August Wedding~Potluck


I gave up my book and my health to the month of August, to my sister’s wedding, to my roots rising up from the sea and arriving in the mountains, en masse, consuming me, until I’d forgotten why I’d left, who I was, and where I’d been heading.

It’s been more than 3 weeks since they’ve retreated, and still I am combing bits and pieces out of my hair, like seaweed, after an August swim.

I loved it as a kid. Not to eat. Never. To lift up from where it had been drying in the sun and the sand and press between finger and thumb.

Too wet and it would squish.
Too dry and it would crumble.
Just right and it would, POP!

What seaweed remains on me has long gone brittle
or is so mushy as to be unworthy of an attempt at popping.

I could complain about the weather, beautiful from the depths of my feverish days on the couch, and now that I’m standing again, dark and dreary and so cold.

But there’s Houston. And friends with cancer. And the White House. So what does my weather matter.

Still, it’s Tuesday, the last Tuesday before school steals summer, so there are cookies at the Farm Stand up the road.

Chocolate chip.

~
If I was sick, say with the flu or maybe cancer, I would lie here, on the couch, like I did for a good long while this afternoon, and do nothing, except listen–to the sound of the breeze through the trees–like I once did for an entire summer of afternoons–the summer my mother lay dying, 300 miles away, my belly full with child, searching for my mother’s face in the leaves, for any sign of her wellbeing, and later, his mouth, on my breast–and instead of getting up and pushing through this hangover of family– an August wedding–too many hellos & goodbyes–in too short a time–instead of chasing away this deep fatigue, this ache in my bones, with food or caffeine or distraction, or even this here–these words I’m expressing–I would remain effortless, without choice, with only the rise and fall of my breath, and the sound of the leaves in the breeze, and my life, my living, and maybe even the world, would be better for it.

~

Except for my husband & son, I spend most every day alone on this hill, on 7 acres (a factor which puts me at risk for dementia, my grown son warns) which leads me to marvel at the number of visiting relatives that passed through these doors–between Thursday and Monday–just about 40!

~
Not only generations gather at a wedding, but ancestors too.
I brought my Nana’s bowl and filled it with garden kale.

(August 2017)

The Hidden Jewel

Stieler/detail, visipix.com

I’ve emptied myself of the riches from my sister’s wedding… or so I thought.

Four consecutive posts in 48 hours are followed by silence, so naturally, I think:  I am done.

I return to my every day life of posting about the weather and the dentist and my simple world in Vermont. But then like the Princess and the Pea, I feel something rubbing. Only it’s a good thing–a hidden jewel, waiting to be claimed.

And that jewel, my friends, is my niece Brielle.

18 years ago, Brielle was given for adoption.  I stood beside her laboring mother (my brave sister) and her adoptive mother (a gracious woman named Margaret) as Brielle came into the world.

I held this baby in my arms and marveled at her dimples (just like my sister’s), and then never saw her again.

Though Brielled didn’t join our family, she joined our hearts. Her kind adoptive family sent photos over the years and every March 8th, we’d celebrate her birthday by sending words of love to my sister.

With the advent of Facebook and live chatting, Brielle’s world grew closer to ours, especially as she came of age. Soon after, the miracles of miracles occurred when Brielle came to Vermont to meet her sister and her birth mother. Within months, she was introduced to the entire family at our younger sister’s wedding shower.

There were a few awkward moments as Brielle was descended upon by this large matriarchal clan–but she quickly held her own among its bold beauties–and we were one. So much so, that the precious gift of her presence at the wedding this past August could go unnoticed; as if she was always meant to be there among the smiling faces and good spirits of our treasured nieces and nephews.

And so she is. And we are blessed!

Kelly Salasin, 2010

Sleeping Beauty–Brielle surrounded by her birth aunts (and uncle, and cousin) while she napped at my sister’s baby shower the following year.

ps. In 2013, we all descended upon Brielle’s wedding.

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