Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sex in the Dark

My lovely wife and I just got back from our three-night getaway in a luxury cabin nestled in the picturesque Hocking Hills region of southern Ohio. We try to do this every year, in the dark ages of January, as part of our ongoing commitment to revisit what we like about each other as a couple, so when we're empty-nesters in a few years, we won't have to waste valuable time rediscovering what it was that made this improbable pairing work in the first place.

That didn't sound nearly as romantic typed out as it did in my head.

Anyway, our excellent adventure in a secluded, snow-covered lodge consisted of long, wine-accompanied talks by the fireplace, cooking fine dinners like pasta with pancetta and peppers, and devouring bowls of my famously-delicious popcorn while cuddled together on the big leather sofa, working our way through our newly-acquired Netflix queue. There was plenty of quality canoodling.

We also spent hours reading, together but separate, on adjoining couches, warmed by the fireplace, the room lit mainly by sunlight reflected off of the newly fallen snow. On occasion, when bravery allowed, we'd dart out to the deck in the 20 degree chill, drag the cover off of the hot tub, and slide in up to our necks in the toasty water, semi-weightless as we observed deer stroll past down below and watched squirrels maneuver in a nut frenzy.

It snowed the Sunday we drove down, making the journey along the twisting, angled country roads all the more harrowing, but the trusty Jeep delivered us safely to our temporary paradise. After our first night there, the weather gods were no longer our friends - we were hit with a mixture of snow, freezing rain, and sleet that coated everything in an inch of glistening ice. Simple acts like walking became either medical threats or fodder for America's Funniest Home Videos, depending on your level of health insurance.

Wednesday, our last morning before heading back to the city, started ingloriously, as the power went out. Not surprising, since it's a very rural area with an awful lot of very tall, ice-coated trees, and we were grateful that we made it almost to the end of our stay before the lights went out. The propane fireplace still worked, but none of the electric appliances, obviously, and as we soon learned, the well water was transported via electrical pump, so showers were out and toilet flushing soon became a warm, comforting memory. I think it was nature's way of telling us to go home.

Our main concern was the twisty, turning gravel path that led from the top of the hill where our cabin sat down to the main house and out through the property to the blacktop road. The property owner had plowed the snow on Monday, but the ice mixture had turned our exit route into a backwoods bobsled track, completely smooth and slippery. If we were lucky, we'd smash into one of the tree lines on either side as we gained momentum on our downward slide before plunging into the frozen lake waiting with open arms at the bottom.

We decided to trudge down to the main house and ask for a little extra time before vacating, since it was snowing again, and we thought a couple of inches of the white stuff on top of our slalom course would give us a little traction. We managed to ice-walk down the hill, with me looking curiously like I did the first (and second) time I attempted to rollerblade. Good times.
Granted a temporary stay of eviction, we read using the light from outside, ate salad comprised of our remaining provisions, and watched the snow quietly fall, interrupted by crackling explosions as trees succumbed to the weight of the ice and the forces of gravity, splintering and falling in the calmness with the staccato boom of cannon fire.

Around 2 PM we decided it was time to load up and head out, so I piloted the Liberty (trail rated!) down the hill in four-wheel lo, two wheels in the snow piled on the side and two on the slippery path, creeping around fallen trees, under crystallized, sagging branches, pulling my Army field driving experiences from the dark recesses of my memory until we made it to the bottom, unscathed but a little cotton-mouthed. Whew.

The asphalt roads weren't much better, and we needed to take several detours due to large tree trunks laying across both powerlines and the road, with helpful locals directing us this way and that, past semi-trucks resting in ditches and cars that went straight when the road turned right. Eventually, we made it out to US 33 and headed west to Columbus, and made it home in three hours versus the customary 1 1/2.

Another hillbilly honeymoon accomplished, each treasured for different reasons. Sex in the dark, even when mandated by Mother Nature, is over-rated. I prefer to witness the woman who makes me look forward to this trip every year.

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