Until Allagash Falls do us part

Maurice and I have just returned from our annual hiking trip. Except this time, instead of boots we wore water shoes, and instead of trails we followed rivers, and instead of a backpack full of camera equipment, we had… no, we still had that. (Incidentally, right now my camera is in a bag full of rice, but that’s not the crisis I’m here to write about.)

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: Migratory Pebbles is a double entendre. Yes, my band of fearless walkers will be assisting some pebbles with their migration from sea to shining sea. This blog will certainly cover our pebble porting adventures across England. But even more so, we are the pebbles. Are you with me? We are the pebbles. Think on that, as I depart on this brief tangent.

Many of you know about my dodgy past. I was married once before in my mid-20s, and failed miserably at it. My ex-wife and I both helped kill that marriage, along with a lethal dose of conditions beyond our control. Yet, after 7 years together, I was still in love. When she asked for a divorce, I tied my platinum wedding band to the bookmark tassel of our butterfly love journal, and packed it well away in a box of memories of our relationship, which ironically included the wedding photos we had only recently gotten around to printing. The ink was barely dry.

Fast-forward half a decade, and I was ready to tie the knot again. Rings inevitably became a topic of conversation. I somehow couldn’t bring myself to do the obviously reasonable thing: sell my old wedding band. So I convinced Jessica that if I simply reused my previous band, that we’d have more money to spend on hers. Problem solved! I had mine cleaned, removing the antique finish from the background of the celtic pattern. I didn’t share my reluctance to part with the symbol of my first marriage, but my new wife is anything but stupid. (Side note: I’ve learned Jessica prefers the label “wife” over “new wife,” “2nd wife,” “current wife,” or “most recent wife.” I guess it has a more permanent ring to it?)

Now, fast forward the better part of another decade, to Maurice photographing my jump off a rock into the fast-moving water at the foot of Allagash Falls. It was taking me much longer than expected to return to the surface. I kept going up and up. Nope, still no air to breathe here, up some more. Oh yeah, and there’s that rock ledge our tour guide, Chip, suggested we raise our legs to avoid. Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. Better start swimming out of this current to the water’s edge. Oh, good, here’s a rock I can grab onto. … Funny, that felt weird on my finger…

My Precious was now 6+ feet deep in frenzied brown water that light wasn’t penetrating more than 2 feet. Chip declared it a goner. The men gave me that “Oh, damn, sorry man” look. Maurice went in after it, determined to create a miracle, but even he came up empty. I looked at the white stripe on my finger where a ring had been a minute before, 15 years before. I said, “Now how am I supposed to keep the ladies at bay?” To which one of the ladies replied, “Get a stick.”

That ring symbolized much more than I was willing to admit, so it’s best to have met its final resting place. I’m sure that with goggles, an underwater flashlight, and a Maurice, that this artifact of my life could be raised from the deep. But I’d rather accept the closure that Allagash Falls has delivered me, and work out some new symbol for my current marriage.

Jessica, if you’re reading this, it’s my long-winded way of saying, “Sorry I lost my wedding ring.”

To tie this all back into the titular theme of this blog, I’ll now be pouring over Her Majesty’s Royal Topo Maps to find a river that happens to run between St. Bees and Robin Hood’s Bay. Maurice and I really enjoyed the canoeing adventure. Failing that river materializing, you’ll find me walking the Wainwright softly, but carrying a big stick.

4 thoughts on “Until Allagash Falls do us part”

  1. Better to not lose a wedding ring, but if you have to lose it that’s about the best way it can happen.

    You lost it jumping in a waterfall 30 miles from civilization. The turbulent currents at the base of the waterfall had beaten you and your ring down to the depths were light did not shine. Then when you finally kicked yourself near the surface you felt a rock ledge. You grabbed at it to pull yourself to the surface, only to have those rocks of your salvation separate you from your ring. The ring fell back to the depths. Its final resting place.

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