This morning STG and I woke up, looked outside at the already blue sky, and let our respective bosses know that we were pulling an audible - a last minute request to use some of our remaining holidays and spend a day in the sun. It'll be fall soon, we'll trade our shockingly blue skies for months of gray. It's great to have the freedom to choose a day like today instead.
It was glorious - we hopped in the car and headed out on the beautiful 'Pacific Marine' circle, a regional highway that ranges from the oceanside, past quaint small towns, through extensive parks, and active logging areas, by rural farmlands, and a beautiful lake/river side all in a day's drive that starts and ends at home.
I can sometimes be an over-planner, so a day like today is a great relief for me. Instead of going to work we laughed. We chatted. We explored. We shared some of our fears and more of our dreams. We kept our eyes peeled for the usual island wildlife - deer, a raccoon, a seal. We picnicked by the lake, after which STG swam while I laid on a rock in the sun. We lived, for 12 hours, without an agenda or maps or our smart phones or Twitter updates.
And then, on a side road, on a path less taken to a place I'd not normally end up on my 'get in the car and go straight until you get there' way we experienced magic. STG pulled over just because it was a particularly pretty spot in the river, and as he was stopping we saw sleek dark shapes in the water - river otters. A family of 4 of them swimming, fishing, coming ashore - just going about their lives, until they noticed our rapt attention, two cameras clicking and whirring and recording everything from the minute splash of their tails to the crunch of their fishy dinner.
Eventually they tired of our stares and let us know it was time to move on. In fact, one hissed at STG. So we got back in the car, amazed at our luck, and headed down the road for dinner. By the time we were re-fueled, a stunning moon was climbing into the sky. We continued down now dusky side roads holding hands and savouring a day that was fast becoming a special memory the closer we got to my door.
I learn from STG every day about myself and how I relate to myself and to other people. How to love and be loved. How to hold on when the going gets tough and how to relax and appreciate when the way is smooth. And today I learned, once again, to go where our hearts lead. That plans can change. And that magic can be right around the corner if you just take a moment to look.