“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only though love.”
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only though love.”
“We’re all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we meet someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
–Theodore Geisel aka Dr. Seuss
I honestly have had, in my 29 Valentine’s Days, two, and perhaps a third, that made me feel like this day of love really is okay.
I was about eight. My family went “camping” (we were in our motorhome) at the ocean. I took my pink Minnie Mouse suitcase and packed it with “books and my stuff” but really, I squirreled away the last few heart shaped sugar cookies my mom had made (no one questioned whether I’d actually eaten them all), made Valentines for my mom, my dad, and my sister (I might have even made one for the dog…). I stole some of the Valentines decorations out of my room (yes, our rooms were always decorated for holidays) so I could decorate the motorhome on Valentines day, and not before.
My family was so delighted that I’d taken the time to make them feel special. I still remember my mom and dad just kind of tilting their heads and laughing a bit at the holiday exuberance of their oldest daughter.
I was a sophomore in high school. Neither my friend or I had Valentines but we had planned an evening to watch Bridget Jones’ Diary and eat pizza. I had already established to my friends and family that I hated Valentine’s Day and that it was a stupid holiday designed to make single people feel dumb. (The prior year I’d wore a Maleficent t-shirt to my friends red-pink-and-white party.) We’d both read the books and in our own sixteen year old way, identified with the thirty-something “singleton” Bridget.
That morning, flowers had been delivered to my house from a “Bellarmine freind” (Bellarmine was my high school and, yes, it was spelled “freind.”) We spent a good chunk of our evening speculating who the “freind” was and giggling. Her mom had bought us pizza and had brought us a Papa Murphy’s heart shaped special. We gleefully tore into it with kitchen shears, ripping the heart apart into pieces we felt symbolized our young, tortured, lonely hearts.
When I got back to my house that evening, my parents had Valentines Day gifts for me. I had gotten a small potted rose, but the part that really made my day was the “necklace” of pickle balls on red curling ribbon. (My dad used to spend hours on spring and summer evenings “pitching” to me in the backyard. I was one lucky kid.)
I went to bed that Valentine’s Day feeling lucky to have a friend I could talk to about anything and a family that loved me and was able to poke fun at a holiday that had made me feel sad.
It was my first Valentine’s Day with F. It was my first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend ever.
He planned a trip for us to a friend’s beach cabin for the weekend. Weeks before Valentines Day I started shopping for a card and couldn’t find anything that I liked. I ended up making The Best Card Ever and having it printed online. It was the front page of Craigslist on the cover and the text of the personal ad that brought us together inside. I think I bought him a book I thought he’d like to go with it but I’m not really sure.
We spent the weekend hanging out in the Northwest winter damp. I didn’t feel the sense of romance I thought I’d feel but it was mostly nice. We’d get the hang of this, I thought.
We never did have an excellent Valentines Day.
This year, I’ll be out, hiking, alone for Valentines Day.
One month ago, I walked into a classroom and stood in front of the room for the first time. I’d had plenty of 1st Days as a student but this was the start of a new career and a new life in Ridgway. That afternoon, I found out I was getting divorced.
According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, I should be set to have a heart attack any minute since a score of 300+ on their inventory leaves you with a 90% chance of an illness or “blowing up.” I took the inventory and scored over 400…
In contrast to getting sick or blowing up, however, I’ve done my best to readjust, reset, and begin again.
I bought land here in town and began to dream of what my house should have and how it might look. (Perhaps another stressor but I do love dreaming of a new home and scheming how to make it happen.)
I’ve climbed mountains: a 14er and a couple county highpoints plus made dreams and plans for so many more. I’ve hiked with friends and have plans on the calendar for a Joe’s Valley trip and at least one more friend hike in the next month.
I’ve began to settle into my rental and do some work on it in exchange for rent. (Follow my adventures in single gal renovation on Instagram and Twitter at #damselNOTindistress.) I’ve had a friend visit me for a change and there’s another one scheduled to arrive a week from tomorrow.
I’ve caught up with old friends on the phone and found myself active on Twitter and Instagram again. I have had more emails, Tweets, texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls of love and support than I would have ever imagined.
There have been evenings spent with lovely diverse Ridgway friends in their homes, in the park, on the river, and at Colorado Boy.
It’s been hard: moving, a new job, divorce, friend making, and renovating all at the same time. I haven’t had much time to post here but I will get that scheduled in again soon.
But you know what? I’m smiling.
Benedictio May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottoes of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you—beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. -Ed Abbey
F and I wrote our ceremony and vows together. We used traditional Christian wedding ceremonies (specifically the one from The Common Book of Prayer) as a basis for writing the ceremony but made it completely our own. We decided to ask Jason to be our officiant. This ended up being a great choice. Jason played the role well not only during the ceremony but in the lead up to the wedding as we spoke on the phone a couple of times about the ceremony and when he would call to jokingly ask us if we were nervous yet. F and I both felt really great that we had someone who knew us and what we wanted (and didn’t want) from our ceremony.
After we finished with our portraits, it was ceremony time. We walked into the house and directed people out to the ceremony site. The last person we found in the house was Chris who helpfully handed us his full can of Johnny’s American IPA*. We shared the beer and joked with Jason as we waited for everyone to settle in. This quiet moment, with some awesome levity added by the addition of the beer, was really very nice.
Once it was time to start, Jason walked in, followed by F. To the opening strains of Zac Brown’s Free I started my walk down the aisle. I remember looking at everyone looking at me the moment I walked out the door, but after that? I was just looking at F and grinning. I hardly remember getting down the aisle.
I hardly remember the start of the ceremony. Things started to slow down a bit for me when Stacia stepped forward to read Benedictio from Ed Abbey’s Earth Apples; I tried to hold onto each phrase and savor it but as she read the final phrase, “where something more strange and beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams awaits you—beyond that next turn of the canyon walls” I felt the first tears prick at my eyes. Next, Sandi, F cousin, read Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road.” The poem states so much so perfectly for F and I.
Jason spoke briefly about how he met F and how he’d watched F and I grow together.
Then it was time for our vows. Although teary, I mostly made it through the vows with a fairly steady voice. When I got to the last phrase (the one I could never read at home without tearing up) my voice broke. I’m not sure how much anyone could understand me, but F’s reading of it was nice and clear.
After we finished our vows, Jason tried to jump right to pronouncing us man and wife while F was still trying to get my ring out of his pocket. I’m pretty sure I interjected, “Hey!” and I remember at least a few other people (probably F and my mom) jumping in as well. We all laughed and moved back in to the ceremony.
After Jason (finally) got to pronounce us husband and wife and our kiss, rather than recessing, we invited everyone to the front to take a group shot. Following the group shot, we asked everyone to take their chairs over to the dinner table (just around the corner of the house), and broke out the wine, champagne, and beer.
Song of The Open Road by Walt Whitman
Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
*Turns out, the Moab brewery unexpectedly has developed a pretty yummy session IPA.
And then F gets impatient and starts walking backwards. We both crack up.
If there’s a love fest, Sprocket wants in:
I’m off adventuring in Utah celebrating being a newlywed but I’ve still got some posts lined up for this week. First off, we have a guest post from Kinzie (this is also 3Up Adventures first guest post ever!). When she replied to my call for posts on how you incorporate adventure into your life by offering to write about how her boyfriend (now husband!) followed her to France after dating for just a few months I was ecstatic. I love love love this post. Love and Adventure together; simply perfect for our post wedding week. And with that, Kinzie:
My husband and I had been dating for approximately two months when I found out I got a teaching job in France for the next school year. It was simultaneously exciting and terrifying to know that I was falling in love with the guy chopping tomatoes across from me, while anticipating the seven months we would have to spend apart, if our relationship could even withstand the distance.
My mom seemed to think she had it all figured out. Any time I was sad or worried about the impending time apart, she said, “Well, Donnie should just move to France with you.”
“Mom, it’s not that easy. He can’t just move to France.”
“Well, I think he should. You guys would have fun.”
I was convinced that this wasn’t a realistic solution, but my mom was relentless. (We had this same conversation approximately 50 times.) And, maybe this is just a “magical mom power” but the more she said it, the more I decided she was probably right. So I started looking into creative ways to get Donnie over to France with me.
Today marks a year of living in the Silver Valley. I cannot believe how much has changed in our lives.
Moving: A year ago today, I’d just finished up moving all of our stuff (Forrest’s tools and bikes included!) from Missoula to a storage unit here. I’d arranged to live in the basement of a real estate agency for three weeks while we waited to move into our rental house (we were picky and wanted a place we could heat with wood). I was waiting for Forrest to come back from North Dakota.