This past weekend Tiffany and I exchanged rings
On a bridge
In the redwoods.
It's pretty romantic.
But let me give you a little background story so that you can appreciate it even more.
In August of last year, Tiffany and I left for a 10 day road trip through California. We hadn't known each other super long at that point, but we were already good friends. She was easy to be around; easy to talk to. I liked that I had found someone who played the way I did, someone that I could be excited about life with.
We spent 4 days meandering our way up through beautiful forests, around breathtaking lakes, and through little towns. On the 5th day we made it to the coast. And the trees.
Any of you who know me well know that I love trees. But love seems too small a word. I feel connected to trees. Nothing is more spiritual, in my mind, than a tree. A tree understands the seasons. It sees the changes in the weather, in humanity, in the landscape, and in itself, all while remaining steadily grounded. But there was a depth in those redwoods that I had never felt before, those giants who had been around for thousands of years. There is a sacredness in those woods for which there are no words.
The next 3 days of that trip were full of so much beauty, inside and out. I was being torn open by those trees, expanding and widening my sense of self. And experiencing that with Tiffany only intensified the beauty.
On our last day in the redwoods we visited Stout Grove, a section of forest filled with the most beautiful trees I had ever seen. It was there, in that grove, that I opened myself to love. While walking alone among those silent giants, I felt them whispering that it was okay. It was okay to open myself to another person, to let her into my heart. I had spent the last 2 years on an intense journey of self-discovery, learning to see both the world and myself in new ways, but now the trees were telling me it was okay to let someone else come along for the ride. It was in that grove that I realized I had been falling in love with her, and falling hard. That is where everything shifted for me.
Last week, one year after that trip, we returned to Stout Grove and exchanged rings there on a special bridge (I'm sure Tif will tell you more about that). It has been one hell of a year, full of lots of learning, lots of fun, and lots of love. Adding another person to your story pushes your own self-discovery to a whole new level. In the past year I have felt every possible emotion and have discovered things about myself, and about her, that are both beautiful and scary. The unknown is always a little scary. But it has been a breathtaking journey that I wouldn't trade for anything.
I have more to say about rings and what I like (and don't like) about them, but I think I'll save that for another post.
My ring has the imprint of a leaf on it, to remind me that seasons change, and I will too, but that if I am rooted in love, anything is possible, including falling in love with the most beautiful soul on earth. Inside the ring are inscribed the words "being here is so much," which is a quote from my favorite poem, The Ninth Elegy by Rainer Maria Rilke (you can read the whole thing here).
"...being here is so much, and everything
seems to need us in this fleeting world, and
strangely speaks to us. Us, the most fleeting. Once
for everything, only once. Once and no more. And we, too,
only once. Never again. But to have been here,
this once, if only this once:
to have been of the earth seems irrevocable."