25 Years, Uncelebrated

low tide
low tide

I imagined a big celebration for our 25th–enacted “back home” at the shore with extended family & old friends–but that’s as far as I got. It was very sweet. There were strawberries. Dark chocolate. Tequila. And nachos (our first, favorite food together.) There was a ceremony, honoring the divine feminine and masculine (very unusual for the Jersey shore.) And there words like those below, shared by loved ones.

But I realized that I preferred it my imagination without the practicality and inevitable complication of pulling it altogether.

Alternately, I imagined a big trip, like our friends took for their 25th–to Greece!–but that didn’t happen either.

Our 25th anniversary year has been a shy one. Simmering. Gently expanding perhaps. Especially at this time of year–summertime–when the living is easy–and when we first fell in love with one another–a much sweeter time than our troubled nuptials.

It’s as if I’m waiting. For the right moment. The compelling knowing. The path to emerge from the earth itself. Like the mystery of love bubbling up inside a soul.

If I look back on this blog, I see that our marriage entered a period of turbulence, this time last year. I’d say it’s still here, though in its denouement.

We were cycling out of another turbulent period like this  one when we celebrated our last big milestone, here in the mountains. Most of our family couldn’t make the 300 mile trip, but after knowing us for a scant decade and a half, local friends came out in hoards–70 of them–to celebrate love and commitment and the realities of relationship at the 21 year mark.

After we undid our vows, our neighbor spoke these words:

… Over a sixteen-year span, I saw more than just two people in love. I saw clearly what Kelly calls “The Marriage Journey”, and I saw more. I saw children born and the evolution of dwelling and place, times of both pulling in and reaching out. I witnessed them in scarcity and abundance, physical separation and togetherness. Between Kelly and Casey, there exists mutually the exploration of passion: the passion they have for each other, as well as, the passion for their individuated paths, the ones on which they strike out more and more as they mature into a couple made up of two living as one, one living as two, and of course the couple as pillars to their families.

And so, Kelly and Casey, on this day of rapture, this joyous honoring of your past, your present, and your future, I speak for us all, when I share this stanza from Little Gidding by TS Elliot, an esteemed wordsmith, who, like the two of you, made his life’s work a homage to both soul and society…

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

There’s some secret in there that I long to know. Perhaps it points the way to us in this remarkable, long-term relationship that inspires others and nourishes ourselves and terrifies me in all the ways it might end, including that inevitable–death.

(may 2015)

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