As celebration of a great, secret achievement of Alice’s* we walked to Lake Crabtree yesterday. It is only a short walk from our apartment, truly a lovely thing to have in our backyard. Along the way, we found a section of the paved path had been physically lifted off of the ground by a flood and deposited a few feet to left. There was a sign saying the path was closed, but it was not clear if it referred to the entire lake crabtree path or simply the small portion carried away by the flood. In any case, the admonition seemed to have little effect on the number of people using the path.
It takes only about 30 minutes to get to Lake Crabtree, but the path then continues around the lake itself. With the humidity what it is, my shirt was already soaked with sweat by the time the lake was in view. However, Alice deserved the long walk she wanted, because this was a special occasion. It didn’t take long for me to settle into the role of walking in the heat. Pretty soon I had forgotten the discomfort and simply enjoyed the sights and Alice’s company.
Alice and I started a competition in which we would each try to point out to the other more plants, animals, and fungi. Each time Alice would overtake me in one category, I would invent a new category. With this strategy, I remain the champion in the categories of tennis balls, pinecones, and Lake Crabtrees.
At times, the path was so muddy that it was difficult to get across. We did have to engage in some hopping from rock to rock. We reached a park, and while Alice use the bathroom I read all about the poison a transformer manufacturer dumped into this lake and the resulting restrictions on eating the toxic fish. After the park, we ended up on a mountain bike trail and frequently had to get off the narrow path to let them past. Alice noticed a bug on my sock. An ant had evidently become frustrated with me and attacked. Despite the fact that it had failed to even get my attention, I had to give it credit for its literal tenacity. After a few attempts, it was clear that the little ant would sooner have its head removed from its body than from my sock. So, we decided to leave it until it got tired of its own accord.
After the mountain bike path, the trail opened up. We could look in all directions and see scenic vistas.
It was getting late in the day by this point. We had been walking for two and a half hours. Fortunately, we were quite close to home. I saw familiar gazebo from the last time I had ventured out this direction.
When we made it home, I put together a special supper for Alice. Quinoa cooked in homemade broth with pesto and marinated tofu pan-fried with North Carolina scuppernong wine. I carefully kept the tofu I had accidentally burnt when trying to speed the marination process using a pressure cooker separate with plans to eat it myself and let Alice have the tofu that sat in its marinade in the fridge. I accidentally gave Alice the burnt tofu.
Fortunately, it turned out to be delicious in its own right, and Alice loved it!
The little ant also joined us for dinner, although she wouldn’t let go of my sock to sit at the table.
Congratulations, Alice! Happy <REDACTED>!
*Not a pregnancy or proposal