I have, since our return from New Zealand, been at a complete loss for words with which to describe our time in "Middle Earth." It is an unfathomable place. So extraordinary, I found myself weeping on a bus ride simply because of the enormity of the beauty surrounding me. It is a sort of reckless, desperate beauty. Phenomenon after phenomenon, packed into one very tiny tract of land that could, at any moment, be forever altered by a massive earthquake, an expected tsunami.
Aside from the magic of the place itself was the magic of being with some of the people I love most in the world. Jordan, of course, without whom I would have lost my mind on the 40+ hours of travel there and back. And, then, Rachel and Sam. Our dear world-traveling, other-nation-abiding friends who we had not seen for a year, suddenly packed with us into a Toyota Camry, road tripping, sharing every meal, laughing hysterically, dancing, coughing, sitting in awestruck silence.
Before we left, my mother-in-law told us we would have the time of our lives. We did. Because, for 10 sweet days, we basked unabashedly in the warmth of unshakeable friendship and the grace of unadulterated beauty.
Without further ado, a few photos, and no more words.