Decade II – Intro
Intimate spouses of many years know the nuances of their love: the snort, a nod, that slight facial expression; what is normal, what is not, what Galway Kinnell calls the “familiar touch of the long married.”1 We also know to expect the restlessness, the glazed over look in March, the need to move again, the relentless call of the open highway in early summer. Ours is a cadence set to nature and her seasons. Our promise “to love and cherish from this day forth” is set to the timbre of that first magical interval of glorious warmth and vibrant colors—headed straight into the stark cold of Rocky Mountain winter… Across the years I learned that I am a seasonal girl and he a seasonal guy, but that came after our early thirteen year sojourn to SoCal where months come and go with little disruption or circumstance, other than El Nino and the Santa Ana winds, where for us the college calendar set our comings and goings.
It wasn’t until we reached the wilds of Montana that we began to recognize the nod, the sigh, how long the frozen twilight, the pacing of a caged beast, the urgent search for plane tickets out. More iron clad than the moon cycles, for two educators, our calendar found at its center the date we’d escape from our pot holes and wash boards, dust and dirt, allergies, bumps and scrapes…and yes, that also meant travel that took from us Montana at the peak of of paradise: June sunsets, stampeding storms, mountain streams, double arched rainbows dancing on eastern hills, white peaks, blue skies, purple mountains, the valley floor green then golden, the laughter of little children, the sound of reading. Aslan singing.
Each year we sought reprieve with puffs of clouds below, handsome skylines above, sun winking off of metal wings and famed skyscrapers, cities of the world, bridges, waterways, art and culture, vineyards, quilted rolling hills, sun light breaking over waves, warm sand, board walks. Ah this grand country of ours seen from the windows of a VW bus, through the eyes of a mommy and a daddy, two children and one black dog. Miles of asphalt through canyons and red rocks and bad lands and black hills and desert highways, velvet night skies with her millions stars, Big Sur, magical and mysterious Pac Northwest, her people, our people, song of the metropolis, sighing forests, the grand Columbia and her glorious bridal veil, the Pacific Coast and her islands, the endless reach of Texas, and the swamps of Georgia. Green jungles, fire flies, rainstorms, rhythm of train, flat Atlantic, Great Lakes, corn fields, Dells, until at last returning home to our beloved Rockies.
Of course, the path has included swampy bogs and near disaster.
If we erred, it was in the day-to-day when we traded our spirited journey of adventure and romance for the earnest devotion to work for survival rather than joy. I still believe the daily cadence of life doesn’t have to be this polarized. There is still hope for us. Trading out cycles of fear for the healing power of forgiveness. Instead of getting stuck on survive, we can choose to surrender the need to be right, and bend toward what it means to thrive.
1 Galway Kinnell, “After Making Love We Hear Footsteps,” in his Mortal Acts, Mortal Words, in his Three Books (New York: Houghton-Miffline, 2002), 77.