Note: As explained in this post, in honor of me and my wife’s first year of marriage, I’m going to spend the second year posting monthly reflections of the same month a year earlier. This is the seventh installment.

Ah, February.

When I first conceived of this writing project, celebrating each month-anniversary in th second year of our marriage by reflecting on that month the prior year, it was February that daunted me. So many months presented shining, golden moments to seize upon, to embrace and hold up to celebrate, and we are all inclined to reach for those moments when we feel the need to define and describe a period in time.

But February, upholding its position in the thick, damp grayness of Oregon’s mid-winter season, offers none of those moments for my memory.

I wish to be quick to point out, for others reading along with us, that this was not the result of some pall cast over the relationship, some long dark night of the first year of marriage. No, the truth, I believe, is actually quite beautiful. February was simply one of those spans of time in which life itself moves along, picking up a rhythm of work and chores and off-kilter schedules that enhance the swift passage of days into weeks, rendering one mostly indistinguishable from the rest.

And yet, despite the fact that no great, glistening moments leap out to me from that month, I still find it beautiful for the things I know happened during that month. I know that on a Saturday morning, we slept in, and then had breakfast, and walked the dog together, commenting on his idiosyncrasies where the marking of territory is concerned; I know that we worked in the yard together on clear weekend afternoons, that we took an evening to visit one of our favorite restaurants together; I know that I pulled on my shoes and went for a run while you practiced, and was greeted by the warmth of your presence, signaled by the music wafting from the back of the house, when I returned; I know that we took a few moments to have a quick breakfast together on those days when I had to run out of the house to teach a morning class; I know that we spent many walks around the neighborhood discussing jobs and applications and our future together, and that the emphasis was — and always has been — on the future together.

I know all of these things happened that month — and many other small, yet no-less-magnificent events — because these are the threads that weave our lives together from day-to-day. These are the cornerstone events that make possible the towering pillars of the brilliant and shining moments, the base-layer that keeps us warm even when distance and distraction create a chill, the roots that hold the oak steady when the wind blows. I know these things to be true, and so I know these days to be true, even if they cannot be tagged and marked with a date and time. So long as days pass through breakfasts and dinners, through walks and runs and hikes, through lazy mornings and exhausted evenings, there is a peaceful rhythm that cannot easily be disturbed, and a quiet kind of grace. In contemplating the nature of this graceful knowledge yet again as I write, I am once more reminded that this is what our marriage is, what it is made of — this is us>/i> — and I could not be happier for it.

Happy Anniversary, HP!