Arizona · USA
Three years ago you and I exchanged vows beneath a homemade chuppah of birch poles graced with garland and an embroidered lace canopy. You stood there, resplendent in your wedding dress, and I almost guffawed in hysterical incredulity that this sublime beauty, this amazing soul would soon be called my wife. I somehow held it in check, though, not so much out of concern for decorum but out of fear that it might rouse me from this improbable reverie. Three times I circled you as you stood, and three times you around me before we turned once together, hand in hand, in the modern tradition. I looked you in the eye then, and instead of dissolving into thin air like I was more than half-expecting you to, you looked back, and it was only at that moment that I allowed myself to let go of the notion that this was all a figment of an overactive and unreasonably ambitious imagination. You were real. We were real.
In the days since, I’ve lived under a self-imposed proviso to love and honor you in a manner befitting your worthiness, lest you second-guess that walk down the aisle that brought you before me 1,095 days ago. Given the kindness of your heart, the depths of your generosity, and the warmth of your nurturing spirit, I can’t help but feel doomed to forever fall short of the impossible task. But despite it all the tenor of your devotion to me has been unwavering, however undeserving I may be. Know that the privilege of laying head to pillow beside you each night is one I’ll forever hold sacred, until my dying breath.
It makes sense, then, that I felt so extraordinarily at peace here on this day walking with you amidst the tall pillars of a highland forest, where graceful aspen boles reached deliriously high into the sky, their golden leaves chattering musically in the wind, their shared root system intertwined beneath the earth's surface, binding them together as one despite their outward appearance. And so it is that by the simple virtue of who you are and your unfailing presence in my life, you give me the space to grow as a person and the courage to dream to the boundaries of my ambitions, all the while keeping me grounded in the foundation of family and hearth that paved my fortuitous path to you.
Let me be clear then in this assurance to you: that no matter how high into the sky I may reach, I’ll always have one hand free to take up yours, just as I did three years ago today.
Happy Anniversary, Ashley. I love you.