When it comes to being in love, words have never done my heart much justice. It almost seems a disservice to attempt any sort of quantification of what position love assumes. Still, I feel drawn to marking special occasions with some amount of written word. Love letters, I guess. For all that I have yet to understand about marriage, or the incredible chaos of love, I do know that I'm thick in it. So when I sound maddeningly like mush, as I am oft to do, let us blame Mark. As it were, in a couple days he will have been rounding the sun for a quarter-century. 25 on the 29th. Without further rambling, here's a "happy almost birthday" commentary on my best ever life accomplice.

If you know him, you love him. Affable, gentle, with a touch of grandiosity in his storytelling. Smarter than most of us, but brilliant because he doesn't care for being smart so much as he simply loves to learn. Always saying he knows nothing about music because he "does not know music theory", yet he constantly fills our house with melodies from his piano, ukulele, percussion instruments, and a soon-to-arrive violin bass guitar. Skims every page of the newspaper before throwing it into the fire (a similarity to my grandpa that I am convinced is not coincidental). Will happily talk sports for hours with anyone interested, but just as easily discuss the merits of linen versus cotton with his wife. Will make you feel there has never been a better cook than you, and he means it. A real slam dunk of a human being. 

Thanks for building every fire and for keeping our house — literally and proverbially — warm.
(P.S. Can't wait to have your babies.)

All of these images are from our journey to Greece in May 2016.
Photos 1 & 3 were taken by Mark, and are two of my all-time favorite images. Though none so good as photo 4.



We are headed back.

In that complex and very unpredictable way that life works, where it catches you by surprise in an off-handed way, we are returning home. We have two, quite different, homes: Ohio and Greece. We landed at Eleftherios Venizelos airport outside Athens two years ago. We piled into our aunt's compact car. And as we came around the bend in the road that leads into Porto Rafti—a place that became our second home over the course of the next three months—we saw it: the clear, blue waters of the Aegean. From the time we had to say goodbye, we have longed to relive that moment; to come home to our sea.

Greece is a wild, untamed place. Its natural beauty is no rumor, nor are its manmade troubles. Its a land where the rhythms of life are informed more by the position of the sun in the cloudless sky than by economic indicators or the law of the land, for better or for worse. The Aegean Sea is Greece's crown jewel and Porto Rafti rests on her shores; nestled among the coastal foothills, on the other side of which you will find kilometers upon kilometers of silver-leaved olive trees, pistachio groves, and dry, thistle-y brush.

Porto Rafti is a town of 2,000 in winter and 50,000 in summer. Stray dogs and cats co-mingle with the patrons at seaside tavernas and cafes. Street vendors, slinging anything from grilled corn on the cob to terra cotta planters, proposition you in a language you won't understand. Groups of men drive by in rusted pickup trucks, advertising to all via loudspeaker that they will buy your unwanted junk. The airspace falls silent around two o'clock, when lunch has been consumed and all take refuge from the sun for an afternoon siesta. It's like clockwork, says our uncle.

We are convinced theirs is a way of life anyone could get used to, whereby (at least) two daily swims are an expectation and church bells can be heard ringing every single day. And we'll be living it out again, if only for a moment.

Home sweet home. Bless you, Greece.