HFH: Ceremony


I could have stood there forever waiting for the guests to be seated.

Our guests raced to join our ceremony. All my friends, all our families–we were so happy!

Sequoia was a little peeved–I never did figure out why! She chilled at the reception, but throughout the ceremony, she glared.

Elder and I both felt like we could spend the rest of our lives waiting there under the arch for our friends and family to arrive. It’s moments that make up life–and that moment. That moment was full to over-brimming with the sweet fullness that only a seed at the moment of germination can feel.


“Babe! This is it!”

We had a chance to steal a kiss while we waited for Emma to make her way down from the porch.


Take your time, Emma. We’ve got eternity.

And then, everyone was gathered.


It’s time.

I gazed at our family and friends gathered to witness.


Everyone I love, here at this place. At this time.

Elder took a moment to acknowledge his dad.


Always with us.

And then, silence circled us. Even the birds paused their song.


This is it.

I had to reach inside and feel that deep source from where my words come. I had to remember Sequoia’s words and the significance of ceremony, with family and friends, to recognize the shifting of life’s moments.

I had to be braver than I have ever been to share these words that meant so much to me and to invite our family and friends to take part in this ceremony that meant so much to us.

And then, this spring of joy welled up in me, and I just rode that joy out onto the wind and let it carry my words.


Follow that joy!

I looked at Elder, and in as clear of a voice as I could project, I said,

Elderberry Wolff, you show me, through being you, what it is to be me. You know that one and one isn’t two. It’s one-one. We are not two halves of the whole. We are both whole. We are whole when we are apart. And we are whole when we are together. I am not more when I’m with you, and less when I am alone. You help me to see that I Am–I always am. As You always Are.

When we are together, we create something new. More than you. More than me. And now, hearts in hands, we stand before family and friends, and we invite them to join us in celebration of the new.


Words can’t even come close.

When we are old, we will still have within us all that is new to us now. It will be as sweet, and as fresh, as it is this instant, though it has been flowing through us for fifty years or more, for it will always renew from the source. Friends, family, all you whom we love, keep this source in you pure and flowing, as we now pledge to do, too.


“Is this beautiful, or what?”

I said it, and I didn’t stumble or choke or cry.


My words found home within him.

Then Elder said, in his clear voice,

One heart, two hands
I stand here a finite man.
Yet the sea that flows in you, in me
Connects us to infinity.


This pattern of two eyes
one mouth
we see in each
in every face.
My hand, your hand,
two legs each.


This pattern
One and two

Repeats, repeats again

In repetition of the same
We find that which is true.


My father loved my mother
His father, his mother, too.

And so the waves,
on every shore,
over pebbles echo
my love for you.


“Wear my ring.”

I put his ring on his finger. I don’t like to wear jewelry. I don’t like the cold metal against my skin and I don’t like the symbolism of wearing a ring. So my hand remained free and bare. But my lips were ringed by his.


Ring me with with your lips and hands!

And then, Easter burst into a story.

“I always knew he’d end up in a big old house full of love!” she said.


“I saw this day coming!”

“Kiss a frog,” she said, “And you will always have a happy ending!”


This happiness!

But not everyone shared our joy.


Oh, I’m sorry, Miho.

I had heard rumors that Miho, who was Elder’s room-mate at Desert Leaders, had hoped that something more might come of their friendship.

I know what it feels like to have fallen in love with Elder and to feel that love might be impossible. Oh, I know that feeling only all too well! I used that feeling to grow, to reach inside me and explore, “What is love? Who am I? How do I learn to love and let go?”

And I wouldn’t trade my experience or what I learned.

And I stand here now, on the other side, from having the love turn around and come true.

Why are we finite, Elder? Why not let that infinity that’s within us spread out onto everyone we love, everyone who loves us? Surely, Ace-of-Cups love is big enough to include Miho, too, and all and everyone!


May you find your true love sometime, Miho.

But we live in a finite world, with finite rules. Our heart’s freedom may stretch to include all, but our daily lives contract to one-one.

There was one other person who had not found our ceremony to be an occasion of joy. Cooper, perhaps to be alone with her memories, perhaps to open her own palms and let go, had left the party early.