I took these photographs at my friend Heather and her new husband Mike's spectacular wedding in Boone, NC. Despite a rainy weekend and some other set-backs (the guests ate their wedding cheesecake before they could cut it!), it was such a special time. The whole day felt full-on North Carolina. The woodsy cabins, live bluegrass, mismatched China, and buffalo steak felt so representative of the couple's laid back style. I've known heather for years, but it was my first time meeting Mike. However, right away I felt that truly special love between them. It inspired me and continues to as I write this.
It's funny because I met heather as I was leaving the peace corps. She is a good friend my PCV friend Amanda and decided to join us for our last hurrah trip through the Peruvian jungle. I didn't know Heather very well when I boarded a amazon cargo boat and hung up my hammock next to hers. However, after five days on this boat, baking under the Amazon sun and coming up with every trick we knew to keep from going insane, I swore I had known her for years. She is a good lady who can handle life and I'm happy to know her.
It feels full circle that I photograph her wedding just as I am leaving for another trip through the Amazon. I'll probably avoid the jungle boat travel this time, but I will spend 10 days in the central Amazon at a retreat. I'll be studying with a great shaman, far from electronic life and deep within myself. I've been preparing my body and mind for six weeks now, keeping a diet that doesn't allow a lot of the things I like to eat and taking a good, long look at where I am in life. The answers that keep coming to me are that 1) life is ridiculously good and 2) there is still so much more to learn. so I'm packing light, trying to keep expectations at bay, and opening my arms to a new adventure.
I'll also be visiting the town where I did peace corps, kissing my godson a lot, eating many potatoes, watching the sunset over the mountains, traveling with another good RPDV friend, Laura, walking along the Malecon in Lima, riding buses, speaking mediocre Spanish, taking quite a few photographs (Peru is my favorite subject) and most likely finding myself in some hilarious situations.
Since my first time traveling there seven years ago, I know that Peru is deeply important to my life. It's a country that has opened up my eyes and shown me who I really am. It's the natural beauty and the humanity of the people and culture of mysticism and something else that I can't quite name. This is my sixth time going back and I don't think I'm ever going to be done. Each time I go I am visiting a part of myself that is vital, powerful and needs attention. I feel it upon landing in the airport, the humidity, the impatient foot tapping and the voice that goes, "oh there you are..."
So I'm ridiculously excited to go and also a little sad to leave Adam and my students and this nice, comfortable life I have here. I feel nothing but support from everyone in going on this trip and that makes the voyage from here to there so much easier. It's good to go and it'll be good to come back and share how to love it all even more. I hope to post here after the retreat and in the meantime, I'll be thinking about you.