We were sitting on an old blanket and not in a Michelin-starred restaurant, but the date felt perfect to me
Meghan is a 40-year-old communications officer and educator who lives “part-time in Toronto and part-time in cottage country.” She says, “My style is ‘flannel queen.’ I need to be cosy and comfortable 24/7 during the colder months. I’m always wearing hiking boots, tights, long sweater-coats and beanies.” Her family and friends would say she is “outdoorsy, a world traveller, adventurous to a fault, well-read and organized.” She says, “I have too many hobbies to count. I can become interested in anything and everything. I’ve had to pare down what I spend my time and money on to get the most enjoyment out of my life.”
Since my workplace went remote, I’ve spent most of my time at my family’s cottage. It’s been great for my mental health and quality of life, especially as I focus on healing after a breakup. My romantic life suffered because I wasn’t dating, but when I tried to, it was too hard to arrange meetups when I was back and forth between the cottage and the city.
Eventually I met Asher online. I could tell that he was going to be worth making a series of long drives for. Our first date was like everything clicking into place. He was shy, but I soon found out he was also confident, hilarious, creative, generous and kind.
We’re both double vaccinated, but Asher has a health issue that has made him extra careful. Neither of us has been OK with indoor dining, and we already go on walks and hikes. But we wanted to celebrate our one-month “anniversary” in a special way and Asher suggested we become “leaf peepers” for a day.
Leaf peeping is when you drive around to look at autumn leaves. Asher did a bunch of research on where to go and when, and planned a whole day around it, which involved leaving the city first thing in the morning and returning that night as Asher had to work. I was excited! It sounded very romantic but also a good way to do something unique, safe and romantic.
Asher came over in the morning with a car packed with blankets, chairs, food, coffee, snacks and even wine, which was for me. He had made two separate playlists for the drives up and down. He had really thought it through. It made me feel special to know he had been thinking so much about our day trip.
We drove up north and, as the official “leaf-peeping information officer” in the front seat, I looked up facts about the different trees, why they lose colour — we learned it is because of chlorophyll — and looked up any trees that I didn’t already know. I was surprised to find how much there was to learn as someone who loves nature. We just listened to music for long stretches, not talking, sometimes holding hands when the road was clear. It felt like we were embarking on a big adventure even if it was just for a day.
We had focused on just one hiking trail that was supposed to have amazing views of the foliage. We didn’t want to overextend ourselves on a day that was already long from the drive. We had already seen a lot of beautiful nature on the drive up, but once we got to the trail, and were able to breathe the air and move around, it was even more spectacular. The weather had gone from gloomy and overcast to sunny, which was a bonus. I took about a million photos and videos, and made sure to get a lot of Asher and I together. I wanted to remember this!
We stopped for snacks about halfway through and felt comfortable resting for a while since Asher had planned the day so carefully. We had plenty of time to rest, enjoy, and soak in the nature and each other. He proposed a toast with my wine and his water, to “us.” Even though it had been only one month, and we were sitting on an old blanket and not in a Michelin-starred restaurant, it felt perfect to me.
I realized that the day was something of a metaphor for our relationship, so it seemed right that it was meant to celebrate the milestone of one month together. I’m looking forward to many more.
Meghan rates her date (out of 10): 10