Sunday, April 03, 2005

The ridiculous and the sublime

I witnessed the following during an afternoon walk:

A picnic on a blanket in a backyard

Three children in swimsuits tempted by a wading pool

My next-door neighbors raking away last season’s debris

(Of course, that last takes the *ridiculous* cake. I myself am *reading* my textbook outside in a first encounter this year with a favorite: my Adirondack chair.)
this yellow weeping rainshower against the blue sky definitely ranks as *sublime* Posted by Hello

Tripping over ceremony

They have to be the most expensive parties most people ever throw: the classic American weddings. There’s a (comforting, I suppose) predictability to them, down to who walks down the aisle when, the cutting of the cake, the toast made to a roomful of people, seated at carefully considered places.

I’ve been to weddings that step out of that mold. Perhaps the most beautiful outlier was the wedding of a friend who took us all (a little more than a year ago) to Minnesota, by Lake Superior, where she and her husband-to-be exchanged vows, right there in the middle of a lupine field. Later, we ate salmon fresh off the grill and listened to the night sounds coming in from the pine forest surrounding the large log cabin. Magic.

Yesterday I went to a Madison wedding where the couple put on a jazzed-up production and walked down the aisle to the lovely strains of “..and when two lovers woo, they still say I love you…” Beautiful!

If I were to plan a wedding now, would I follow convention? I’d be asking for trouble either way. If I planned it in the lupine field, I’d probably forget to clear the area of poison ivy and people would walk away splotchy and irritated. And it would rain. I had once thought that marrying in a meadow would be cool, with maybe an ocean near by. I could see it -- my delicate, simple freeform dress would ripple with sea breezes and wild flowers would push to fill spaces between chairs where a small group of loving and supportive friends gathered to cheer us on.

What was I thinking? How many improbabilities within that can you find? A dozen? A hundred?

My take on weddings is more jaded now. There is a disconnect between the ceremony and the marriage that follows. One hardly supports the other and the expense does, for most people, create instant credit card debt to wake up to on the day after.

Still, wouldn’t it be great fun to fly a plane-load of people to an orchard or vineyard in southern France where tables would be set under ancient trees and wisteria branches? Whiffs of lavender would be coming in from hilly, distant fields and the olive oil on the tables would be cold pressed, extra virgin, extra wonderful.

And probably there would be bees and a heat wave and the cook would forget to bake a cake and the next day I would certainly wake up to great credit card debt.

Maybe one should have a quiet, simple wedding, followed by a huge party ten, twenty, thirty years later, if things are rolling along comfortably between the husband and wife (money-wise, emotion-wise).
With layers of raspberry jam. Posted by Hello