Sunday, June 14, 2009

And Earth Is Ablaze / And Ocean Aglow

Someone I know in the wedding business told a story about a bride who had finally realized that she was getting too wound up about every uncontrollable detail of the wedding: The weather, a baby crying during the ceremony, what if the limo got a flat tire? As the wedding approached, someone else involved in the wedding plans received an email from this bride asking if the wedding site's event planner could please arrange for a pod of Orcas and dolphins to swim by at the end of the ceremony? It took a minute, but that this request was a joke did dawn on everyone.

Bink and Mr. Bink got married about six months before Zirpu and I did, in a beautiful back yard on an island in Washington State. It was a large wedding party, with seven attendants on each side - my impression was that Mr. Bink was attended by his former crew teammates, while Bink was attended by women who had been or would be part of her life for many years.

Bink had asked me to read something during the ceremony, but I didn't have a copy of the William Jay Smith poem until Zirpu and I arrived. We had taken a ferry to the island and booked a room in an inn "downtown"; during the afternoon before the wedding I sat on the balcony overlooking the Sound and quick-memorized the words. This is a technique I use that only holds the words in my head for a few hours, but it would allow me to look up and out at the gathered folks while reading.

"Now touch the air softly,
Step gently, One, two. . .
I'll love you till roses are robin's-egg blue;
I'll love you till gravel
Is eaten for bread,
And lemons are orange,
And lavender's red."

Though it was late September, the day was as warm as midsummer, a lot warmer than any of us off-islanders had expected. Bink had jokingly said that she hoped a rainbow would appear over the wedding, but it was a clear day with only a few white clouds in the sky. Immediately after the ceremony, the minister asked all of us guests to remain seated as the photographer wanted to get some photos of the wedding party standing on the deck behind us (so they would be facing the water as well). We all watched as the newlyweds and their friends walked up the aisle to the deck and while the photographer got everyone placed.

I heard a mutter and then another, and looked out toward the water. The timing couldn't have been better: Not only was it after the ceremony, but it was at the moment when the newlyweds were facing the water. Not a rainbow, as Bink had joked about, but a pod of Orcas was swimming through the nearby channel.

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