced but tiny male frogs on the make. They usually hang out in and near our small recirculating pond, an amphibian-friendly habitat that’s protected by a high fence, a peaceful garden, a big bay tree and an even bigger old live oak.

Until the rains, however, the small area had been eerily quiet, kind of sad, actually, as just one more casualty of the drought.

Then the storms dropped blessed moisture on our hilltop, an inch at a time. Now, as dusk arrives, the frog chorus begins tuning up, first in solos, then in tandem, finally reaching a crescendo about 8 or 9 p.m.

It’s quite a concert. Walkers a block away can hear them, so just imagine what it’s like inside the house, let alone in the garden!

I close my eyes and soak in the cadence, the different notes, the counterpoint. And I smile.

We’re so glad they’re back. What a lovely Valentine’s Day surprise.

The rain has also brought the deer back to our meadow, strolling through in pairs and trios. There’s not quite enough green in the meadow yet for them to stay a while and graze. Have patience, Grasshopper. Given a little sunshine after the downpours, it won’t take long before Mother Nature rolls out her emerald carpet, the one we’d feared she was going to keep in dry storage this year.

As I write this, our Top of the World neighborhood has been showered with a bit more than 3 inches of rain in about a week. Just in time. Of course, it’s far from being enough to alleviate Cambria’s shortage of water, let alone California’s. I’m told it takes 10 to 12 inches of rainfall in a season to recharge Cambria’s aquifers, but hey, every little bit helps.

After our amphibian serenade waned for the night, I helped Husband Richard get ready for bed, part of our new routine, the one we’ve been refining since he arrived back home after his month of post-stroke treatment. (By the way, the insurance snafu seems to have been solved, but we’re awaiting the final bills to know for sure.)

Recently, a co-worker friend sent me a Facebook message that really hit home.

Laura wrote, “I remember, quite starkly, something you said to me at the Cambria Farmers Market Flash Mob. … You were telling me about Richard being ill with a cold or flu. You smiled and said, ‘I have to take care of him’ like it was a no-brainer. That comment stayed with me because I thought later, ‘You are so right.’ We say it at the altar ... ‘for better or for worse.’ While I love the wonderful ‘best times,’ the love seems to be the greatest when times are tough. Hang in there, you two lovely and wonderful people!”

Tough times, Laura? Yes, I guess they are. But they’re wonderful, too, because Husband Richard’s moderate stroke could have been so much worse, especially given his age and other ailments.

He’s strong and smart, stubborn and determined to get back to “normal,” whatever that’s going to be.

We know that these are gift days, bonus-extra good times we might not have had together. So, each one is something special, something wonderful. Even when we’re both tired, frustrated and cranky.

Happy Valentine’s Day, honey. We have much to celebrate. May we always stomp in puddles together and kick those piles of leaves, search the skies for soaring eagles and arching rainbows. We’ll have more time to share a pretty picture, stone or flower, a hug or a pat on the back. And we’ll continue to seek new adventures, share inexplicable fits of giggles and enjoy our froggy choir — especially because we’ll be together.

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