What Do You Get Someone for a 20th Anniversary?

Titus Andronicus – Richard II

A once-in-a-lifetime question.

The presentation of the question is inescapably declarative. I ask wryly, smugly, earnestly, pleadingly. Is it a blessing or a curse or an achievement? Likely that remark says all that needs to be said.  Can any two people coexist for 20 yrs otherwise? Likely that remark says all that needs to be said.

I’ve tried forcibly to avoid this stage of contemplation, but alas i am a tinkerer. Beckie has no such crises of conscience. Effect and cause and blame and inspiration, sustentation and prostration and rejuvenation, suffocation and deprivation, formation and salvation and remuneration and irradiation. Its no longer explicable when you’re in this deep.

I chose improvisation, I got Beckie this.

and here its ready to ride!

I told G. She swore she wouldn’t tell. She watched me repack the board bag and giggled and assured our secret was safe. But she yaps so loud the Dead can hear. Beckie clued in.  To something, but not the cranium punch of a new deck.  Beckie will take it all, deep. She will whine & complain how new gear should be blessed by the grace of her usage, how taking the time to adapt to it is beneath her busy schedule. But I am blessed that after 20 years we still speak the dialect of gnarness. Sort of. At least she doesn’t mock me when i do. If nothing else remained, I could sustain if there was fun and mountaintops drizzled over the shitpile of routine drabness and childcare.

The snow did not cooperate.


The snowboarding is the donut, the space for conversation is the filling. I spliced out 3 days of powder rush for 60 hours of pink and vermillion in Utah.  The car is not so bad, when you have multiple drivers and coffee and smart phones.  A cat-like recovery!!!

Outside of Lake Powell, we cut off 150 miles of speedtraps for 50 miles of dirt road up a fault line with great views of the Cockscomb.

Hackberry Canyon is located perfectly at 5 hrs into the drive. A narrows hike, in and out of the stream constantly, stunning views, embracing the winter water for  2 hrs.  Maybe next summer we’ll come back and camp with the kids above the flood zone.

Another hour up the road brought us to the Cottonwood Canyon trail, and slot canyon goodness.

We hotelled outside of Bryce NP, up early for Thunder Mountain: 15 miles, 2 hrs moving, mebbe 2k vf. An intermediate trail with amazing views.

A quick stop at the hotel, then into Bryce for a few hours of hiking.


Sunday morning we turned back down Cottonwood Canyon road, to the Wahweap Hoodoos. Great location just off Highway 89 outside of Page.  About 10 mile round trip through a dry riverbed, would make for a fantastic fatbike ride!

At 54 hours away from home, we stolidly turned back to the truck, and motored south. In the driveway the magic sluiced off and the duty snarled in. I love my kids. Sometime Beckie and I go days and neither of us shares a kind word with the other. Our love is there, but so very much harder to share. After 20 years, all that’s come out of you has reflected back in. Nobody’s fault but your own.

Last trip to Rocky Point Kila disappeared. She went out to piddle, then 15 min later, *poof*. All day I spent riding and running and driving around for her. After 4 hours of searching I stalked a pack of feral dogs into the estuary, and was somewhat disappointed to see they had no  blood on their lips. I returned to more fruitless hunting and miscalculations for another 4 hours.  Old dogs don’t run off; they get trapped in garages looking for leftovers, and suffocate. Time mattered. At 2pm I envisioned Kila clawing at a wall while I faltered. At 4pm I acknowledged she was dying of thirst and I would never see her again. At 6pm I admitted I’d failed her, and told the kids. At 8pm she trotted in through the garage and drank the toilet dry.

A ghost.

How would this compare to Beckie vanishing off the planet, smacked into eternity by a wayward suv? It would hurt so badly.  Deferring to children’s needs, i don’t think i’d recognize it until I finally stumbled, and crashed into the bedrock.  As I finish this post, she’s been on work travel for a week, and the last 20 hours of kids and work has been a fog for me. It wouldn’t take long til i surrendered, but didn’t quit. I’d drink myself to death over 10 years, long enough to see the girls off to college, until I finally, mercifully, died wondering where my best friend went.


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