A year ago, Miracle and I stood outside with a few close friends and family to exchange vows. We both improvised what we said, but the stories we recalled were of the same stripe—our travels.
First, an unsteady weekend in Mohican, Ohio where neither of us was sure what would come next. Then a long haul to Vermont to look at tiny homes. “These things are too small,” I declared and we trekked back to Ohio. Miracle felt sad and I told her it’s the end-of-the-roadtrip blues and I made her a get-well-soon package and promised her some more adventures soon. We made several trips down to Virginia to see my buddy Dustin at the mountain home and romp around the cideries and the parkway and Shenandoah. We made a mad dash to Georgia one weekend. She flew out to the Rockies to see me run Pikes Peak. We stayed in a tiny home out there to see how we liked living small. “Ugh,” I said. “This thing is just too damn small. Maybe we should look at bigger places.”
She came to see me in Switzerland where I lived for 6 weeks in a small house. “If this place were just a tad bigger, it would be the perfect home,” I said of my temporary residence. We spent the four days she was in Switzerland eating fresh foods, hanging out with the other writers and drinking excellent wines. When I returned to the states, she moved in and we shared a small bedroom in my buddy, Neil’s house. Not long after she moved in, the travel bug hit again and we absconded to see Jean—one of the other writers from the residency—at her home in the Redwood forest of California.
Covid hit a week later and at first we lazed about, wondering if we would ever travel again. I bought an engine for the VW and we began going for day hikes—first at the local parks, then longer hikes farther out in the hills of southeast Ohio. When most of America (incorrectly) assumed covid was on the wane, I booked an AirBnB in Indiana. The bus had a “breakdown” and I pulled out the one tool in my repair kit: her engagement ring. I promised Miracle a lifetime of adventure; I said that she would never be bored. So we got Jolene, made more weekend runs to the mountain home, took excursions to the Finger Lakes and then to Traverse City. Now we live in our VW. Today we will stand at the southernmost point in the US. Two months ago we were in the most northeastern corner. Who knows what the road will deliver next.
Many of you know that I am fond of Bob Dylan and his lyrical genius. For my money, the best of his albums is the latest. In the most divine of his love songs, “I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You,” he sings: Take me out traveling, you’re a traveling man / Show me something I don’t understand / I’m not what I was, things aren’t what they were / I’ll go far away from home with her
Everyday has been an adventure; we see things we don’t understand. Both of us are different people than when we left and we know Ohio will be different when we pass through again in ten months. That Dylan song? The final lines say it all:
I knew you’d say yes, I’m saying it too
I’ve made up my mind to give myself to you
Happy anniversary, Miracle. (I’ll never tire of taking pictures of you taking pictures.)