While my husband and I travel multiple times over the course of a year to a variety of destinations, rarely do we take a vacation as a solo couple – a fact I would like to change. So this year, I was fairly adamant that my sweetie and I take a trip in either March/April or September/October – our only real windows of opportunity to travel alone. We settled on a fall trip, and booked a weekend at a resort in northern Minnesota. Our plan was to take a few easy hikes, enjoy the fall colors, maybe kayak in the lake (#11) or zipline amid the colorful canopies (#21), play some games, breathe wonderful northern fresh air, explore some quaint shops, eat good food, and overall take it easy and enjoy time together, just the two of us.
Last weekend the weather was perfect for such a trip – 70 degrees (F), a gentle breeze in the air, clear skies with lots of stars, and an abundance of brilliant leaf colors. My sweetie and I smiled at one another in excited anticipation for our trip.
Then Ma Nature threw us a curve ball (as she often does), and introduced a cold front that cut the 70-degree temps in half. Violent winds knocked all the leaves from the trees mid-week (and chopped the tops off hundreds of them to boot), and by the time my sweetie and I arrived to the resort we were greeted by bare twigs, slightly-above-freezing temperatures, grey skies, and turbulent lake waves. So much for outdoor hikes and enjoying fall colors.
Yet we still had each other, so we made the best of the situation. We still played games, still enjoyed quick breaths of fresh (albeit cold) air, still took a peek in a few local shops, still ate good food in many different restaurants – but we also spend ample time sitting in chairs reading instead of walking outside exploring. :(
To further complicate the situation, the wireless connection at the resort was spotty at best – which wouldn’t have been too much of an issue had the weather been decent, but which we found rather annoying given our current state. (A person can only play so many rounds of cribbage and checkers.) In the middle of waiting several minutes for an internet page to load, my sweetie’s iPad locked up – and required a few different interventions to get it out of “brick mode”. Ultimately we were successful in restoring functionality; after we did, my sweetie looked at me and said, “You know what the problem is? The software keeps getting better and better, but the hardware remains the same. The hardware can’t keep up with the software.”
I looked at him, and replied, “Yeah. It’s like people. The software [tapping my head, indicating my mind] continues to grow and evolve, but the hardware [tapping my arm, indicating my body] erodes and can’t keep up.”
My sweetie looked at me, paused for a moment, then replied, “Yes, exactly.” Then he returned to reading his iPad. And I resumed flipping through the pages of my magazine.
And while we spent a good portion of the afternoon together-yet-independent, there was this moment, this brief-but-profound space of time, where our sometimes very different understandings and beliefs came together – and found a lovely shared space of common ground. These few moments of reflective connection were a lovely treat, and definitely made up for any tricks Mother Nature might have wanted to play on us. Instead of being divisive, the irritations we faced brought us together and compelled us to become an even more unified front – which is a better gift than any souvenir we could have purchased at a fancy boutique.