“How sweet it is to hear stories /Those stories of time gone by When the tree branches are black /When the snow is thick and burdening the frozen earth.”
-Alfred de Vigny, La Neige
A couple weeks ago I was asked to photograph someone’s engagement. Not just pictures afterwards, but the actual moment of asking, the actual act of making that big decision and saying those few precious words. I waited in the catwalk of the Botanic Gardens for an hour, and then just as I was being chased out by security guards for closing, Aaron and Susan walked in and I sprinted back to my perch for some quick shots of that moment. Afterwards we took advantage of one of the prettiest sunsets of the year to snap a few more pictures.
There’s something exciting about the beginning of love stories. February always makes me think about those starts, those exciting moments, those beginnings of stories. And I think my man de Vigny — one of the few and obviously non-monetary perks of a degree in French literature is being able to refer to underappreciated dead French poets as “my man” — is right. In those cold and bare months of winter we sped more time looking back on our stories.
It makes me think of the cold and snowy February weekend seven years ago when this guy I had been friends with for well over a year FINALLY asked me to dinner. I remember every minute of that evening, from the painfully awkward waitress who wouldn’t leave us alone, to how excited I was when he told me how he felt — so excited that I kept on talking and didn’t even respond or acknowledge his declaration. I think about how he was so distracted that he ate all of one slice of his pizza… and I ate the rest of it because obviously my excitement leads to the munchies. I think about how we had no clue then where that story would go, that what was just a silly college crush story would become a love story.
But I also think about the other sorts of love stories from my life that have roots in these cold winter months, stories of the people who would become my closest friends. I think of my college roommates who loaned clothes and stayed up to celebrate after that first date. I think of a friend from freshman year who spent many a cold evening crying on the floor of my dorm with me over the fact that WINTER WAS HARD. Now I see her every week for lunch and text some of those college roommates daily. I think of the bestie I found late in life when I taught in Kentucky, and our snowday traditions of doing Jillian Michaels workout videos followed by lying on the floor and talking for hours. I think of the childhood friends I was blessed to live near again when I moved back to Kentucky, of cold weekends spent huddled on couches watching yet another BBC miniseries. Our lives often are made of an endless series of diverse and interlocking love stories.
What are your love stories? Anyone have a good engagement, meeting, or friend-finding story they are just dying to share? Take over those comments below! It’s winter afterall — we have the time for stories.
PS: A really great article about love by one of those aforementioned besties.
PPS: The comments would also be the appropriate place to share your current feelings about the love story I’m tracking closely this winter, that of Farmer Chris. For real people — the last couple episodes have been crazy!!!! Dear Chris: marry Becca. Or Whitney. Dear producers of the show: CARLY FOR BACHELORETTE. Because she is the voice of everything we are all thinking, all of the time. Or Whitney, should Chris be an idiot and let her go. Or Kaitlyn, because she is confident and sassy. Plus, she rocks that center part, something to which I currently aspire. Can they do a sister wives thing and work together? And Can Jimmy Fallon become a regular co-host?