The Place Where The Porcupine Was

My husband proposed to me the day before I flew back to Alaska. My first stop was in Juneau where I was attending a week long symposium. The first couple days when the session was over, I went to a local coffee shop and sat on the wooden benches Googling wedding locations and wedding things.

Some people know about weddings and what they want. I did not. I’d never thought about it and the more I learned, the less appealing was the idea of planning and executing a wedding. It was downright overwhelming. We did not have a clue where we would stage a wedding, nor what a wedding would entail. We knew nothing and the process was not fun.

And then my fiance said, “Let’s just have a party with our friends and family to celebrate our marriage.” There was a simplicity and beauty to that that resonated and from that comment was born a vision of something festive and friendly and simple and enjoyable. We decided we wanted a location that would appeal to friends traveling from afar.

Such as Juneau!

Juneau is a gorgeous little place with lush greens and smoky cloudy grays. It has woods and glaciers and water and mountains. The downtown is clustered with great little shops and cozy houses. Everything about the place is entrancing and magical – a great place for family to visit and spend some time.

With that vision in place, my husband and I began exploring. I took photos and emailed them to him . I took video clips and emailed those. I took him (the computer really) downtown to hear live music and nestled him (the laptop) into my elbow and balancing on my forearm to listen and see the band over Skype. It was an exciting time.

After the symposium, my friend and I hopped into our rental car and went driving out of town to explore places recommended by locals. One was a camp site with cabins (too rustic we decided) and the other was a beautiful house on the water, surrounded by grass and trees and accompanied by cabins. It seemed the perfect place in so many ways – rooms in the house for our parents. Cabins for friends. Tent space for others.

We visited the location several times over the course of the next few days, taking more videos to email and just spending time walking around tasting it in our mouths and feeling it in our imaginations. Each time we were in the car exploring the outer edges of Juneau and the possibilities it held, we were in wonderfully high spirits.

It was exhilarating to be on the open road with a new future unfolding in front of us. All was right with the world and on top of that, the world we were visiting was beautiful and filled with great moments – like a porcupine crossing the street. We pulled the car over and I took a photo. I missed the porcupine, but this photo is where it had been.

And it seems to me that much of life is like that – the moments that are so special are so hard to capture, but the memory is easily kept alive through goofy little things like a photo of some leaves.

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