Greg and I are in Utah. He is here for work meetings, and I tagged along. We are staying in snow country for the first few days, and will descend to sunshine and 80 degrees by the weekend. I brought gortex and hiking boots, shorts and flip flops. Greg needed the car today, so I went for a long walk…and then I slept all afternoon. We are staying at a ski resort. It is beautiful, but too warm for good snow. Strangely, I feel no compulsion to ski. Perhaps it is the crappy snow. Perhaps it is being suddenly thrust into 9000 ft of elevation with its corresponding fatigue. Perhaps, gasp, I am getting older. Perhaps I am just plain tired. Perhaps I just want my partner by my side as I explore new places, sights and smells. Whatever it is, it feels good to be gentle with myself for a day.
Now that the Moscow house has sold, I finally feel free to dream about the new abode. Waking up every morning to the sound of thrushes, outside chores that involve my body and my mind, coyotes singing every afternoon as the sun descends beyond the ridge, and waking up in the night to true darkness rather than mistaking a street light filtered through the curtains for the moon. On the plane to Utah, Greg and I worked on lists. List of things that we dream of for the place. Lists of those things the contractors need to do, those we will do together, and those that we alone need to take care of. Lists of what needs to be done this summer before the wedding, what can happen late summer, and what can be put off for another year. As we were driving from the airport yesterday, Greg’s coworker asked about our plans for a honeymoon. It wasn’t on either one of our lists.
As a kid, I got sucked into what the media said love should look like. Fall in love. Get married. Go on a honeymoon to some exotic local, preferably with sugar sand beaches and drinks with umbrellas. After the honeymoon, settle back into a cute house, have a few kids and live happily ever after. It was a nice dream, and remained largely intact, tempered only by the addition of getting through college and getting a real job first. Then the guy I had fallen in love with, the guy I was engaged to, the guy I had made plans with for that honeymoon and that cute house somewhere out west, abruptly dumped me. Whoa, I had to revise my dream.
Then I met Jim. I did fall in love. We did get married, and we joked that we had a mortgage, a station wagon, a dog, the two kids, and would grow old bizarrely together. We worked our way out of debt, replaced the station wagon with a truck, buried one dog and adopted another, and fed those 2 kids until they were all grown up. We learned that happily ever after meant a lot of hard work, and I learned that illness and death can bring a pretty abrupt end to the dream of growing old together. By the time we met, I knew that I would go stir crazy lying on a beach, and that sugary drinks gave me an instant head ache. I had moved West, and that meant family and friends were traveling from all over the country for our wedding. We did not want to say good bye to all of them after just one afternoon, so we took 13 of them down the Rogue River on a 4 day float trip. We rowed and cooked food. Our good friend Mikey staked out the honeymoon suite at every camp. We drank beer instead of Mai Tais, and some of the beach camps had sand.
It is different to fall in love after 50. Different to be with someone that does not share my history. Different to be widowed, and have a partner who grew up with another woman. I understand that happiness takes work, and I welcome that. I hope to grow old with Greg, but I know, acutely, that there are no guarantees. Folks will be traveling from all over the country for our wedding. We will not want to see them for just an afternoon and then say good bye. After a year of building and bleeding money in that process, I feel no need for a trip to an exotic locale, and anything more than a single beer or a glass of wine just results in night waking and hot flashes. Since the first of this year, I have been spending all of my spare time readying the Moscow house for sale, and Greg has taken on the lion’s share of decisions for the new place. If we are lucky, we see each other early in the morning, and have dinner together long after dark. To me, having just one place, and sharing that place with our loved ones is all the honeymoon I need.
Greg is on his way back to the resort from his day long meetings. He has dinner tonight with the guys, where the talk will be all shop. He has advised, and I have concurred, that it would be best that I not join them. I’ll grab a salad and a single glass of wine and head to bed early. Tomorrow, the guys all leave and we have a few days off to explore and be together during waking hours. Having him by my side as we hike, drive, eat, and sleep is all the honeymoon I need.