Friday, February 16, 2007

Take a hike

There are few places in the world I would rather be than Fontana Dam at Smoky Mountain National Park. That area of the park has always been a favorite of mine for its subtle beauty.

The ultimate test of falling in love for me was the great outdoors. In reality if Melissa had hated being outside, the blindness of love would've gotten me through. One long day proved she was a keeper.

I didn't know then that Melissa is prone to car sickness. I can only imagine how she must've felt after a 2 1/2 hour drive through the craziest roads I know of in the south. It's a beautiful journey from Toccoa to Fontana but it is not straight at all. It didn't seem to matter to her, she kept pressing on.

There was definitely some early tension, awkward quietness and vague questions that come with trying to get a feel for the day and how it might go. Nate and Andrea were with us and helped keep the conversation moving. Still, I have to think that Melissa and I were both pretty nervous. My taking her hiking was a big step in my mind and I think that showed.

I was head over heels for her already. After the evening at the coffee shop I was hers even with the Michael Jackson character flaw. When she readily agreed to come on a walk in the woods with me I was stoked.

Shortly after we started hiking it was pretty clear we weren't going to make the final destination. We took a detour, ended up having dinner along the trail and walking back in the dark. Watching Melissa take everything in, looking around, enjoying not only the beauty around us but the times of silence, the pace, and the great freeze dried pasta was surreal. I remember looking at her in those moments and seeing someone that was so much more than she tried to let on. She was a thinker for sure and she asked questions, good, hard, confusing, fun questions.

We came back down, readying ourselves for the smelly drive home (I hike, I sweat, I smell, it's inevitable) and paused to star gaze at the dam. I'm not sure how long we looked up; it felt like Hiro Nakamura had stopped time for us :) and gave us the chance to let down and talk. Who knows what all we talked about, that detail hasn't stuck with me. What stays with me is that we were together. There was a moment that night where it finally occurred to me that we would be walking the same path together for a long time.

She's proven time and again to be the toughest hiker I know, able to go one more step no matter what. That particular Saturday wasn't about the hiking, that day was about us, together. It was that day that I looked into her eyes and knew I could spend the rest of my life with her.

We've been climbing ever since.

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Blogger Sara said...

Okay. That was the most beautiful thing I have read in a long time. :-)

10:21 AM  
Blogger Sarah LuAnne Anderson said...

ditto =)

1:41 AM  

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