It’s the evening before our wedding and the start of our marriage.
The normal thing the day before, apparently, is to be nervous or anxious but I’m not. I’ve got a still cool and inner excitement instead.
This canyon holds so many memories for me. My family and I have made so many trips up here over the years. I can tell a story or share a fact about most of the 17 miles of road from the mouth of the canyon to the glacier-cut bowl at the top. I know every curve of the road, every stretch of hills, and every turnout. We have been up here so many hundreds of times that I bet we border the 1000 number.
Tomorrow the ceremony will be at Silver Lake. I know this lake even better. Every part of the 1 mile trail and boardwalk holds a story of when this or that happened. Over there is where the boys scaled the rock wall. That sign over there is where Dakota slipped and cut his head just above the eyebrow. We’ve seen moose here, and here, and over there. The best place to spot the fish is on the bridge or the overlook on the other side of the lake. I can go on and on. The memories come on so thick sometimes they crowd out the mosquitoes.
Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes I wonder why I keep coming up here. The memories attempt to mock the fact that there will be no new ones made.
But isn’t that the fact with all memories? Their entire existence is based in the past. My nest simply emptied earlier than expected and much earlier that I would have ever wanted. That’s what hurts.
Tomorrow I will start a new era of my life. A woman I love and who loves me is about to become a permanent part of it. Instead of leaving my favorite place in the world in the past with its memories, I’ve decided to continue to create new ones. Tomorrow will be a huge addition.
There will be no sadness as I gaze on the familiar rocks and trees and see the reflection of my young children. My walk around the lake with my new bride will be but another set of footprints added to the thousands I have left before and but a small example of what I hope to leave in the future.
The cool calm and the inner excitement is what I call happiness, and I seem to have plenty of that nowadays.