When I first moved here I was so happy to be in this place of sunshine, of citrus, of ocean bluffs and electric lizards and silken poppies. And I would go out and I would climb among the rocks, and let the cold saltwater splash around my ankles, and drink coffee by myself at cafes with Spanish tiles. And I would close my eyes to the brilliant sun, still feeling the heat on my bare shoulders, and I would think, “I wish you were here.”
The truth is I’m no great explorer without you. My heart isn’t in it. I snap pictures, I drive miles and miles to see all these wonderful places so new to me. I drink wine by a waterfall in the setting sun and my heart swells with joy and gratitude, but… but only so much. It only gets halfway before I think, “I wish you were here.”
And now you are. You hold my hand, my shoes, my camera, help me balance while I climb from rock to rock. You snap pictures of me when you think I am not looking, you hang back, cautious, while I run into the water, you help pick a restaurant, and I think, “I’m so glad you are here.” I’m so glad to finally get to explore this place with you, and it makes me think of all the other places we will explore together one day.
We’ll rent a small cottage in the English countryside. It’s a bit drafty, but we drink lots of tea and wear thick woolen sweaters. I teach you how to ride a horse properly, and much hilarity ensues. It’s springtime, and it almost never stops raining, but we don’t mind. We slip on our big wellies and jump in the puddles. One day, early in the morning, the sun finally comes out just for a moment and I wake you up for a walk in the fragrant lavender.
In Egypt we race our camels across the great sand sea, I win because you can’t control yours. It stops every few feet to yodel and stamp, and I fly past laughing while you turn red in the face. We visit the pyramids and conclude that they are clearly the work of aliens.
In Greece we drink wine all day long at teeny patio tables outside a pocket-sized restaurant overlooking the water. By afternoon I’m drunk on the wine, the sun, and the blue, blue, blue of the sea. The sunset turns the pristine white houses the same burnished gold red of my flushed cheeks. You and I wend our way through the twisting, turning streets, ducking through archways and stumbling a bit as we go, trying to find the little inn where we rented a room. You put your hand on the small of my back and I trust your impeccable sense of direction; you’ll get us home.
We’ll pitch our tent a thousand places, by mountains and rivers and lakes. We always bring two chairs, but I sit in your lap by the fire. One day when the lake is still and silent, when we are all alone, we push out in our slim red canoe, our paddles dipping into the water again and again with barely a sound. We brought a book and a couple beers. We lay down our paddles and sip cold Hefeweizen while I read to you from Where the Red Fern Grows. The night skies are too beautiful to bear sleeping inside, so we lay ourselves down on the ground beneath the stars. As you’re falling asleep I whisper “are you sure about the bears?” You just pull me closer.
We’ll go to New Zealand, where we do nothing but hike. We take lots of pictures for your jealous brother back home. I won’t stop doing my Golem impression, which drives you a bit mad and we have a tiny, pouty spat until we get to the top of the mountain and there’s just no reason to fight anymore.
At Christmastime we visit all the Nordic countries, and I have never been so glad to see snow. Each city is lit up like a fairytale, so pretty I don’t even mind the cold. We huddle together as we wander the streets, drinking hot beverages and window shopping for strange Scandinavian trinkets. I wear earmuffs and my white coat, my cheeks so rosy in the nippy air I stop putting on blush in the morning. We giggle like dumb Americans at the wonderful goofiness of the language, and neither one of us can stop saying the word “fjord” over and over again in increasingly ridiculous accents. In Iceland I try shark, and one night we wander out and out and out into the lonesome landscape until it’s just the two of us, and then the Aurora Borealis, that lovely bottle green serpentine curtain, comes whirling through the sky and we are so grateful to live on this Earth.
One Fall we’ll drive up the coast of California, visiting friends and picking poppies along the way. We finally stop in Santa Cruz to see The Archive, and we are like children in a candy store. We make bad time because we keep pulling over to take pictures of the view. You’re always turning your lens on me, especially when I don’t want you to. When we look back at the photos later, I’m rolling my eyes in every shot.
For my birthday one year I finally convince you to go to Asia. I buy deep fried bugs from street vendors in China, but you refuse to try them no matter how many times I offer you a bite. We visit temples, and ruins, trek through the jungles of Vietnam and fight our way through the crowded, rainbow-hued streets of India. We end the trip at a bungalow on the most perfect beach in Thailand. The minute we arrive I drop my things in the house and make for the water. You follow behind, slower, tentative, watching for urchins and other crawlies as you wade into the water. I splash ahead, in my head I am a mermaid, a dolphin. I’m making a fool of myself because I can’t even swim that well, I just freaking love the water. I dive for the bottom and come up so fast my head spins. You finally catch up; our kiss is cold and tastes of brine and sunscreen. It is delicious.
Or we could stay home. Drink coffee at my kitchen table early in the morning. I read a book with my feet in your lap, you fiddle with your computer. Every once in awhile we glance at each other and smile.
That’s all I’ve got for you fine folks this week, no Friday post to come today. Enjoy your weekend! All photos are linked to their sources, most of which I found via The World We Live In. Check out more travel dreams and inspiration on my pinterest.