Petting the whale

Mary Stewart

So, Jim and I got married! No more planning, decisions or dreaming of the perfect day.
I can honestly say that we were both so incredibly happy with our day, smiles were plastered on our faces for a few days after.
We took a week and traveled this state we call home. It was extra special because most of the places we went Jim had never been so, I got to see the sights through his eyes as well.
We had the first part of the trip planned out and the last few days were spur of the moment plans, which worked really well.
I learned an important lesson on the honeymoon too. I learned how to pet the whale.
Let me back up here.
There was a tour boat full of people up in Alaska. Tourists from all over were excited to see the sights on the Alaskan waters. Everyone was busy looking through their cameras or phones.
Everyone except one person.
While everyone was facing one way, looking at life through a viewfinder, this last person was able to notice the whale getting closer to the boat.
This person was the only one on the boat that wasn’t going through this once in a lifetime experience through a camera lens.
This guy had a true experience. While others were adjusting focus and snapping photos, this guy decided that he was going to pet the whale.
We are so consumed with capturing the perfect shot and thinking of ways to get the most views on social media, that we have forgotten to live life.
We were up in Yellowstone for a few days and while Jim and I love taking photos (him much more than me) we were also reminded to pet the whale.
We had no cell service or internet for those days. At first, it wasn’t by choice, but after a day we let our phones die and didn’t give them another thought. We experienced our honeymoon, truly lived it.
Sure we took lots of photos, I think Jim’s last count was around 3,500, we also had moments of petting the whale.
Driving through the park, if you see a few cars pulled over, you can pretty much guess that there is something out there to see. Sometimes we’d stop and take the photos, but often I’d hear Jim say, “I’m petting the whale, babe.”
Leading up to our trip, I’d occasionally ask if we could take the dogs, or suggested meeting a friend for a visit along the way. Jim was against those ideas, always saying that this was our honeymoon and it was time just for us to be together.
I didn’t really get understand at first, but by the second day, I got it. We were together, just us, no dogs, no daily distractions and no thinking of what errands need to get done or when the lawn would get mowed.
It was a trip just for us. We had long talks, drove under the speed limit to enjoy the scenery, held hands, laughed until we cried, had miles of comfortable silence and even shed a few tears talking about family that wasn’t with us anymore.
It forced us to focus on each other, continuing to build on the foundation that we have started.
I thank my new husband for standing firm with his decision on no dogs or distractions. We were reminded of what life was like before smartphones and social media. We left the park unaware of any news or current events.
We saw animals, hot springs, green meadows and snow along the hiking trails. We listened to the sound of the waterfalls, both the big ones and the many little ones that are along the roadways. We hiked the trails, listened to the birds and watched the squirrels and chipmunks run and play. We sat outside our cabin and listened to nature, which can be surprisingly noisy when you notice.
We stood in silence and awe as we watched a buffalo munch on grass 15 feet from our cabin door the last evening we were there.
We were lucky. We got to pet the whale.


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