The Wedding Chronicles, Part 3

The day was brilliant, and the wedding took place by the sea.

Molly and Alex had written vows that included references to water--they had met in it, the pool at Connecticut College.  And it flows and surrounds and falls from the sky and brings everyone and everything together.  As they spoke to each other, they held hands, and just behind them the cove glittered in sunlight.

The day was joyful.  We were so happy for Molly and Alex, and to be together in such a spirit of love, to be with people so open and positive.  People had traveled long distances to be there: from California, Texas, even Wales.  The weather was pure September: warm in the sun, cool as the afternoon progressed.

The wedding began with a moment of silence, for beloved friends and family who were not there.  Alex's stepmother Deb played cello and Maureen and I noticed an osprey fly overhead.  It was a moment, probably not that meaningful or significant, or maybe it was.  How hokey, to look up in the sky and see a fish hawk and get choked up thinking of who wasn't with us.

Molly held a bouquet of blue hydrangeas.  She'd woven the stems with a bracelet made of sea glass given to me by her mother.  I remember the day Molly visited the cottage at Point O'Woods and spotted it on my bureau.  She'd gone straight for it, picked it up as if it had called her.  I suppose it had.  She didn't have to ask--I gave it to her.

Maureen and I sat in the front row.  We'd been instructed to by Molly, who wanted us in her line of vision.  We are her aunts, her family.  Mia, her cousin, was a bridesmaid.  Alex's family embraces her as if she was their own.  All the toasts and comments and conversations and actions say as much.  They have taken her to their hearts.  It was moving to see.

Michael, who officiated, spoke about the mysteries of water and of life.

The reception was held under a tent.  It was festive and fun, and with Twigg at our table full of laughter and stories.  He and Audrey Loggia were also "family of the bride."   The food was delicious.  The band began to play, and Alex's aunt Penfield came for me and Maureen and told us it was up to the aunties to start the dancing.  Which we did, no problem.

P.S. Arleen, I posted the picture of Molly's gold shoes on my Facebook page.

Try to remember the kind of September

September is the most beautiful, still so full of summer, warm sands, salt water holding onto August heat.  The humidity drops, the sky is clear.  Bright blue, high clouds or no clouds.  Achingly gorgeous sunsets, topaz, violet, and maroon. Sometimes hurricanes come in September.  We'd ride them out at the beach, leaning into the wind.  Waves would rise to cliff-height and crash down, seething white over the sand, across the boardwalk, into the boat basin.  And then the weather would clear, and we'd clean up the branches and leaves and broken windows.  My house was built in 1938, survived the famous hurricane that devastated our area, and all storms since.

Early September brought conflict, i.e. school.  It required a complete alteration of mind and mood, a radical revision of self, to go from the beach's freedom to school's schedules.  We learned a lot in both places.  But to this day I know I was one person at the beach and another once school began.

Yesterday a friend and I walked through the city.  We headed downtown from 23rd St.  The day was hot.  Tenth Avenue reflected the heat.  We were on our way to a meeting.  Business, like school, starts up after Labor Day.  I wore loafers and real pants, not jeans.  My teeshirt wasn't torn or gigantic or from Surfrider.  It looked vaguely legit.  I sat around a big table with bright, creative people who talked about exciting things.   I had a coffee.  My friend brought amazing cookies.  We all partook as we discussed.   I particularly enjoyed the carrot cake cookie.  It felt good to be part of a whole--the way I always wanted school to feel.  My desk, the cats notwithstanding, can feel lonely.

Have I mentioned I was a September baby?  I, and other September children with whom I've spoken, always feel renewed this time of year.  One dearest friend and I have birthdays separated by just a few days and for many years have managed to celebrate them together.  She lives in LA and I live in New York but that never seems to matter.

On September will go.  Soon I'll be heading east on the way to my niece's wedding.  By dusk I'll be swimming in the Sound.  I'll have a massively festive reunion with whomever we're lucky enough to see.  The cottage is inhabited by ghosts, no joke, and we'll be glad for their company.  One early morning I hope to walk the beach, through the marsh, up the hidden path.

The air will be warm but not as warm.  I'll smell the leaves changing.  The air will be spicy with rose hips and young grapes.  The bay will flash silver with bait.  I'll swim as often as there's time.  My thoughts are already deeply with my niece, for whose wedding we'll be gathering.  It's the main thing.  Sometimes, with such a big, important event on the horizon, this one in particular because it's so dear, so incredibly tender, it's hard to imagine bothering with all the minutia of the days leading up.

But life being life, there's a lot to do before getting to that moment.  It's a moving meditation, the way of September.  Ineffable beauty.  Deep dreams and memories.  Things to do.  Including swimming.  Attempting to fathom the unfathomable.  Attending a wedding.  Celebrating Molly and Alex.  And to quote my sister Maureen who was quoting someone else, "love, love, love."

Try to remember. Thank you, Jerry Orbach.

The Wedding Chronicles, Part 2

From the time she was a little girl, she thought brides wore gold shoes.  It was like her own personal fairy tale, a talismanic necessity to ensure love spells on her wedding day.  All through life, in the back of her mind, that idea remained.   As she grew up and fell in love, and was proposed to, and began to plan her wedding, details came to life.  A beautiful dress, September flowers, a romantic hideaway by the sea--the country inn where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall spent their honeymoon.  The chance to get married by the water, in a part of Connecticut she knows and loves well, with white boats on moorings and blue waves sparkling out to Block Island.  But the shoes were proving elusive.

The shoes couldn't be too gold.  Nothing bright or garish.  More like gossamer, spun from sunlight.  Perhaps they didn't exist and her childhood dream wouldn't come true.  She's not a material girl.  She doesn't shop and buy and acquire.  The things that matter to her are her fiance, their dog, their families, nature, the sea, and really good frozen yogurt.  But still: would the wedding be the wedding if the bride didn't wear gold shoes?

She mentioned this to a ancient family member.  This witch of the north lives in a crooked house between the village and the deep woods.  She knows love spells long buried, and unearthed one to conjure the perfect pair of gold shoes with red soles.  She sent them by Fedex to young Molly.

Now, with her wedding a week away, Molly speaks of those shoes as one of the "tricks in her back pocket."  A wise woman from Cambridge calls them Molly's "magic shoes" because they were given with love, and because it's awesome in life to have one of one's heart's desires delivered overnight directly to one's front door.

I love the idea of "tricks in her back pocket."  We all need a few of those.  For rainy days, or lonely days, or times of being overwhelmed by the grace and trepidation and enormity of one of life's great moments of passage.  It's rare that, even in the best and happiest times, we don't feel some twinge of "I wish."  I wish for a sunny day, I wish for the bride and groom to have a long and thrilling and joyful life, I wish everyone they love could be present.  I wish for peace.  I wish for the sea to sparkle like crazy that day.

Good to have some gold shoes, or in my case, a handful of moonstones, in my back pocket for this very occasion.  I visit the witch of the north now and then, and she's very generous with moonstones.

Wedding Chronicles, Part I

Oh love.  I woke up thinking of it.  Maybe I'd dreamed...  No, I know.  I'm thinking of love because my niece is getting married next week. She is radiant and beautiful, a scientist who left the lab with her betrothed to make a better frozen yogurt in Northampton.  Go Berry is delicious and causes cravings.  This is a brilliant young woman.  Not least of all, Molly is known for having debunked the 5-second rule.  I mention it here only because if an aunt with a blog can't promote her niece's frozen yogurt, who can?

Alex, her fiance, is also a scientist.  They met at Connecticut College.  They love the sea, the ocean, the littoral zone, marine life, diving, swimming, many other things, and especially each other.  Their kindness is touching beyond words.  They once drove miles out of their way when the snow was lovely, dark, and deep, to give me a hug just because I needed one.

Molly goes through life with such courage and grace.  I'm late to her life.  I didn't know her well as a little girl, but we've been making up for lost time.  My sister Maureen and I are watching her and Alex plan their wedding, proud to be her  aunts.

I'm writing this because Love is amazing.  It is fierce when it has to be.  It forgives.  It finds people who believe, really believe in it, and takes them into its fold.  This has happened with Molly and Alex. There's sorrow here, yes, there is.  There are people we love and miss--every day, but especially now.

The wild gift, beyond the casting off, has come in the form of a great coming-together.  Families getting to know each other.  The joy of having Alex in our lives.  Molly and her cousin Mia have gotten close.  Today as Mia heads off to grad school (I feel another niece blog coming,) Molly and Alex will be driving her to Vermont, helping her move in.  They're together today and will be again next week; Mia will be one of Molly's bridesmaids.

Twigg will be at the wedding, wouldn't miss it for anything.  The Loggias love Molly and will attend.  I know my mother and Mim, ghosts for many years now, will be there.  And so much family in spirit--I love you, we love you, you know that.  We'll celebrate at the edge of the sea together.  Be there!

Summer Light

An entrancing story of love at first sight, the true meaning of family, and angels right here on earth. May’s own faith in true love was shattered when she was abandoned by the father of her child. Still, she finds joy in raising her daughter Kylie, a very special five-year-old who sees and hears things that others cannot. . .

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