Back in 2005, Jon and I took our first big adventure together, a road trip to ride all the rollercoasters in California in a week. One of the best moments on that trip came about because of traffic: it took forever to get out of LA by the PCH, so we got up the coast too late to visit the Santa Cruz boardwalk. When we realized we weren't going to make it in time, we pulled over at one of the many cliff-top scenic lookouts. Using tiny penlights we made our way to edge of the cliffs, then turned off the lights and stood, wrapped in each others' arms, listening to the surf and marveling at the dense canopy of stars.
There's not been many times in my life I've gotten to see the Milky Way, but a lot of them have been with Jon. It makes an already special experience even more so: I'm a tiny, short-lived speck on a rock orbiting a small star in a suburban neighborhood of our galaxy, looking in toward "downtown" and up to the other galaxy-cities in our celestial world, but I'm sharing it with the person I love and he's just as amazed by it all as I am.
The night of Day 12, we stayed in tiny Gualala on the coast of northern California. It's a one-grocery, one-bar, highway-as-Main Street little place, with great BBQ and friendly innkeepers. After dinner we wandered slowly back towards the hotel, hearing the surf in the darkness. When we reached the edge of town, we stood for a while together, watching the Milky Way and listening to the waves, and reminiscing about the other times we'd done just the same.