CCompared to most couples, Tree and I spend a lot of time together, basically all of our time together, so we weren’t too concerned about spending 16 days alone on a raft, floating down the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon.  The truth is, Tree’s the best company I’ve ever kept.  We never run out of things to talk about, and yet we don’t mind just being quiet either.
On this trip, I discovered a new way for us to pass the time beyond conversation and silence.  We read together! I was a literature major in school and am still an avid reader today. I’m always telling Tree to read one book or another because I want to discuss it with him, but he never has the time. Well, on the raft, he was my captive audience, and we had plenty of time.  We read two books, Sophie’s World which is a young adult novel about the history of philosophy,  and, for fun, Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris. (I figured I’d go easy on him to start). 
Even though the Sedaris book was a welcomed distraction around noon when the 115-degree sun was rendering our brains stupid, it was the philosophy book that truly fit the mindset of the Canyon. Insulated from the barrage of information we normally receive via civilization and surrounded by layers of limestone, schist, and granite billions of years old, it’s hard not to start thinking from a broader perspective.  As my concept of time slipped out from underneath me, I caught myself wondering where this world comes from and whether there is any will or meaning behind what happens in it.  Visiting the Indian ruins, I wondered how they constructed their society. What did they value? When they were warm and had food in their bellies, what did they long for?  It’s so hard to imagine really.  Did they wonder how to sustain a lifelong connection with their mate, or what field of study or occupation would best serve their soul? God knows I do.
One particular thought that was haunting me was the idea of change. Heraclitus says it best: “One cannot step into the same river twice” because everything is in a constant state of flux. It was bothering me because I’m madly in love, happier than I’ve ever been, and I don’t want that to change.  The reduction of course is, if we stay the same, we’ll always be happy.  Yet, the water is moving, whether at glacier or rapid speed, and so are we. There is no staying the same. 
So the solution is to grow together, right? Except, what exactly does that mean? We talk, I read to him, what more can I do to insure that no one gets ahead or falls behind here? We’re not Siamese twins; we’re two unique people with our own egos to overcome. Another terrifying aspect of all this is that it’s impossible to know like you know a fact something that is always changing.  There will always be the X factor, the wild card that can trump your aces. So when you say, I know so-and-so, he or she’d never do that- how can you really know? Unable to stop change and unable to completely know who someone is (including ourselves) because we’re always becoming– all we can hope for is understanding along the way.  We can have compassion for ourselves and for one another. We can allow each other to flow. 
When I look back on the past 5 years, it’s crazy to think how much Tree and I have grown- separately and in our relationship.  Neither of us was quite ready for the kind of partnership- the kind of intimacy- that we longed for when we met. We had to have many awakenings, and sometimes the process was painful, but we always created space for the other’s expansion. And then I realized, that’s the magic; by allowing change, love stays a constant. Or maybe another way of saying it is that love is the space between two people that encourages them to grow.
So, the point is, we’re madly in love, we’re happy, we’re engaged, and judging from my calculations above, we’re expanding exponentially in love.
Tomorrow we’re off to Smith Rocks with Cheryll to pay tribute to her husband, Tree’s great friend, Jim Anglin, who passed away in a climbing accident a couple of years ago. Then we’re back on the road to complete our wine tasting tour- STEVIE

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  1. angela Polito says:

    What a gift you have Stevie. I love to read your posts! You see into the heart of your experiences, and share what you learn so generously! So beautifully. You are a GREAT writer.

  2. Amazing. This post brought me to tears. You are an incredible writer Stevie, and the way you describe your and Tree's journey (the brief snipet of it) is beautiful and INSPIRING!

  3. Stevie~ beautifully written … you both at the beginning of your life's journey and discovery together…

  4. Alexis Schulman says:

    I agree, that's why even the best relationships require "work" the trick is when you're in the right relationship it's not "work"; it's just fun. You can only know someone as well as they know themselves and how much they are willing to share. So when you discover something new about yourself sharing it! 🙂 love you both.

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