One of my oldest and most precious friends got married on Saturday to a handsome, decent, dear man. Their small, intimate, relaxed wedding was a delightful balance of informality and sincerity, threaded through with the irrepressible sense of humour they share. They both glowed with the beauty of being in love, the excitement of making commitment, and the pleasure of being with friends.
The ceremony took place in a garden where the guests took shelter in the shade of tall, low-hanging trees while those of us with roles to play stepped out into the bright sunlight to speak. Richard, celebrant and the couple's friend, warmed us up with references to Burnham Woods and other more romantic Shakespearean plays, delighting the many English-teacher and bibliphile guests.
Invited to give the first reading of the service, I chose a poem by Margaret Atwood called Habitation, and managed to say it all without choking up. In fact I managed to stay dry eyed until much, much later in the evening, when after lovely food, bubbly wine and some touching speeches, the ukulele player struck up a waltz while Cam and Jo danced together on their marvelous deck that Cam built, surrounded by a deep circle of joyful friends.
Marriage is not
a house or even a tent
it is before that, and colder:
The edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
we are learning to make fire