So, there we were. Standing together. Next to a villa. On a high hill — on what felt like the top of the world. Looking out. At a three hundred sixty degree view of the Italian countryside. It felt like we’d been painted onto the cover of an Olive Garden menu. But it was real life, even though it felt like a dream. The fog that’d spent the night in the valley had started its slow crawl out, every minute exposing the perfectly imperfect nature below. Flocks of sheep grazing on grass in the distance. Local farmers working rows of grapes in family vineyards. The tops of tiled roofs being kissed by the Tuscan sun.
We looked at each other, and smiled. Because the physical hill we were standing on was so much more than just that. It was a metaphor. For our life. Because we remember what it felt like in the cold. In the dark. At the bottom of a valley under such a thick fog that we couldn’t even see the summit — let alone think we’d ever touch it — with a peak so far and so high in the distance that it felt unreachable.
We remember what it was like to work three jobs at once in pursuit of a dream that, to some, looked crazy and foolish and impossible and impractical. All at the same time. But we pushed the boulder up the hill anyways. Even though sometimes it got so heavy that we took one step forward… just to take two steps back. Oh, we remember. Because it was hard. And it hurt. And you don’t forget the moments like that. Because they either make you, or break you. But we believed, as we do now, that success isn’t for the chosen few. It’s for those who choose. So we kept pushing. With everything we had. With all our might. And, not over night, but over time, the pushing made our arms, hearts, minds and souls stronger. And the boulder got lighter, and moved faster.
Until we found ourselves on the top of a hill. Looking out. On what felt like the top of the world. And we smiled. Because even though there were higher hills which means there’ll be more valleys in the future, this was a summit, a respite, and a time and place to relish in it. Because you always spend more time climbing than pinnacling, so enjoy it.
Thank you, Ashley and Troy, for asking us — what seems like forever ago — to photograph your ten year anniversary and vow renewal. For treating us to a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Italian countryside. For making silly snaps with us, indulging in more than enough wine and quite enough gelato. For being kind, sweet, caring, loving and genuine people. For letting laughter be second nature and happen often. For giving us this honor. For trusting us with this responsibility. For being, well, you two. Congratulations on ten years of marriage. May the moments you had together and the memories we captured for you on the other side of the world forever remind you that you are, indeed, each other’s world – and two very special ones in a lot of people’s worlds. Including ours. Here’s to ten years, many years more and a very Tuscan #demossandwich to celebrate the completion of one of the most epic anniversary sessions of all time.