To Juliet on our Seventh Anniversary continues an important tradition for me of writing a public post to my wife, on our anniversary each year. In the case of this year, this is also the very first post on my newly minted website. Seven years ago today, after two days of rain in Austin, the sun came out, and in your white dress and lovely shoes you stood in the soft grass of Mercury Hall. As our beautiful and succinct ceremony transpired, you and your sharp heels began to sink into the still muddy earth. I had to pry you from the soil after we completed our vows, and as we danced towards the reception hall, the muck slung from your shoes onto your dress like mudflaps on a ’77 Ford. This crude reference is the metaphor for what we do and how we choose to live. We bury ourselves into the mire of work and life in some place. We get to know it through a process, and most of it is enjoyable, poetic, and emotional. However, after time, we begin to bog down deeper into a social world, the dirtier parts, the softer places that hold us comfortably or routinely. We suddenly feel an insatiable urge to fly, and this is when the music starts, and one of us tugs at the arms of the other, which have begun to stretch to their limits, and we plop from the swamp of complacency to seek the rebirth of our curiosity.
Travel, perhaps the most jarring action one can voluntarily accept that can rip a person from the doldrums of everyday existence, and thrust them into a mode of survival, awareness, and unfamiliarity. With mud flying from the wheels of our rolling duffels, we gleefully jump into that Uber to our nearest airport, and we become the people we love the most, every time. In the case of our life now, I drive by San Francisco International airport once or twice a week. Each time I pass it, I glance to see the aircraft coming and going, and I immediately imagine you and me on some journey to another far-flung destination. We are rarely comfortable for the next however many days. We are often edgy, nervous, and testy throughout the transition of regular life to airplane life. We send farewell notes to our families; we shore up last moment loose ends with our daily lives, and then we put ourselves at the mercy of the universe, its people, and our instincts. And we have never regretted it. For many, our path is unconventional and perhaps inconceivable. For us, it feels something like home and a lot like love.
We have done some cool stuff since we got married seven years ago. Our upcoming trip to Italy in two weeks has become one of our longest standing traditions. There is something over there that fills us with childlike wonder and a sense of living that we carry home with us and share with our guests year round. There is also some part of us that feels perhaps a little more at home there than anywhere else we have been or lived. This trip marks nine years since we began traveling for your birthday. How many places have you seen on this day? How many meals? How many friends met around the globe? At the same time, not all of the dirt disappears from our shoes when to get on these flights. The questionnaire asks if we have been on farms. I think that goes both ways. We bring dirt each way. We do not overstay our journeys. We left Italy last September, forlorn, and wanting more. Because when we travel; we cannot let our heels slip too deeply into the soil, or we could ultimately lose the wonder of it all.
My photo career has grown at a rate I could have never expected. Seven years ago I owned a travel company and was opening a restaurant. One of those tore me apart, and the other nearly did us both in. Part of this journey was learning when to pluck one another from the monsoon-soaked earth. You are in a place where your expertise and work-ethic grants you the freedom to pull up the stilettos when your heart gets the call. You have given so much of yourself to our relationship and my career. You are fully into the richest days of your adult life, and I am honored you share them so generously, and joyously, with me. You are the brightest light in any day I live on this earth. I love the image of you here, standing on the holy grounds of the mighty Alhambra. Your fixed gaze rife with curiosity and amazement, this shot is the Juliet I get to experience when I tug you from the quagmire, and sit close to you on a train, holding your hand, and loving you more than anything on this earth.
Happy Seventh Anniversary Juliet. Hang on; I am going to give you a pull!
I love you,