Lush green foliage exploded up the century-old corn crib which had been transformed in recent years to a hobby farmer’s fancy. The lace white blooms of the Sweet Autumn clematis were a few weeks from showing, but the vine was rich and full. It would, we thought collectively, make the perfect backdrop for next summer’s wedding.
At the end of last summer, when Sam and Emily walked the property and decided to have their wedding at the farm, the vines were as strong and breathtaking as the promise of young love.
The rhythm of the year continued.
As we marched through the snow and braced ourselves against the winds and record-breaking temperatures, we made plans, sketched our thoughts and wrote down our dreams, washed the barn, collected things, and waited…how we waited…for the long, cold winter to leave us alone in favor of what we longed for.
Somewhere, a whole season was lost. The rains came down even as the preparations continued; the time-thief assured us that the wedding day was approaching. Clad in muck boots and with steps sluggish from the weeks of excessive rainfall, I visited the corn crib daily. Just a month out from the farm’s grandest event, the only evidence of my Sweet Autumn clematis was manifest in a few sorry shoots trying furiously to stretch forth from the flagstone at the base of the metal grid walls. Maybe soon, maybe tomorrow.
As I cry out for all the things I can’t change, just to try to make myself feel better, my tears are peppered with thoughts that are too heavy for my soul.
The sleepy perennials struggled to look respectable, but the calendar turned and the time was near.
Through the mist and clouds, a gathering of hands arrived to transform the barn and grounds with sparkly lights, tiny flower vases, hand-chalked signs, and countless other touches to add to the glory of the day. Emily had used avocado seeds to dye cheesecloth a sunset pink, and her friends gathered branches from the yard and tied these into the cloth to make my vineless corn crib simply beautiful for the occasion.
As I turned, I believe I saw the sun.
It was a miraculous, magical afternoon and evening where high school sweethearts became man and wife, and where childhood turned a memory to many more.
The evening following the wedding, Moses was getting undressed before his bath. Family members were still in town, but the party was clearly over. I was pouring lavender bubbles into the water when I heard his small voice: “So was that it? For the wedding?”
Yes, dear one. That was it, for the wedding. That was it, for the Sweet Autumn clematis. And that was it, for your big brother’s time as a child on this earth.
That was it for the wedding. It’s just the beginning, though, of what’s to come. At the threshold of this new life, a new love, the beginning of relationships, with glasses raised, hands together, we celebrate what we have been, who we are, and where we will one day be. There will be more sorrow, grief, unthinkable hard days, loneliness, rain, laughter, belonging, joy, celebration, and sun.
I can’t remember if I made an audible response to my little son’s question. He, though, seemed to have moved on to selecting plastic boats from the bathtub toy basket.
So that was it, for the wedding. That was not it for the adventurous supply of spirits for the anticipated day or for the tissue paper flowers handmade by a sweet sister which still hang elegantly from a sycamore branch in the barn. That was not it for occasions to celebrate at the farm. And that was not it, I hope, for the Sweet Autumn clematis, though the splendor of its bloom could not have made for a brighter day.
I love you, Sam and Emily.
“Tomorrow will always come, and tomorrow may well bring the sun.”
–Ben Howard, “Three Tree Town”
If you find meaning in my writing, kindly share. My second book, “Ode to a Boy”, is now available at http://www.lulu.com.