We run away to the beach for a weekend after Edward finishes an exam. Everything is great – we are an easy walk from the ocean waves, we can see them from our AirBNB’s balconies during the day. We eat delicious food. I learn I love calzones. We watch documentaries curled up on the sofa at night. I buy a large mason jar with a little garden in it – an aloe plant, a baby cactus shaped like a pincushion, an air plant, a chunk of crystal quartz – at a quirky beachside pottery shop. We walk along the beach. Lena loves the beach – she runs in circles in the soft white sand, kicking it up behind her, avoiding the waves. I worry about her getting older sometimes, how she’s gotten a bit less nimble, and it’s great to see her running full tilt here and truly enjoying herself. We feel like us again for the first time in a while. We’re on the same page. Then on the last day while we’re walking on the beach Edward starts telling me how hard the next few months will probably be, how stressed and busy he is going to be because his Step 1 exam is coming up in April and he needs to study study study for that on top of his usual brutal schedule of medical school quizzes & exams. I start to crumble thinking about the months ahead too. Continue reading “Cycles: Connecting & Disconnecting”
I lost my wedding ring in the coral pink sand dunes somehow and Edward & I had to do a little ceremony with the replacement one I got once we got back to Birmingham to make it “official” again. It was sweet. Sam and Lena were quite popular at the sand dunes. We went to Zion National Park, which was stunning, and Edward fell absolutely in love with the Petrified Forest National Park – so much in love that he bought a t-shirt there and now wears it quite often. We drove along the US-Mexico border. We went to Marfa TX because one of my favorite shows, I Love Dick, takes place there but it was pretty disappointing for a number of reasons. We started to panic about how much this trip was adding up to on my credit cards after Marfa. It was an exhaustingly long drive home from Marfa to Birmingham and Edward was a champ. We stopped in Houston to say hi to my old friend, Charles, and he got to meet Sam for the first time (Charles & Lena are old buddies). All four of us needed days to recover before we felt normal again after spending so much time on the road and so many days in the car. Our bodies were stiff and exhausted. It was a beautiful trip though and I am grateful to have taken so many photographs to remember it by.
We’ve been home for about 3 weeks now (I think) and I’ve picked 10 of my favorite photographs from this Southwestern adventure, made prints of them and hung them in the kitchen.
We rest for a day in Moab, UT – realizing we have, once again, planned a road trip that’s a bit “too ambitious” with not enough rest time (our vacations actually tend to be more exhausting than rejuvenating). We get Thai food + I buy a few souvenirs (a maroon dreamcatcher, some agate wolf figurines in desert colors…). I find a book called Sister Moon Lodge all about menstruation in a free bin at a health foods store. We shower in the motel for the first time in a few days, having not had running water the past two nights, and it is glorious. We just lay around in the comfy bed for a long time. I DJ music on my phone for us.
The next day we hit Canyonlands National Park + Arches National Park. I take a lot of photographs and we stand on the edges of canyons with the pups and meet a cool, older biker couple. We drive SW for the rest of the day mostly listening to the new Fleet Foxes’ album. Sam starts to get a bit car sick and we pull over quickly onto the side of the highway. We finally get to a hotel near Zion National Park where a lot of movie stars used to stay when they’d come to the area to film cowboy movies. Several hours later we are at the hotel and Edward realizes he can’t find his phone. We learn from technology (magic) that it is on the side of the highway where we stopped for Sam, about an hour away from our hotel in the direction we came from. We are both grumpy because we are exhausted and I had a low blood sugar freak out while waiting for dinner. We had to leave the restaurant because they were super packed, hadn’t even taken our drink orders yet and I needed food ASAP or I was going to pass out. We ended up running to a grocery store and whipping something together quickly in our hotel room to eat. Edward and I were both upset because we both really wanted to eat at the restaurant – they had amazing vegetarian options and good vegetarian food is hard to come by on the road.
We drive an hour in the dark, it’s late by now, to go retrieve Edward’s phone then an hour back to the hotel. We drink a bit because things feel weird and we aren’t sure how to get back into adventure mode. There are no photographs from this grumpy part of the trip.
Edward drives us over 4,500 miles on this trip. We are gone for 8 days. Lena’s favorite place while we drive is sleeping across Edward’s lap, facing me. We stop often to give the dogs water. It storms a lot while we are driving at various points – sometimes our visibility is almost zero from the rain hitting the windshield. The first night we stay at a hotel in Forth Worth, Texas. The second night we stay in a yurt in Madrid, New Mexico. Madrid is a weird little town I hadn’t heard of until this trip – it seems to be populated by hippie artists and largely LGBT, or at least very LGBT-friendly. There are “watch for dogs” signs along Main St instead of the usual “watch for children” or “children at play” signs you typically see. The sunset and sunrise from the yurt are amazing – we see both. We drive up a very rocky and unpaved road to get there – it’s a bit anxiety-provoking for everyone. Edward and I yell “BIMP!” frequently because someone put signs next to some of the bigger bumps in the road to warn people like us who do not have the right car for this situation and we are amusing ourselves and mildly spastic already from all of the time in the car. The next day I fall in love with Santa Fe. I feel more at home in this landscape of mountains, canyons, plateaus, desert and very determined plants than I have anywhere else I’ve ever been – which is a little strange given that I am from Pennsylvania. It scares me and thrills me and makes me feel at peace all at once. I feel safe here for some reason. It inspires me – as cheesy as that is – and I feel like I could live here and make art about this landscape, this little portion of the country, for the rest of my life. Continue reading “Southwest: Part 1 of 3”
1, 2 + 3: Outside the yurt in Madrid, NM / super cool lesbian AirBNB hosts
5. Lena, Sam + Edward in Santa Fe / my new favorite city / I want to live in Santa Fe someday
6. Gas station / bathroom break / so much sky in the wilderness
7 + 8: Driving in Utah / haunted state / sage EVERYTHING / juniper seed ghost bracelet
10 + 11: Everyone crashes when we get home / vacation can be exhausting
We got married on Monday, December 19th 2016 at approximately 1:00pm CST. I had so much anxiety about the wedding leading up to it – not about marrying Edward but about all of the other details (would the photographer and officiant both make it? Would something go wrong? Would my flowers die before I needed them for my bouquet? Would my dress still fit? etc) but everything couldn’t have gone better. It was one of the happiest, most joy-filled days I’ve ever had. The wedding was exactly how we wanted it – beautiful, just us, intimate and special.