Almost late, I slipped unnoticed into the crowd of guests as live music, moody blue as smoke, whispered of the fast approaching festivities. The sound provided a jig to which the flies and faeries and runaway children danced under the magic of old trees, backlit by the suns setting gold. All eyes were trained on a magic crane, giant and white, peeking idly around the corner of the Spruce Pine Lodge. And then it took flight, gracefully calm and languid as a hot summer day; we unfolded and were enveloped in white-- the crane, the calm, the children, as giant flags kissed our cheeks, slow and soft, a vision of puppets and fancy. And weren't we all children, then, for a moment-- transported into the landscape of fantasy?
I centered and thought of my camera. I watched the photographer, the videographer and wanted my camera. See how they run. How well I know that, how many times I've been that.
Three. Hundred. Weddings.
And this one, I sat. Be something else, today, I said. My camera waited in the car. My phone rested by my feet, which I admit did wiggle, wanting to work. My mind spun, effortlessly backlighting, framing, wanting to see everything, to feel everything, try new angles, unfocus, to tell every story. This child's freckles, her braids, his boots. The bridesmaids nervousness and vintage gown. The guests that chose to stand, the better to witness. The way one peeks at another when something catches. Instead I tried desperately just to drink it in without feeling my mission. I fought instead to allow myself to be present.
I was so rewarded.
When stilt walkers prance on uneven ground with warm grins towering over children of staggered ages, you smile, laugh and are-- unequivocally-- alive. What is this thing? How strange this moment! How surreal. And then the passel squeaks the opening beckon of love, love, love on kazoo and you're one with the crowd, and you're all giggling and you can't help it. You're in love, too.
With a moment. A life. A vision. A beauty. A dance, rhythm, light, sound, meaning, desire, dreams, hopes, vision, effort, details, love.
LOVE, love, love.
I couldn't stay entirely. I'm too sentimental about everything and I look so awful when I cry. The blue sky winked between green tree leaves for a minute so I could detach, however briefly, because the absolutely beauty of life can be too much.
Surely you've seen this?
I watched the procession. I watched the guests. I saw that the groom and bride weren't afraid to see one another before the wedding because THIS was a thing they'd borne together, this day, and why not celebrate it together as they saw all those they loved come together?
I have never seen such a beautiful thing, because I am always about the moment, and not of the moment, not in the moment. Do you see?
And what thing to be gifted with! The perfect wedding of beauty, a deep understanding, finally, of what the day might mean. So often people keep apart, as if the day were about surprising one another with our outward beauty. I beg you to realize you are beautiful, truly, from a deep well inside that you can't see, can never hope to understand-- you will always be too busy treading the surface and avoiding the hard parts, but your life's partner must see that all as beautiful, and it shouldn't be for the first time ever on the day you promise you'll always stay.
I watched a beautifully vivacious woman breath deeply into oneness with her perfect partner, and they honored one another, and they asked for affirmation from those present.
Later, there were toasts about how he's uniquely quiet and she's cleverly crafty and I'll tell you those things are true from what I've seen. But deeper into the evening, I witnessed how they looked at one another with understanding, and how they shared in cleaning-up chores, and neither complained, while their friends continued on, merrily unaware, dancing and singing.
And I'll tell you what selflessness means.
It means, that on a day when the world wants to convince you you're a princess, you know that your life partner is going to help you make the people you have counted on all those years before you met that partner happy. Because you know you have the rest of days to be happy,
I am so very thankful I had the gift of a moment as a guest, and I wish you all to be in the moment in life, whenever and wherever you find it.