We drove north slowly, along the coast, stopping when we felt like it, drinking beer when we found a microbrewery, but coming home, we took the fast way, straight down I-5, making fewer stops, pulling off the interstate to watch 4th of July fireworks from an offramp in southern Oregon, anxious to get home to our new life together.
I knew the blueprints for our new life included a fixer upper we'd call home (which we bought five months after our wedding), and two kids (the number we both agreed upon from the beginning of our courtship), but I had no idea at the time it would include chickens, honeybees, 30+ fruit trees, an ever expanding garden, and cabinets full of homeschooling, homebrewing, and homesteading supplies. These were change orders that came after we began construction. This life we've built together with the idea of freedom from convention in actuality binds us to each other, to the dirt on which we live, to the animals we care for, to the house we call home in constant need of repair and attention. It's freedom of a sort - freedom to be who we are, where we want to be, to live how we want to live. But it's a far cry from a honeymoon, and it doesn't always feel free.
Our colony of bees, which rejected two queens, which we feared would die off or leave us, upon recent inspection is thriving and growing. Whether our package of bees came with a queen of it's own, or a swarm took up residence in our hive, we'll never know. But we don't need to know how it works in order to appreciate that it does work, much like our marriage - a cooperative union between two very different individuals, opposites in many ways, from dissimilar backgrounds, who struggle to be heard over the constant buzz of daily life. We arrived here a package of two, cramped in an old Honda hatchback, and we've built up our hive, added on compartments for offspring, larders for nourishment. We've got just the right amount of bee space to keep us content, we can move around each other freely without feeling confined, and in thirteen years, we've never even thought about swarming.
Pretty sweet, huh?