Lost in thought, acting as though my SUV is autonomous, I ease out of the driveway, triple checking that the garage door is down. My grocery list pops into my head like the Heads Up display in the windshield. Are all the ingredients for the Chili-Mac Cheeseburger recipe on it? Do I have coupons for the V-8 juice, digital or paper? Are my K-roger cloth bags next to me on the front seat? I always forget them, but if I do, I know that Micah’s backpack can use the plastic ones. Can’t have them wrapped around dolphins’ necks. Stop that. Be mindful. Pay attention, I admonish myself.
Passing Glade Road Growing on my right and Heritage Road Park on my left, I’m careful not to go over 29. With a speed limit of 25, Blacksburg Police vigilantly patrol Glade to keep travelers on this country road safe from speed demons. I must be mindful, forget the grocery list, focus on the speedometer, look back into the rear view mirror to be sure no one is behind me, cursing me, silently or not, for observing the speed limit.
The leafless trees lined along either side of Glade have assumed their winter postures–naked, gnarled, dull sculptures against the only blue sky to grace our corner of the world in days. Gusts of Arctic air that seem to like southwest Virginia better than the North Pole, remind me that Blacksburg can transform into Bleaksburg violently and without warning.
Winding my way along, besieged on every side by lifeless, dreary hues, except for the sky that I do not trust, I suddenly see a flash of red. Just a brief glimpse, a glint, a minuscule tidbit of color winks at me.
And there, as I come out of another curve into a straight-away—-an altar to Valentines’ Day appears. A red, tinsel wreath shaped into the outline of a heart hangs on a wooden plank nailed to an evergreen tree, a white arrow shot through its empty center.
A white wrought iron table stands against the plank. Covered in a pink table cloth bordered in red -lettered XOXOXs, the table hosts a red vase with artificial red roses. All it needs now are two lovers, albeit dressed for Antartica, seated at the table, ready for. . . .who knows??
Many thanks to my Glade Road neighbour for the biggest Valentine’s Day card I’ve ever seen. You’ve reminded me that just around any corner life can ambush you with unabashed glee and fill your heart with smiles.