Thursday, September 19, 2013

07.27.13: A Collection of Memories, Part One


I woke up in our tent at 6am; my heart in my throat. My guts and whatever organ it is that holds in fear were there too, if I'm being honest about it.

I went down to the meditation rocks to sit by the sea for an hour, before anyone else in the Meadow started to stir.

I'm going to become a wife today. I'm going to become a wife.


At some point, I think I ate breakfast. I think I smiled and hugged my fellow campers. But truthfully, I don't even remember saying goodbye to B before I left with my Honorables to get ready at the house.

I know that I felt like everything was in good hands-- Court was in charge with her lists and her calm, and all the Wedding Fairies were on the ready. I couldn't exactly wrap my head around how the Shorehouse--with its counters covered with breakfast supplies, empties, and the general ephemera of a week of relaxed camping-- could be morphed into a site of elegance and celebration, but that wasn't my job to deal with.

After a year and a half of planning, the beauty of being a bride is that your job is to go concentrate on being a bride. Hopefully with some amount of grace and zen. And, barring those obstacles, maybe to look sort of pretty.

My ladies coaxed my features from camping-glam to grown-up woman; my man(veer) kept me laughing. My parents floated around downstairs, and my mom brushed out my hair to give me traditional blessings on my new journey. We sang along to 90's pop, and I relaxed.

Kind of like in a lucid dream, I floated easily between hanging out with my pals, forgetting that I was getting married in four hours; and then becoming joltingly (not a word, blogger tells me) aware that soon I would have a husband. Anticipatory goosebumps galore.

I wondered what they were up to, all the way up the hill.


Steph drove me eastward,  Jackie guided me up the hill as I closed my eyes. Back to back, we met amongst the tall grass of East Point. I felt warmth from the sun, warmth from him, and was grateful to be clutching at his sure hands.

It is quite a trip to be told you can turn around now, and face your love after a morning apart.

We tried to be serious and dashing for patient Steph, but eventually, we donned off that disguise in favor of our DorkSide. And when I look back on the pictures, it is these moments of ridiculousness that clearly and pointedly says to me, "Oh look, it's Bryan and Joann."


I was secretly a wreck right before the ceremony. Full fledged, mini panic attack in my brain. Eye balls. Everything. I remember feeling like I just needed to be in a dark, invisible attic that only I had the key to. I had been so calm in the days leading up to this one, and I was mad that serene was not going to be the case for me in the moments preceding the ceremony. Overloaded with a combination of joy and stress and details-- a big cry would have helped.

I hid in the spare bedroom of the house, and tried to breathe. B and I weren't being rigid in concealing ourselves from each other before the big aisle-walk, so I would see him sometimes in the half hour before showtime, and that was reassuring. I kept on wanting to squeeze him and shout:
"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't LOSE!"

Yes, a Friday Night Lights quote was all that was  repeating in my mind, in a maddened loop, as I thought of what was coming next.

B, on the other hand, was in a state of utter present-moment bliss. A bliss that comes with complete readiness for the task ahead, he says.

     Okay, let's get one thing straight-- I don't intend to narrate this whole day for you. I don't want to, and also, I can't. Everything that happened has this sepia-tinged (no that's not right)-- some hipster Instagram filter tinge (better) to it. Wispy dream that I can't fully remember, with the brilliant realization that, surprise!, this marriage ain't no dream! as I glance down at my gold wedding ring.

So. Some more brief memories:

-- Coming down from the house, almost bailing down the crazy steep hill with my mom and dad, and then all of us laughing like crazy banshees. No one from the crowd saw.

-- Waiting for what seemed like five minutes as Po Po rifled through her purse for the lai-see she is supposed to hand to us during the Tea Ceremony, as the sun beat down on our shoulders, threatening heatstroke. Some of my aunts and uncles come up to fuss around her, trying to help, as she bats them away. The triumph on her face when she does find the red envelope, and presents it to us with both hands.

-- Thinking the bestmen were all bored out of their skulls during my vows, as I can see them shifting and looking down at the ground out of the corner of my eye as I speak. Panicking: "Shit... am I taking too long?" Finding out later that they were all tearing up over my words, and that it is now proof-positive that I am Highly Neurotic.

-- Being too nervous to look anywhere but B's eyes. It is a safe place to land.

-- Being told later that an eagle came to perch on a tree at the beginning of the ceremony, and watched the whole thing-- flying away right near the end. My kids at school tell me it is an honor; a First Nations blessing.

-- The words imprinted on my brain (and partially imprinted on my brian's left hip) "With these words and all the words of my heart.. I bind my life to yours."

-- Having a thousand blue and purple hydrangea petals being full-force pelted at us as we come down the aisle. Courtesy of my mom, who spent hours secretly picking each one that same morning.


-- Here are the readings we picked for our ceremony. In the months leading up to this day, every single time I read either poem, I was gulping and tearing up by the end. Ah, hormones. Ah, love.

Our Union

Our union is like this:
You feel cold so I reach for a blanket to cover
our shivering feet.
A hunger comes into your body
so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes.
You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance and
I quickly kneel by your side offering you
a whole book as a
You ache with loneliness one night so much
you weep, and I say
here is a rope, tie it around me,
I will be your
for life.
words by Hafiz, spoken by sister

The Quiet World 

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings,
I put it to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

words by Jeffrey McDaniel, spoken by Blairo

Part II tomorrow. Sorry. I'm not trying to be a tease on purpose, I promise. It's just a pretty massive endeavour to squish one of the best days of your life into pictures and pretty words and hope that it conveys the amount of joy you felt, knowing full well that it won't ever come close.

 While we're waiting.... if you were there, why don't you tell me a memory that you remember from that day?

 A bientot. Goodnight.

1 comment:

  1. You should be proud of yourself, to have the blessing from the First Nations, you should also be proud of doing a great job on your wedding day.
    Everybody has their own role on this day, and everyone is doing their best to make it memorable. You should be happy, it has been a very smooth "performance", eventhough we know the stress has been building up on you....
    Anyway, you look super happy and relax when we skype last night, the wedding is finally over and your new role as a "wife" just starts, may you find all the happiness with Bryan and walk together hand in hand for the rest of your lives.

    With love,
    Dad & Mom