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(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

To my life partner Sherman on our 27th anniversary: life is a puzzle—both the big pieces and the small pieces. So often it’s hard to figure out which direction to turn the pieces to make everything fit. What I don’t question is that turning to you was the piece that fit right from the start.

Though we are no longer those starry-eyed twenty-somethings who thought that just to be by each other’s side would change the bad to good, 27 years older and wiser, we still know that being together through the bad is always good.

The good is knowing that come what may we are a team—you have my back and I have yours—including those times when we lie together at night back-to-back, not because we are mad at one another but because your back against mine and mine against yours soothes the aches brought on by lives lived in motion—together and apart. Trekking mountain paths, gliding down snowy white slopes, walking our excitable dogs—we take to trails for renewal, discovery, and space to converse without so much intrusion from the everyday in our lives.

But another big piece of our lives is the constant welcome intrusion of laughter—both when appropriate and when not so appropriate. Even now I know you are laughing because I am not respecting the metaphor at all. Are you the puzzle piece? Is life together full of puzzle pieces? Is Life itself the puzzle? Can we be both puzzle pieces and the people who put together the puzzle?

I can’t even begin to puzzle out where this puzzle metaphor is going, but know that there is no puzzle to me about your being the one for me.

Got that? If anyone can get that, it will be you–because you are the one who gets the me that puzzles everyone else.

Trina & Sherman (with Chris Geiss) on 10/8/88

Trina & Sherman (with Chris Geiss) on 10/8/88

When Sherman and I got married twenty-one years ago on October 8, we were blessed with blue-skied clear weather and sixty-something degree temperatures. Pastor John Bengston mused during the ceremony how we knew it would be such a beautiful day when we began planning our wedding. We grinned and both mouthed: The Farmers’ Almanac. Yes, we had consulted that venerable publication before choosing a wedding date in the iffy month of October.

We celebrated our anniversary on Thursday at home with the kids and a home-cooked steak dinner. We were too busy cooking and baking and getting them ready to go away on a cross country trip early Friday morning to do anything else special that evening. At least we knew we would be alone to celebrate the next day.

Now two days later, with the heater humming nonstop, it’s impossible to deny the weather outside. A thin layer of ice coats the pavement and cars, no doubt sealing the fate of any flowers that had survived the deep-dipping temperatures of previous nights. Even professional baseball has had to admit that fighting Mother Nature is futile—the Colorado Rockies/Philadelphia Phillies playoff game has been rescheduled until tomorrow.

The Farmers’ Almanac has predicted a harsh winter for those of us in Colorado—and we’re starting to believe. Many of the leaves haven’t even changed from green, but I know that these kinds of freezes sometimes rob of us the glorious fall colors we’ve come to expect. That’s why yesterday, despite my almost running out of time, I had to get out for a run along the river before the latest cold front blew in.

I was not disappointed. I drank in oranges, reds, yellows, and greens alongside the moving waters where ducks often played. At that moment, the snow remained up on distant mountain peaks. The breeze ruffled through my hair but did not chill my mid-section. October bliss.

Then I thought about how, if The Farmers’ Almanac were right, I just might have to consent to running inside this winter. I don’t know which is worse the running in an enclosed area filled with noise or having to pay to run! We fitness buffs in Colorado are so spoiled—often we can look at the forecast and plan around the various storms and deep freezes. Somehow thinking of the possibility of a real winter made the run seem that much sweeter.

Later as Sherman and I drove off into the foothills for our planned anniversary celebration of dancing, a blanket of fog descended upon the highway. We continued, passing through one of the known danger areas for fog-related multi-car collisions. Weather.com had said snow would begin around midnight, but had not mentioned fog, which seemed more threatening. We, who aren’t prone to fear from weather, decided to turn around. Mother Nature won that round.

In our modern world, it’s so easy to think the right technology can take care of any threats. But in the end, we can only control so much. So we returned to a local bar, spent a short amount of time there, before leaving to find traces of snow on our car.

Back home, thankful for the technology of our furnace, we hunkered down.

No doubt we should listen to The Farmers’ Almanac and stay in, for now. Weather fluctuates year to year and throughout the seasons—as long as we turn to one another, we’ve got all the control we really need.

Trina & Sherman, 10/8/88

Trina & Sherman, 10/8/88

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