A friend from Ben’s college dorm got married a couple weeks ago. They sent us a “save the date” (STD! Guffaw!) almost two years ago, but of course we neglected to RSVP or make any plans until a few weeks before the event. Adults, we are.
They planned a laid-back, outdoorsy, casual “destination wedding” at Glacier National Park. Turns out that’s in Montana! Who knew?
After a grueling weekend spent researching flight costs to the tiny local airports, we (literally) said “f*ck it” and decided to embark on a road trip. Two days and twenty hours of driving later, we were in foresty paradise.
We gathered with a big bunch of Ben’s college dorm friends. At his school, the dorm you live in matters. A lot. It becomes your social circle, requiring intense loyalty. There’s even a personality quiz as part of the school application that’s used for dorm placement. Basically this is Hogwarts for genius nerds.
Ben was placed in a dorm that’s known for its debauchery. Crazy parties, too much drinking, lots of nudity, giant explosions, everything constantly on fire. Putting all the rebellious nerds together makes for some dangerously entertaining “science experiments,” it turns out. I’ll just end the description by noting that Ben and some dormmates were once arrested. All charges have since been dropped. (Thank God).
Suffice to say I’d always felt a tad intimidated by the group. They’re all so smart! And so intense! And I’m just the girlfriend from the artsy school across the street! Majoring in philosophy like a total idiot! The comfort grew over time, of course, but this trip felt like a significant turning point for me: the whole week of camping was easy and fun. And still involved a lot of fire and whiskey.
We kayaked across a melted-glacier lake. We woke up to the sunrise and tweeting birds. We played cards at a picnic table beneath monstrous pines. We accidentally stumbled upon a family of deer. We drove through delicately winding roads to find a waterfall. We read books instead of blogs. We saw a baby bear cub swim across a delta. We cooked over open flames. We had no connection to cell service or internet.
And the wedding! The wedding. THE WEDDING.
It was a Quaker wedding – a service I have long been curious to attend. This means there’s no officiant, as the couple just stands up and marries themselves. Guests spend time in silence to reflect on the divinity existing within each of us and our surrounding environment. Anyone in attendance can get up and speak at any time. It ends with everyone holding hands. And there was a cocktail hour beforehand, so we all had a lovely boozey glow as we basked in love and commitment and unity and joy and peace and beer and wine.
After driving throughout LA constantly for work this summer, I was worried that a road trip would feel like the WORST POSSIBLE IDEA EVER the day after my job finished. It ended up being the best. You know which freeways are the worst ever freeways? The ones in downtown Los Angeles. You know which ones are the best? The ones with 85 mile per hour speed limits, huge mountainous gorges on either side, giant fluffy clouds floating overhead, and adorable farm animals chillin’ in the grass.
I tend to be a go-go-go kind of person. Even my version of “rest” is fairly achievement-oriented: a friend once gawked at the fact that I make lists of relaxing things to do (“paint nails,” “bake cookies,” “read book,” “take walk,”) to happily follow when I’m taking a “day off” (check! check! check! check!). This trip was different. I essentially trapped myself in a car with my husband for over forty hours, surrounded by incredible views. Then I trapped myself in the forest with no access to the outside world for four days. And, given that forced time and space, my soul had room to breathe.
Hi! I'm Emily. This is my blog.
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