When John and I were separated by thousands of kilometers before he made the move to Canada we used to send each other video postcards. One evening when driving back to the city from his parents’ house he put his camera on the dashboard of his car and spoke to me while cruising through the rolling countryside. In the background was Couches in Alleys by Styrofoam featuring Ben Gibbard [YouTube] and when John finished his message he turned the camera out, facing the road, and captured a fiery amber sunset falling gracefully from the sky as though slowly and peacefully embracing the earth.
Since then, I’ve enjoyed being able to travel and explore highways across this continent with him. Driving home from Osoyoos along the Crowsnest the other weekend I had tears come to my eyes several times. We were carefree, meandering along a well-traveled highway nestled between mountain ranges and valleys while the tunes on the radio made us both sing along whenever we felt like joining the chorus. There are few places on this planet that make me wish I could freeze time and soak in their majesty, and for some reason my thoughts always come back to Iowa.
I had never been to the Midwest before I met John and during our whirlwind tour for Thanksgiving last year, passing the signs for the famous covered bridges of Madison County and the birthplace of John Wayne, the beauty of the landscape won me over yet again.
I have a sneaking suspicion that these warm feelings, thoughts and memories are not so much about the locations themselves, but the people I was with – in particular, the person who shared these travels with me. I’ve been very lucky in my life to experience such places and to have met people whose hospitality and generosity can only be shadowed by the goodness of their hearts.
If there is one place that I could remain for the rest of my life, however, that would be in the arms of my husband, who is celebrating his 30th birthday today. “He’s not North, my South, my East and West,” and I look forward to exploring the ends of the earth with someone so full of life and spirit that it humbles me each morning when I get to be held in his arms.
The title of this post is from a Ben Folds song