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"May we both continue to prosper."

On this date, the Hawthorne tree reliably blooms, scenting the street with apple blossom air. The yard seems simply glorious, a secret garden of subtle delights. So The Muse and I chose this day to marry. Family and friends gathered to meet and celebrate and everyone invited got assigned some small chore, for this was a do it ourselves affair, only possible with the contributions of everyone there. The Muse's aged aunt weeded out the fern bed, bending beside her walker to get her fingers dirty on the afternoon before the formal ceremony. We'd traded a friend for his services as the chef d'jour, grilling whole Copper River Sockeye salmon fillets and fresh cut asparagus. My niece played bartender. The Muse's son and brother wired up the party lights and everybody seemed to schlepp tables and chairs. I made a late afternoon run to a nearby nursery to snatch a load of bark chips to dress up the pond surround. The Muse's sisters helped prep in the kitchen, saving our butts when the vegetarian contingent wondered what on the menu they might consume. Instant magical Pad Thai appeared!

The Muse and I wrote our own ceremony, of course, overseen by the able hand of a man we'd met in one of our workshops, an imposing biker dude with genuine attitude and a disarmingly gentle hand.
I'd written a song as a proposal and performed that. The Muse, using her lector voice, read aloud. One of our purposes for the ceremony involved introducing these two families from far flung origins, knowing they might never connect again, but might well remember this day forever. Our dear friend III, gone now nearly two years, consented to perform his monologue A Name For Myself the night before, to the rapt wonder of everyone, especially the kids who are all grown up and gone on their ways now. If there was ever a timeless day in the history of this world, May the twenty-fifth two thousand and two is that day.

The anniversary revisits as regular as atomic clockwork every year. Some revisits find us struggling, others soaring, but each so far has found us still together, still somehow thriving. I imagine that the community connected that sacred day has certainly helped sustain us, for we recognized then as we still do now, that a marriage extends far beyond the two contracting principals. We have not lost touch with most who were there to witness the convergence. Indeed, our connections with them seem to have grown deeper since, perhaps especially with those who fell into eternity since that day. My son surreptitiously stood that afternoon across the street painting a portrait of our then crooked home, producing an El Greco-like rendering perfectly suited to the cockeyed foundation we'd proposed to construct our forever upon. He handed us the still-wet canvass at the ceremony that night. My darling daughter, always a gifted poet, did what her dad would have done in her place, and carved moving words.

Everything's changed since then. Everything still feels very much the same seventeen dog years later. I think I might have finished that song I'd been hard striving to finish by today. As usual, I'm almost delighted with it and believe that if I only spend much of the rest of the day practicing and performing it to myself, it might be ready to perform this evening. I walked through the greeting card section of a supermarket on Mother's Day and re-experienced just what a bloodless section that can be as frantic browsers with one eye on the adjacent flower section sweated how to say what no greeting card or any bouquet ever managed to say. One may not outsource love. It comes and indeed exists as the Hawthorne flowers, unmistakably scenting the immediate surroundings. The bees buzz and the birds flit in perfect harmony with it and nobody could ever explain why, much less on a mass-produced greeting card selling for three ninety five plus tax.

Love, particularly True Love seems a most curious critter. It does not hold a reliable tell. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but those it does manage to produce seem uniquely memorable. It most dependably produces anniversaries, moments of reverie alongside the everyday same old same olds. It does not seem to age but it does change considerably. Like that old Hawthorne tree, becoming more twisted and tangled every season yet still producing the most sublime blossom and the very sweetest scent. I once thought that one day, I'd replace that gnarled old tree with something straighter and stronger, pruning out the moss and the tangle which periodically showers down in the sidewalk below. I think now that I'd rather go before that tree, needing it reminding me of that sweet, sweet day in a now long-ago late May when a truly epic tale began. May we both continue to prosper.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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