“St. Louis has a wonderful Zoo, and it is free!” Really, that should be enough, I would think. But there is so much more. That Zoo has so many memories for me. Along with Union Station, Busch Stadium and the Arch, it was one of the places actually in St. Louis, where my family would go when we came to visit my grandparents in St. Charles. I remember the big concrete block “ZOO” sign at the entrance, and all of the pictures we took there. When you went in, you could always hear the raucous sea lions in the long pool down the middle of the zoo. The smells of the reptile house, the long loops around the antelope enclosures, running hither and yon… you couldn’t pick too many places in St. Louis now as redolent in happy memories as the Zoo. And it’s free. Check it out.
Fireflies April 26, 2008
Fireflies are just one of those marvels of nature, and one of my many petty grudges against Florida was the complete absence of fireflies from my life as long as I lived there. Correspondingly, moving to Missouri, it became an evening ritual to sit outside and watch the fireflies, whether in the Schnabels’ front yard, dancing around Bill’s auto repair projects, the grassy slopes by the parking lot at my apartment in St. Charles, and then my backyard in Benton Park.
At the Shakespeare in the Park performance of Julius Caesar, I showed Stephanie the fireflies in the trees and in the fields, some of which we could see hundreds of yards off. Then, once I finally allowed Stephanie to see my apartment, we sat out back together, watching the fireflies. So, it was with great joy that we found that here, in the concrete canyons of Manhattan, fireflies in the quadrangle of Union Seminary.
Cottonwood April 19, 2008
The area around my old apartment in Benton Park used to be mysteriously filled, every spring, with little wisps of cottony fiber, which drifted in the wind across the streets, collecting in the gutters and getting caught in the grass. It always gave the neighborhood a dreamy feel, especially as I returned home after a hard day at L’Ouverture.
Stephanie and I began our e-mail correspondence in the late spring, and so I would often write about these cottonwood wisps, which she claimed to have never seen. Over the course of that spring and summer, as it became more and more a topic of conversation beween us and among our friends, it seemed that people only seemed to see cottonwood seeds floating in the air when they were around me. The night we went to see Julius Caesar in Forest Park, two or three seeds came floating past us in the middle of a grassy field, which seemed to be a happy omen. We began officially dating soon afterwards.
The ring is green. When I first opened the box (the box said “open me!”), I saw the flash of green, and immediately snapped the box shut. I was delighted, suprised, overwhelmed… I opened the box, took another peek, and snapped it shut, looking at Matt. It was so deeply green, so sparkly.
It’s also unlike anything I would have chosen for myself, which is so totally delightful. I have to admit that after Matt asked me my ring size, I wondered if I should tell him what kind of ring I would like. I asked colleagues, my mom and sister, girlfriends: “Should I tell him what I would like?” They all said, “Yes, tell him what you like, it’s too important.” My mom even suggested I put a ring on my Amazon wishlist. ! But… I really did want it to be a suprise. I liked the idea of Matt choosing something, of it being a true gift. That’s the fun and delight of all gift-giving, of Christmas and birthday packages shipped through the mail: choosing something for someone, and it being a surprise.
I’m so happy I let it be a surprise, that I didn’t give input or “micro manage” that part of the courtship/engagement. He knew how I felt about diamonds, but that was all. I wouldn’t have chosen an emerald for myself, or white gold–somehow I think I would have picked red or pink, and yellow gold. The really perfectly lovely thing is that even though I had no idea in the world that this is what my engagement ring would look like, it’s _perfect_. I love it, love looking at it, showing it off, gazing at it…it’s so _me_, and so elegant, graceful, romantic. Oh, it’s good.
The ring is from GreenKarat, which recycles jewelry and metals, and has ecologically responsible and worker-friendly work practices.
What a perfect start to the engagement. Later, I felt that Matt should also have a special engagement present, and got him the green iPod shuffle. It was the culmination of a series of green treats: fancy pistachios for him to take to work, special chocolates in green wrapping, organic green jasmine tea…and last in the row of little gifts was the iPod. He was so surprised!
And now, I’m letting green influence my ideas about wedding decorations, flowers, cakes… more ideas soon!