All Points North

On July 9th, Ben and I headed North to Fairbanks for Blaine and Katie's wedding. We took a week to drive nearly 1,600 miles to not only attend one of the best weddings I've been to, but also to take in the Interior and drive back via the Richardson and Denali highways.

We stopped at Tern Lake to make lunch sandwiches on the way from Homer on Day 1. That night we camped on the banks of the Susitna River, just below the Parks Hwy bridge, north of Talkeetna.
I only took 2 pictures at the wedding. It was so much more fun to be sitting there and participating and taking it in than trying to record it all... Katie and Blaine both looked beautiful, and the par-tay afterwards at the Mushers Hall was a damn good time.
I was honored to be asked by Katie & Blaine to start off the wedding ceremony with a reading, The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

I was surprised by how nervous I was after I began - apparently you couldn't hear my voice shaking, but I was so overwhelmed by what I was saying, the people before me, the marriage of these two who I love so dearly....I could feel my voice and my hands and my throat and legs all shaking.

Some photos from our trip home, along the Denali Highway...and then stopping in Houston to buy Charlie $50 worth of "pretty fireworks". It was fairly priceless to watch Ben ask the fireworks selling girl which ones were "the pretty ones".

Lots of time was spent assessing the landscape and the Gazetteer...heaps of great trips abound! So exciting, in fact, that I went and bought myself an Alpaca Packraft when we got home...