october 23

This day, this twenty-third day of October, is a very special one for me. Fourteen years ago this day would have found my sweet honey and I busily preparing for our little homegrown, homespun wedding way back in a deep Tennessee hollow. The day was brisk and bright, the sky intensely blue with big, white fast-moving clouds. I wore long underwear under my dress, and as soon as the ceremony was complete, I donned my wool coat and hat. And my brother lit a serious bonfire. The first frost of the season came that very night, waiting so politely for us to say our vows and allowing our beautiful garden to remain green and our vibrant flower patches full of life and color.IMG_4938We, Eric and I, had worked hard to make a special day…We spent months cleaning up a big open pavilion where we envisioned our reception, removing old cars, lumber piles, and a few copperheads. We planted big patches of zinnias. We planted dwarf sunflowers in pots, coddling the things along, and hoping our timing would be perfect for our ceremony. (It was!) I made loads of candles. We built a lovely stone alter as our ceremony’s centerpiece. We planted some special fall-blooming crocus at our ceremony site in a chestnut grove, and for months had to fend off (through tears) the neighbor’s (feral) hogs which were hell-bent on digging them up. (If I weren’t a vegetarian at the time, I would have roasted those hogs on a spit for the reception! My brother would have gladly incorporated that into his bonfire, I’m sure!)  We made several batches of wine; rose petal, strawberry, and pomegranate (from fruit that I brought with me when I moved from California). We erected giant Indian corn shocks, plunked pumpkins all over the place, and arranged straw bales with an assortment of blankets for our cathedral. I’m pretty sure most of my family thought I was a little nuts for my style of wedding planning, but Eric and I felt adamant about following our instincts regarding what felt right to us and setting the proper stage for the course of our marriage. I cherish these memories and I cherish this marriage.

This day was just the beginning of so much more. All these years later I still feel blessed with love.

And then…

Four years ago, on the tenth anniversary of our wedding day, this day became even more special to me. In the pre-dawn hours of this twenty-third day of October, in the dim candlelight of our cozy cabin, we welcomed our third child, little miss Olivia Fern, to the world. By far, the best anniversary present ever! She came into the world quickly, and without a lot of fuss. Very much like the easy-going, four year old girl I know now. Happy Birthday, Livi!IMG_4968Now, each year around this time of celebration for our family, we take a short jaunt to nearby Barren River Lake State Park for a day or two. It’s becoming an established family ritual! The park is so lovely this time of year with the autumn foliage and cooler temperatures… so reminiscent of our wedding day. The kids relish the paved bicycle trails (a far cry from our mountain-bike-only terrain on the farm!), we play tennis, football, & frisbee, of course Ira fishes in the lake, and we just generally chill out and enjoy being together. So that’s what we were up to the past few days. Now we are back home and I need to get busy on the sewing machine to finish up a gift, bake a “chocolate cake with chocolate icing” per Livi’s request, and find my dear hubby and give him a smooch…IMG_4955

a wedding

you all probably know by now that i love an alternative to the main stream. whether that be in food choices, career paths or celebrations, i try to create and recreate. my heart leaps when i take part in something truly authentic. societal pull is mighty. like the swiftest current, when we approach one of life’s many rites of passage, the inclination to do what others are doing around you can be so strong.

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for those of us meandering through this life in less traditional ways, celebrating a marriage can pose a real challenge. how do we create a wedding that represents our love? how do we invite our family and friends to share in the joy of our commitment while still holding true to our values? how do we receive the support and blessing of our community without jumping too deeply into the pool of commercialism that so often surrounds a wedding? this can be so daunting that many abandon the opportunity to celebrate this most joyous of life’s events. luckily for me, just yesterday, some dear friends decided to do what i adore. with great care and thought, these folks created a ceremony so true to their family and so delightful to attend, i just can’t stop thinking about it.

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the scene was too perfect to describe: friends and family gathering in a place that represents community better than any i can think of. old friends and new dining and dancing in the glow of love and life. i know it wasn’t easy to create that space. i also know that many of you were there with me and will read this and share another deep sigh of contentment. life is good  love is special. be true to yourself, it is a treasured gift to us all.