Some friends asked us recently, "How's married life?" And we get this question often, though my answer rarely changes beyond a version of the customary, "Oh, it's great." Big, semi-plastered smile. But this time, we looked at each other first with those searching eyes, giving permission to answer our friends, "It's been hard." Hard, friends. So much harder than we can give words to, than I want to put to writing, yet. No, now is not the time to write bare the soul of our five infant months of marriage.
Now is the time to labor hard together on the foundation of our house, to wipe the sweat off each other's brows and rub knots from shoulders, and at the end of the day, sit across from each other over bowls of freshly made soup and stroll with fingers interlaced through wooded trails in our neighborhood.
So that's just what we do last night. We savor my experimental soup of sweet potato, leek and red chili flakes, garnished with tortilla strips fried crispy. Then we get in our little white Honda and drive the few miles to tree-canopied trails, the ones I've drooled over from the passenger seat with my cast and crutches, ear-marking them months ago. Now, I sit in the passenger seat, drumming giddy feet into the floor mat, my husband glancing over at me with one of those smiles of endearment. Five months after my injury, we can finally take this walk.
I'm pulling him along, our arms one long extension, like the accordian Metro buses in Seattle, and he's laughing. We stop and inhale the forest. It's quiet here at first, nearly absent of human soundtrack, then our ears perk at the live concert of the woods. Bird voices, how many we're not sure, join with high-pitched chipmunk chittering. I try to imitate the chipmunks and we giggle at the squawking and how the chipmunks freeze with beady eyes, and Ricardo snaps their picture. The breeze we didn't notice until stepping inside this sanctuary now plays the strings of tree branches, rustling leaves and swaying trees high above. Ricardo wonders, "How long do you think these trees have been here?" And of course I don't know, but we crouch down to study toppled trunks and marvel at the dozens of rings so close together, marking years of birthdays.
It's near the end of the day, and we know this by the beams of orange filtering through the cracks of forest. We follow the light, our yellow brick road, and it leads us out to the street, across to a neighborhood that towers above the lake. The sun that started the day a ball of florescent pink, now burns like a tangerine on fire, steadily disappearing into smoky clouds above the water. We watch with ooohs and ahhhs and the air is warm, just a hint of autumn tonight, but the trees are already dressed in colors of fall.
We turn back to the forest, reluctant to leave. "Let's come back tomorrow," I say, and he agrees. There's something about being out here that restores our souls, opens our child eyes, locks our happy hands together.
Joining the writing community today at Heather King's blog for another Tuesday installment of Just Write...