First, a little something I wrote on the ride back to St Paul this weekend;
Each in our own time and day, we will be married off; us children of the Valley. Us girls who ride horses in fairy processions and tie flowers into each other’s hair, us boys who build houses for our wives and tattoo ourselves together. Each summer, one or two more marry a man who will take them West to fish, a woman who will move into the forest with him. And our circle widens.
We go into the trees around the homes our parents built, barefoot, lace of the wedding dress running across the grass and last year’s leaves as the bride takes the grooms hands. They giggle as they struggle to get the golden or silver rings over each other’s knuckles.
And so our circle widens as we watch each other join with others, hold their new choice close, noses together as they dance slowly across the dewey grass before our parent’s homes. These are the places we all tagged and claimed each other as equals, hurt and love one another as children and now generations pass and extend. Children’s children dance in white dresses there, as the bride and groom move off to shake hands and hug their loved ones.
There is much else to be said, many more stories have been and will soon be told. We each take a vase of flowers from the lace dinner tables and watch them wilt on our kitchen tables in this summer’s suffocating heat.
This weekend I was lucky enough to be a part of an absolutely beautiful community celebration. One of my best friends since childhood, Grace, got married to a wonderful man, Jason, a week and a half ago and they held a community reception, ring exchange and vow ceremony at her parent’s house in Clover Valley, where we grew up. It was an event for the entire neighborhood where I grew up, with all the young people who I grew up with and their parents who I’ve known my whole life.
I of course can’t do justice to a story which I was not a part of, but I do know that Grace and Jason met around the beginning of December and fell for each other immediately. Jason is a fisherman working in Alaska who was spending some time in the Twin Cities with his family. The two of them went for a road trip together in January and after Jason dropped her off with family in Montana, he drove his car right into a guard rail on the interstate. He was luckily fine, but while waiting for the car to get fixed, he made up his mind, turned around, bought a ring and proposed.
I know a lot of people cringe at how quickly this all came about. Personally, I don’t imagine any relationship in my life developing that quickly. But I will be the first to admit that life is full of surprises. I have been proven wrong by what I thought would happen when love comes into your life and it is absolutely impossible for me to feel skeptical or nervous about my friend’s choice when I am in the presence of two people who are so in love and so happy and making a commitment to one another. Seeing one of my best friends with the man she so clearly loves and who so clearly loves her with all he has, is all I could ask for in my life.
My parents and I before the ceremony.
The path we followed to get from the house to the ceremony.
Notice the J and the G at the top.
She made her own dress. And they were both barefoot.
Walking back up to the house.
Amazing home made food.
Everyone relaxing after a long hot day.