July in film

As summer in the northern hemisphere reached a crescendo, I boarded a plane in Nairobi late one night and crossed half the globe on my way back home to Oklahoma. My work as a photographer in eastern Africa had come to an end for the time being, and I was ready to be back stateside and celebrate summer. Once I recovered from jetlag, I kept up my track record of not staying in a place more than a week, and six days later was already back in Colorado with my lover. It was a relief to be back with him, after two months and eight thousand miles apart.

A few days later, Jacob took me on a hike to Ice Lake near Silverton. He told me it'd be a grueling trek, but worth it. "The wildflowers are supposed to be nuts!" he told me, and then said he hoped I still loved him by the end of it. It was a good thing I did, because once we reached the summit of the hike, he got down on one knee, held out a sparkly diamond ring, and asked me to marry him. All I remember after that are smiles and kisses, and the surprise bottle of champagne that he'd hidden in his backpack. 

Two days later, we drove across the entire state of New Mexico on the way to south Texas for Jacob's family reunion. Jacob's parents and sister stayed up until midnight to welcome us, and we all hugged each other tight. In the darkness of that night, everything seemed so surreal and impossibly wonderful. My left hand remained bare until we had time to get the ring resized, and I had to keep reminding myself that I hadn't imagined the events of two days ago. 

At the river, we spent the entire week outside and I gained the most ridiculous tan lines as I was schooled in proper Texas summer etiquette (including, but not limited to, no makeup, constant eating, and tubing down the river). I felt so grateful to be marrying a man and subsequently gaining a family with such sweet and beautiful traditions. Jacob's parents threw us a surprise engagement party one night and it caught us off guard in the best way. We'd forgotten that things like this happen to people after they get engaged. 

Back in Colorado, the gentle slope of the mesas and the wide open pastures already feel like home, and I have that curious sense that perhaps home is something we can create, just like love. A choice. It’s sobering, being betrothed to a man and feeling so sure and at peace about your decision, but also having the normal, human thoughts of, am I sure? is this “it?" it almost seems too easy. A few weeks ago, my dad put down the deposit on our wedding venue, making everything all the more real. Until we marry this winter, I remain in a kind of transitional limbo, but this man I am marrying, he is so good and kind and I know I will not regret choosing to love him every day. 

So I guess that's how it happens. Four years ago I met a boy, he moved away as I developed a crush, I lived my life in between, and now--surprise surprise--that boy that I thought was so out of my league is going to be my husband. Here are some film shots* from the month when it all happened.

* all images shot on a pentax k1000

 The aquamarine waters of Ice Lake

The aquamarine waters of Ice Lake

 Jacob pointing to the rock where he proposed

Jacob pointing to the rock where he proposed

 The view hiking up to Ice Lake

The view hiking up to Ice Lake

 Gas station scenes in New Mexico

Gas station scenes in New Mexico

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 Evening light at the Frio River

Evening light at the Frio River

 Four year old Morgan passed out after a long day of tubing

Four year old Morgan passed out after a long day of tubing

 My lover cookin' something unseen

My lover cookin' something unseen

 Gretta pouring champagne into hand-embellished plastic cups

Gretta pouring champagne into hand-embellished plastic cups

 JP demonstrating his rock skipping skills

JP demonstrating his rock skipping skills

 Cousin love

Cousin love

 She has the right idea

She has the right idea

 Jacob, master breakfast maker

Jacob, master breakfast maker

 Gretta soaking up the evening light on the banks of the Frio

Gretta soaking up the evening light on the banks of the Frio

 Intense Catan battles

Intense Catan battles

 The owner of the campground, Greg, who's lived his whole life in the Texas hill country 

The owner of the campground, Greg, who's lived his whole life in the Texas hill country 

 Jacob and Morgan in the river

Jacob and Morgan in the river