The toes on my right foot squished together in ice-cold water on Saturday as I watched the featureless sunrise of a grey October morning. Wet feet are second only to sticky fingers when it comes to mild discomforts that can drive a person insane if left unattended, and I’d forgotten to bring an extra pair of socks. On top of that, the ducks were being frustratingly uncooperative.
As is so often the case, they only made appearances when we were standing up to stretch our legs or pouring a cup of coffee with our shotguns out of arms reach. I’d written the morning off as a loss by 9 a.m., although we did manage to scratch out one very lonely teal.
Yet, the normally disconcerting feeling of wet feet combined with the disappointment of a slow morning was all but forgotten, and as the morning wore on I felt myself thinking less and less about duck hunting.
You see, Saturday was my wedding day, and the morning duck trip was mostly just to kill time before the ceremony.
I’d convinced myself over the course of the last four or five months that getting married wasn’t that big of a deal. Erin and I have been together for five years and have lived together almost all that time, so I didn’t think much would change. But as Saturday wore on and we got closer to the ceremony, I did feel different.
People kept asking me if I was nervous — that couldn’t have been further from what I was feeling. I think if you’re nervous to marry your wife, maybe you shouldn’t get married. What I felt was a combination of excited anticipation about our future and a calm, introspective joy about our past.
Erin is not a hunter, and she has zero interest in ever becoming one. She does enjoy fishing on occasion, but only if I put the worm on her hook for her. Her lack of interest in some of the things I love most might seem like a point of contention between us, but I find it to be one of our greatest strengths. She might not be interested in taking part, but she genuinely appreciates the things I’m passionate about, simply because I’m passionate about them. The fact that I spent the morning of my wedding in a duck blind speaks to her ability to understand these passions. I’ve always been blessed to have a lot of interests, and Erin has always accepted my need to explore them. The weight of my good fortune to find someone like Erin hit me full force on Saturday morning, and I knew then that no matter how long we’d been together, getting married was in fact a very big deal.
The freedom Erin and I give each other in our relationship stems from a mutual respect for one another, and for ourselves. We love each other dearly, and that’s all there is to it. The simplicity of honest love is profound, and the love we share is wonderfully simple.
I thought of that as I watched her come down the stairs on Saturday afternoon, my right foot still soaking wet in my dress shoes. I smiled, said “I do” when I was supposed to and knew I was marrying a wonderful person.
C.L. Sill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @thewingbeat