Last Saturday my husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary, not with a big trip or fancy dinner, but doing one of the things that brought us together–spending time outdoors. We’ve talked about visiting Hitchcock Woods for years, never managing to find the time despite it being so close. My husband has fond memories from when he was young of exploring these gorgeous, expansive woods, his imagination running wild. He said they were a lot like he remembered–the same, but different, much like ourselves. Sleepy, quiet, majestic and magical, as if any moment a woodland creature or fairy might pop out and say hello. It was bittersweet to imagine my husband there as a boy.
In a way this outing felt like a new beginning, one that I won’t hesitate to let grow and flourish. My tendency to do the opposite, to despair in the grief and limitations of our lives, has become a kind of crutch itself. I always talk of how meaningful it’s been when people meet us where we’re at, but I never consider that I haven’t been willing to do that for myself.
This trip, these small steps towards allowing ourselves to see meaning and grace where we previously saw none, allowing ourselves the option of being better people, with, without, and for each other, that is what 11 years is all about. Enjoying the beauty the woods had to offer, not scheming to alter or improve, but allowing it to be, letting it fill us up. It’s a kind of restorative magic that I hope we experience more of, always together, always learning to love more fully.
We’re different than we were 11 years ago–we look different, our priorities are different, our schedules and preferences, our ideals and understanding of the world–but on this day it felt as though nothing had changed, just exploring, a simple picnic, wandering and wondering, getting to know each other more. It’s strange to think that even after 11 years, we have more to learn from each other and about one another. It’s exciting and humbling.