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― Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth

Backdrop: A cool, sunny, gorgeous day.

Brad and I decided to take Troy to visit San Luis Mission Park.

Blessed with my God-given, intuitive sense of direction, I managed to get us there using only:

1. Personal memory (I had visited there once before)

2. my phone’s G.P.S. (when the former failed),

3. Brad’s phone’s G.P.S. (when mine failed); and

4. The user-friendly step-by-step map to San Luis Mission Park handed over to me free-of-charge upon my arrival at the front desk of the nearby Mission San Luis Museum & Archaeological Site (when all else failed).

Where had I taken us, you ask?

“From 1656 to 1704, Mission San Luis served as the principal village of the Apalachees and was the Spaniards’ westernmost military, religious, and administrative capital. Mission San Luis was one of over 100 mission settlements established in Spanish Florida between the 1560s and 1690s. It was home to more than 1,400 residents, including a powerful Apalachee chief and the Spanish deputy governor.”

In other words, NOT the dog park, but it was also not a terrible detour. I think I will plan to visit their on purpose one day.

Well, as they say, all roads lead to home. And while neither Brad nor I call the lovely San Luis Mission Park home, I still feel the saying applies (i.e. I still feel the need to say the saying).

Next, we successfully arrived at our 2nd (1st) stop: San Luis Mission Park.

At this point, I would be remiss not to mention the thorn of the day (rose, forthcoming): On the short walk from the parking lot to the dog park proper I was accosted, attacked by EITHER:

(a) a deadly leaf-mimicking insect-monstrosity known to the world as the Katydid

OR

(b) an actual tree leaf

Verdict on the matter not reached due to BOTH:

(1) I was too mortified to examine the corpse on the ground

AND

(2) b/c Brad laughed at me for the manner by which I instinctively defended myself when the assailant first came careening into my scarf (in other words, my pride).

Needless to say, if it turned out to be a leaf, my precious pride would have taken a hit. I know what you’re thinking, “But, Mary, pride is a fool’s fortress.”

But Not-Mary, “Ignorance is bliss.”

But Mary, remember the wise words of Confucius, “Real knowledge is to know
the extent of one’s ignorance.”

But Not-Mary, remember the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

Anyways, that minor hiccup behind us, we made our way to the dog park. Troy, the smallest dog at the park, proceeded to celebrate Valentine’s Day by mounting several unsuspecting dogs all in the range of three to four times his size. I believe that you can learn a lot about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness watching dogs mount one another. Brad and I even saw a three-way mount attempted.

Nature is trying to tell me something, I thought to myself, but what? What understanding do You wish me to glean from the events unfolding here before my very eyes, Oh beautiful Earth Mother?

Here I quote my main man, Goethe, on Nature:

“She loves illusion. She shrouds man in mist, and she spurs him toward the light. Those who will not partake of her illusions she punishes as a tyrant would punish. Those who accept her illusions she presses to her heart. To love her is the only way to approach her.”

But I digress.

Next, after carefully reviewing the maps of the park trails that were posted, the three of us took to the woods. In what I had initially mistaken for Brad paying homage to my impeccable navigation skills, he insisted on asking me to first report which route I would take at every juncture where the trail diverged into two separate routes. Each time, I silently minute-meditated (its a thing, Google it*) on the relevant Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, stated my preference, then followed Brad as he 100% of the times lead us down the OPPOSITE path.

Along the trail, there were also a number of strategically placed pull-up bars (where, in my opinion, the ground would have been just as prime a real estate for the installation of pay-to-rest conveyor belt walkways). We did some chin-ups and some pull-ups (they’re different, dawg, trust me). And, with a little assistance, I am proud to report I was able to do at least one of each. No big.**

We headed back to Brad’s, where we checked out his abstract for a philosophy paper he will present at a conference in (…wait for it) Helsinki, MF’s (!)

Then, we watched an episode of The Colbert Show (RIP), then a Jon Stewart clip, then just hung out (rose), then grabbed dinner at One Fresh, and ended Valentine’s Day the way any two self-respecting Western consumer capitalists would: We stopped at our local Publix and perused their bargain aisle. Next stop, the drink aisle, where I listened to Brad as he recited what I can only describe as the best (only) one-man Ode to lemon-lime Powerade Zero I have heard to date. I then silently observed as he followed up his performance by giving one of the lemon-lime Powerade Zero bottles a single, loving tap with his index finger, as he looked back to me and whispered, “I just wanted to touch it.”

In the dairy section, Brad experienced what appeared to me to be the emotional-inner-turmoil-equivalent of my Katydid attack earlier that day (perhaps, his thorn?). It happened when I made the grave mistake of remarking on how unusually pricey milk seemed to be. You see, anyone who knows Brad, knows the man loves a bargain. But, alas, anyone that knows Brad also knows he loves milk.  And, as it were, the two don’t mix. He got the milk but refused himself the purchase of a Blue Bell Ice Cream, indicating his concession with the unsolicited announcement that this time he would “exercise discipline.”

Back to the car (which smelled like Christmas due to Brad’s new car freshener). I was introduced to some new (good) music on the ride home. And anyone who knows me knows I love the smell of Christmas. And anyone who knows me knows what a day as pleasant as yesterday meant to me.

________________

*Not a thing

**But big

2015.02.13

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