I wonder how marriage has changed me. Its been so long I question if I recall the former-self, whom I may have been. Now its your turn and I wonder the same of you.
Your story of caravaning middle-aged friends motorcycling across western Africa was inspiring because it made me believe that some things... some future travel opportunities with my friend will not disappear; but it also made me sad to stop and consider that those unattained moments could just as easily dissolve into nothingness. I adore my wife and children, but also am kept alive by the infrequent travel jaunts I take with the childhood friend I've known since I was five. With your spring marriage galloping into view, maybe you won't be able to skip away this July to help me scrape and paint my home in Glacier County, as we had once discussed (including allowing enough time to run the gamut of Banff, Yoho and Jasper Parks, north of the border- you have yet to see them and I have been a dozen times already). Perhaps, in a few years, your availability will diminish and I'll have to venture to Denali's interior, alone, if I actually ever find myself rewarded with one of their few early-summer artist residencies. Maybe the secrets of British Columbia's Stikine Valley, my other nearby goal, will only flow from one of the two artists... the travel painter, rather than the travel writer. Then again, I've put-off these last two life-changing journey's longer than my pride can admit... for something as simple as my own perceived family obligations.
I know you will experience great things in marriage. I am one of the fortunate few that can still feel the newness of marriage to my own bride after twelve years. When one finds that they've gotten the crucial detail of a good marriage before them... its like blushing. The sudden rush of warmth in satisfaction. The pang of guilt and pride, knowing your secret perfection is exposed. These are innumerable beauties that a few more days on the road, with me, will never match. I am so glad for you in your new found happiness and I hope it does little to domesticate either one of you. -DN