Last November 8th, on a stunning autumn evening, Rory and I took a walk after supper from one end of our road to the other. It is about a twenty minute walk and the walk was so wonderful we said we should do this every night after dinner. The next night we walked in the rain, the following night we walked in the snow.
We posted a picture of that third walk, noting the rain and snow, and I think some sort of inner-Minnesotans rose up in us. Could we do this through the winter? Could we do this every night?
The truth is, we knew what a good thing this was from the start. Immediately it was the most precious part of our day. For years we struggled to arrange regular “date nights”. And when we finally did get one on the calendar is was always so loaded: We better make this count!
But when we started walking, it was like having a mini-date everyday. For twenty to thirty minutes a day, Rory and I had each other’s undivided attention. It became our routine to say, “let’s talk about that on our walk.” We connected with neighbors who drove by. But most of all, we reconnected with each other.
Most of the time we walked right after dinner. But some days we walked in the afternoon knowing we had something planned that night. One night we were all tucked in at 10:30pm with the lights out when I said, “We never walked!” And we both got out of bed, dutifully put on our shoes and took our walk!
I know that sounds crazy, but it really wasn’t. This walk became a commitment to each other. An actual vow we were not going to break. I told Rory the most meaningful part for me has been knowing that our twenty minute walk is our biggest rock, the most important thing we do each day (that and family worship). It is a non-negotiable. And it feels so lavish and loving. We are in a season where babysitters and dates and getaways are all too expensive and just not realistic. But this daily walk truly made those things feel unnecessary. I knew I had Rory’s time/ear/friendship and he knew he had mine. No matter the weather.
In the last year we only missed four walks. Ironically, three of those we just forgot because we were on vacation and just didn’t think of it. Which is saying something after walking EVERY DAY. There was only one day we were not together, when Rory and Ivar went camping.
The most memorable walk was when I saw a comet cross the sky and began babbling incoherently. Rory thought I had seen a bear or a wolf, but thankfully I was able to point and he looked up as we watched a huge meteor with a mile-long, multicolored tail soar across the sky over our farm. It was so big that while I was watching the tale, taking in the many colors, Rory was watching the white-hot rock fragment into pieces.
We also watched for weeks as Jupiter and Saturn got closer and closer until they appeared to touch the night everyone was watching. We watched Orion move across the dome of the sky over the course of months. I have never been outside consistently enough to watch the constellations move from night to night.
There was one walk that was so cold (-24 windchill) that my goggles fogged up and froze so I walked with my eyes shut and Rory led me in a trust walk that reminded me of summer camp team building.
We’re not planning on stopping. This is the best thing we’ve ever done for our marriage. And we’re actually excited that winter is next—we missed the stars all summer. As long as we’re dressed for success, it all makes for good memories anyway.
Here’s to another year!