It’s so rare in life that everything goes your way. So often we spend our days battling with entropy as our world seems to stay in a perpetual state of near disasters. It’s rare that everything goes right, and even rarer that this happens on the day that you commit yourself to another. Nature has always been my religion, the place I go to find peace and solace. It seemed fitting that Thilde and I would say our vows to each other in the middle of the body of water I had grown to love the most, Cayuga Lake.
The sound of over a hundred kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards bumping together as the waves rolled by. We hadn’t rehearsed the words we were going to say, but that was fine because life wasn’t meant to be rehearsed. I was lucky enough to choose to be with a woman who cared little for words anyway. Thilde was a woman who cherished actions and affection over words. We had made it this far, and convinced 150 people to gather themselves together in the middle of Cayuga Lake for a most unconventional ceremony to celebrate our love.
Thilde and I shared briefly together, she talked about meeting me and the things that had drawn her to me, I spoke of how much I loved her and how I would support her over the years. Both of us had suffered from great illnesses in our lives and we knew the importance of standing together when one of us was sick.
There was so much that was wonderful about the wedding. Our friend and neighbor Anna baked a giant monstrous mound of fudge that was several feet tall served on a giant block of natural edged wood. It looked like a wedding cake for a most decadent woodland wedding. Thilde’s dress for the occasion was a frilly mesh green dress that would have been fitting for any fairy princess. Allison made a crown of flowers that did the impossible task of making Thilde look even more beautiful than she already was. Everything that we had worked so hard for months to accomplish was finally coming together.
As we paddled out to the center of the lake Hank Roberts played beautiful music on his amplified aluminum cello perched in a canoe. After Thilde and I shared with each other we opened up space for others to share from themselves. Many songs were sung and poems were read which brought tears to my eyes. People praised Thilde and I with such passion and honestly I felt like I might be attending my own funeral. People who I had been friends with for decades and whose relationships I had often struggled with were there and saying kinder words about me than I ever would expect that they would. It was an incredibly moving occasion. It ended when we jumped into the lake signifying the plunge that is a lifetime commitment to another.
I realized something precious that for each friend or family member that had slighted me, I had found a way to let it go. While I had been learning this lesson, they had been doing the same for me. I had forgiven them. When you love someone you let stuff go, and then continue to let things go as many times and with as much frequency as you are able to.
The planning was hard, trying to figure out who to invite and who not to invite was so difficult for me that in the end I decided to invite everyone. I don’t like exclusivity and I also don’t like to be excluded so I invited everyone and figured that the people who wanted to show up would show up. Although it made me sad how many people could not make it, I was also overjoyed at all the people who took the time to show up.
There was dancing to be had from the wonderful spirited piano playing of Ed Clute and many of my friends sang songs with him including Diana Leigh and Elly Holiday. Dancing to their songs in the grass under the smiling sun was one of my favorite parts of the day. Hank Roberts played his amazing and unconventional horn fiddle with Ed as an accompaniment and songs that really brought to life the magic that is love and life.
The ceremony came to a close and everyone reconvened at Thilde’s house where mountains of freshly prepared food and drink awaited all who were willing to make the long trek to Truxton. Our neighbor Colleen’s band played first and they sung many wonderful songs including one called ‘Messy Efficiency’ that was written about our relationship. I particularly loved that song and felt like it was an amazing gift to us, transforming so much of what we had struggled with together into good humor and fun. As night set in the band Jalamyst set up with their 6 person band and started their wonderful dance set which lasted for hours. So many people danced their hearts out there on the hill with the fireflies and bullfrogs as their only witness as we were miles away from civilization. The dance was a celebration of the most precious gift we can experience in this life, the gift of love. To care for another and have them reciprocate that love is the most wonderful feeling I have ever felt.
After midnight the band shut down and Karlie and Lyca did a fire performance that blew away anything I had seen in my 8 trips to Burning Man. Our collective jaws dropped when Karlie was did a head stand while still twirling a flaming hoop on the tip of her toes. We were all collectively spellbound by the skill and the beauty of the performance.
My overwhelming feeling at the end was one of gratitude, to the people who gave so much of themselves to help me plan and execute the ceremony, to all the people who took time out of their lives to attend, but mostly gratitude for the woman who was willing to take a risk with me. A risk that I hope will pay off in droves over the years as I tirelessly work together with her to build a life that is truly exceptional. The thing that Thilde and I have in common that most people don’t is completely unrealistic expectations of what our lives will become. We are both willing to work tirelessly not just for a relationship and life that is ordinary, but one that is completely exceptional in every way.
Here’s to sharing unreasonable love and expecting the impossible from this life, the only one we will ever live.