My Angel worked in the oil and gas industry when I met him. Our introductory story I’ll save for another day, and one I’ll get around to putting on paper, rather than just tumble around in my head, but for now what is unfolding is about an industry that bends and binds based on circumstances that are beyond our control. Political strife, natural disasters, and yes, pandemics, impact the energy sector. Entities like OPEC and events like Deep Water Horizon make the headlines, but thousands of projects depend upon what contractor wins a bid, whether the funding gets approved by a project management team in another part of the country, or the inevitable, who you know.
When a range of smaller, not-newsworthy circumstances pushed my Angel to the Bakken oil field to seek his fortunes in the energy sector, he walked into a world of strangers and dangers that placed him face-to-face with a new, hard life, with Mother Nature at her worst, but with opportunities that would redefine his life. It became a better life – and yes, at times a hard life – but one where he pushed himself by utilizing a work ethic that brought him back and built him up. He put his back into it, and he tapped his inner Viking to endure winter after bitterly cold winter to create a second career and a new life out of the ashes of the Great Recession. It’s a tough industry where you have to have energy to make energy, and he did.
I certainly never imagined in a million years I would live in North Dakota (see North Dakota on a Napkin from November 2011), but I met my Angel, fell in love with my Angel, then followed my Angel into his world. I swore I would never move anywhere again for a man, having made that mistake once, and once was enough for a lifetime. The path I walked, like my Angel, was built on my own effort, and I certainly didn’t need a man to make my life my life. But I realized I reached a plateau, I’d just never met anyone who I thought could get me any farther than I could get on my own. Of, course, I had never met an angel with an inner Viking.
I should stop saying, “I’d never,” because if I ever want to do something, I do it. I buy a one-way ticket to Hawaii and I go. I walk away from a decade-and-a-half job to pursue an adventure (see Signing On The Dotted Line from September 2013). I put everything in storage and become a mid-summer replacement on the Bighorn National Forest that changes my pace of life. I move to Louisiana because my Angel has work and I don’t want to wait for him in the ice box of North Dakota. So now we’re taking another big step together. I’m not excited about him being somewhere far and away, about his going to the other side of the earth, about being alone with our dogs, but unlike our previous ascents where we are relying on our own bootstraps, we are leaning against and into each other, and even though there’s a fifteen-hour time zone difference, we are never alone.