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Being with Don has changed me in so many ways.

It’s prompted me to attempt to speak with random accents (all of them bad). It’s given me a deeper appreciation for B rated science fiction. Enticed me to move to the city. Encouraged me to buy my precious old truck, cohabitate with a squirrel and dive deeply into refinishing antiques.

But perhaps the best change has been how he’s affected my view of gray days.

Before Don, I wasn’t a fan of gray. Not even a little. I’d look up at a colorless sky and my mood would soon mirror the sad look of the day. I needed blue. Needed sun. Needed daylight that lasted late.

That ended with the Don. Who gets positively giddy from gray.

“Ooh, look!” he’ll say, standing at the window, his face lit with excitement. “The sky is soft today.”

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Gray days — especially ones that are threatening rain — mean we’ll likely have trails all to ourselves. We can head to one of our favorite places and enjoy the woods without one bicyclist after another barking, “To your left!” as they pass.

Even better is when the skies are gray and it’s actively raining, and our options are narrowed even more. That’s when I can expect to hear him flipping through our DVD collection, looking for something epic, like “The Lord of the Rings;” when I know our house will soon be fragrant with candles and popcorn; that he’ll lure me to the couch with a warm, dryer-bounced blanket, fragrant with Downy.

“There’s no pressure to be productive on days like this,” Don says. “No guilt over wasting a pretty day by staying indoors.”

Since we don’t have a garage or basement, my refinishing projects must be completed outdoors, limiting me to weekends now that the days are so short. By the time I get home from the office, it’s dark. On weekends, I often work so frantically I don’t get a chance to recharge my battery.

But then comes a beautifully gray, drizzly day, like today, to stop the whirlwind. To force a break. To curl next to Don on the couch without feeling shame about having wasted the day.

I used to think gray was boring, but he’s shown me it’s the color of peace and quiet. Which was exactly what I needed today.

Karin Fuller can be reached at

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