I met my future wife Cheryl in Missoula in late August of 1995. She was doing welding at a local metal shop and had moved to town with a friend of a friend at the begining of summer. Missoula was and probably still is a small town, and what bar you went to and who you knew were interdependent things. I was moving back to Montana from Oregon that year to take a last pesky statistics course and a couple of elective credits that were still unfulfilled on my transcript.
Cheryl and I hit it off right from the start and were living together a few months later. In the spring (96) after my degree was awarded we moved to Bellingham, Washington in my pursuit of being a biology field tech. That autumn we did some work on my grandparents property in Shelton, Washington. We then struck out for the Rogue Valley with the promise of a job in the spring. Cheryl found employment right away while I learned how to program in the C++ language that winter (96/97).
I did another summer of survey work for the Bureau of Land Management and started programming professionally that autumn (97). The regular income allowed us to afford a little house in Ashland, Oregon during autumn the next year (98).
On September 23rd, 1999 Cheryl and I were married in Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon at the Root Memorial Area. It was a simple, civil ceremony administrated over by Judge Pamela Burkholder-Turner. We wrote the vows ourselves and had the following piece by Khalil Gibran recited:
Love one another, but make not a bond of love;
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
Cheryl keeps my eyes open for the wistful and beautiful in the world. I share her interest in birds by photographing the wildlife she so keenly spots everywhere.