Across the Shoreline: Why I Wake Early

(Oh, hey! Happy 200th post to me!  Thanks everyone for sticking around – really, you are awesome. Now let’s talk some more about my wonderful wedding. Okay? Okay.)

We got married at 10 am.  Originally I didn’t realize this was a big dream of mine, but once Turtle agreed to it, it seemed like no other time could possibly have felt right for me.  The air was crisp; we both wore sweaters right up until we walked in for the ceremony.  It was perfect.  Also, I couldn’t (and still can’t) imagine having to wait all day for the ceremony; I don’t understand how you’re not just nervous all day.  Maybe you are.  As it was, I hadn’t eaten much at all in the two days leading up to the wedding, and I was relieved to be able to jump right in.

So here we are, ready to go.  Our minister Ellen welcomed everyone and talked a little bit about the importance of marriage.  Then Turtle’s best friend gave a reading (that is my brother’s serious face, not an angry face – don’t worry!):

Why I Wake Early, by Mary Oliver
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

I can tell you that in her head, she’s all, “Wow, we’re really doing this, and it is wonderful. We’re getting married! And you look really pretty.”

I know that because it was what was going through my head, too.

One of my oldest friends (we’ve known each other for 21 years! Crazy!) read next:

Prayer for a Marriage, by Steve Scafidi
When we are old one night and the moon
arcs over the house like an antique
China saucer and the teacup sun
follows somewhere far behind
I hope the stars deepen to a shine
so bright you could read by it
if you liked and the sadness
we will have known go away
for awhile – in this hour or two
before sleep – and that we kiss
standing in the kitchen not fighting
gravity so much as embodying
its sweet force, and I hope we kiss
like we do today knowing so much
good is said in this primitive tongue
from the wild first surprising ones
to the lower dizzy ten thousand
infinitely slower ones—and I hope
while we stand there in the kitchen
making tea and kissing, the whistle
of the teapot wakes the neighbors.

That friend got married three years ago; it was an honor to be in her wedding, and it was really special to have her be a part of our wedding, too.  An enormous part of what made our wedding so spectacular were all of the people who appeared to support us.  Here is some advice I have, because I’m married now so that means I know things: invite the people who are important.  You can invite people who aren’t, too, just don’t forget the people who are, even if they live a state or two away or even moved to stupid Chicago or stupid California or stupid other far away places.

I know these recaps are a little scattered: it’s because I can’t quite capture exactly what happened that day, I can’t describe exactly the feelings I felt or what I saw or the truth of the day, so I’m just letting it pour out the way it wants to pour out.  Maybe at the end it’ll all make sense, but in the meantime you can read some really good poems and look at some pretty pictures.

We picked these poems because they spoke to things that felt important to us, which is probably why most people pick the readings they pick.  We chose the first poem because 1. we love Mary Oliver like crazy (and! She was a lesbian! Extra points for her.), and 2. it was the perfect way to express the joy that we felt at this day, this time, and the fact that people were willing to wake early to trek out to Littleton to witness and support our commitment to each other.  Plus, I really do like waking early.  We chose the second poem because, I think, it speaks to the difficulty of marriage; it will not all be easy (the sadness/ we will have known go away/ for awhile). But I do hope that someday, when we are old, we will have known sadness and we will have survived the sadness and we will still be making tea and kissing each other in the kitchen.

I like to think that every piece of our wedding had a piece of our marriage in it, or inspires a bit of our marriage in a very real way.  Here is where it all started, here is where it was all embodied.

Ahem. Next up: the rings.

Did you have readings that felt really meaningful to you?  How did you find them, and what made them feel so important?

(If you missed anything, you can still catch up!)

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10 Comments

Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

10 responses to “Across the Shoreline: Why I Wake Early

  1. I got married at 4:30 PM, and I WAS just nervous all day! In retrospect, I can’t decide whether or not I regret not having a first look, because I think it would have calmed down the jittery nerves a lot.

    • I have so many mixed feelings about the first look, especially after realizing that mostly people who are not addicted to the internet don’t even know what it is.

  2. I have heard of Mary Oliver (I am a Unitarian Universalist, and she is a well known UU), but I hadn’t heard that she was a lesbian! You are right – extra points for her!

    I am enjoying reading your wedding recaps – even if they are a little “scattered”. Can’t wait for the next installment! 🙂

  3. That first photograph is stunning. It looks like it would take the world to unclasp your hands.

  4. Beautiful readings and again, pictures. I couldn’t imagine waking up early to get married, but that’s because I am totally an evening person. I’ll probably be nervous all day though. I’ve accepted that.

    I can’t believe how much of an honest reflection of you two your wedding turned out to be. Each post stirs me.

  5. I love your blog. I found you when you were freshly pressed awhile back and I keep coming back. This one brought tears to my eyes. In theory, I’m a big curmudgeon when it comes to weddings. I always think, “I can’t believe people spend so much money and time and headache on something that lasts a fraction of a day!” Not to mention that the idea of marriage gives me the heebie-jeebies. But I’m a big sap in practice. I cried through my childhood best-friend’s wedding and reception. It was uncontrollable. I turned and saw her at the back ready to walk down the aisle and my mind flashed on her at 11 when we first met and the tears just started flowing. The more I read about or am a part of weddings that focus on the couple and their love and commitment and all the people who know and love them and helped bring them to that moment, the more I think that some-day, maybe, I could consent to do something like that.
    Thanks for sharing. That first picture of the two of you is just beautiful.

    • Thank you so much for this comment! Ah, weddings are such a weird thing, and now that I’ve done it I feel like I could talk about the theory of it for a long time (like, I finally understand why people spend so much money… but I still don’t really feel okay with it). Thank you for coming back 🙂

  6. Next up on my to-do list is to find some poems for our ceremony. Hello! Mary Oliver! She’s one of my all-time favorites and I sold all my books–every poetry ones–when I moved. Bad, bad, Linsey! So thanks for reminding me of some of her gems. I used to have Why I Wake Early on my desk at school, so when I arrived at the ass-crack I could do it with a smile.

    I love the earth, wind, water, fire thing too. Going to suggest it to the other half. Know that someone across the country is going to steal most of your wedding! 😉

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