Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Down The Aisle

This Week's CSA Harvest:

Zucchini and Summer squash
New Red Potatoes
Broccoli (for Tuesday. The Friday folks had some last week)
Napa Cabbage
Green onions

I've been brewing a post for awhile about weddings in my head. This year marks 10 years of marriage for John and me. Ironically, we met at a wedding (which we both-- uninvited- crashed). We didn't grow up dreaming of being in the wedding business. John thought he would be an artist. He says he didn't think too hard about it. I was a always going to be a farmer, but somewhere along the way, I also became a midwife. The wedding business, believe it or not, is very similar to the birth business in the sense that it is a huge exercise in walking people through their misplaced anxiety. Here are some observations:

1. When a woman would come to me pregnant, I would walk her through the process of growing a baby. Every visit, she would come with questions and concerns and preoccupations. Its a layering process. She would be worried about the size of the baby, will the baby fit, the labor, will she know its labor, the birth, will the baby fit, the pain. Hardly ever would a woman mention any concern about how she will be as a mother, how the baby will fit into her tidy life, how it will change her relationship. It's the same with weddings. I meet these sweet couples, and we focus on details and design. They stress about the linens, the menu, the favors. They never speak of the changes, the union to come, the life after the wedding.

2. When I take care of a woman in labor, she's not of herself, she's let go, making room for another love in her heart. This translates into a lot of terse comments for the time she's giving birth and then the clouds lift, the birds start singing and the sky is blue as she smiles and looks up and I would see that friend I met 9 months ago when she first stepped in to my office, finally holding the sweetest prize and all I can think about as I wipe the tears away (cause I cry at every birth and every wedding and every AT&T commercial from the 90's) is what an honor it is to be present to witness great love. With the wedding, we spend some time....maybe 9 months, maybe 6... (depends on if the couple is personality type A or B) planning, talking scheming. They often aren't thinking a lick about the marriage. The focus is on the large party with a union of family and friends that feels overwhelming at times. Sometimes, they get lost in the details, fraught with what I like to call their misplaced anxiety...focused on the single serving jam party favors and the perfect hemstitch napkins. But then, they process down the aisle, and, like birth, they make room, at some point as they're traveling to the altar, for another true love in their heart. The venue isn't important, the tent doesn't matter, the dress is second fiddle. As popular as the 15 minute wedding ceremony is in America, there is still something to it .... to the moment these two people open up and let the other one in for the long haul, with witness. That's what we're celebrating when we help folks have a wedding. We're celebrating the honor of being witness to the heart growing larger.

And, when we are lucky enough to make it just a little more beautiful with our flowers or just a little more comfortable at our farm or just a little easier because I had some effective comment during a phone meeting, the profoundness of what we are contributing to, the love we are supporting, is never lost on us. Even when we put the last drunk wedding guest from a wedding here at the farm on to a shuttle bus to head back to Portland for the afterparty, we often

embrace each other and laugh about how we ended up stumbling into the wedding business. We wonder if anyone met at the wedding who will later be married. We wonder if the flowers were just right. We wonder what can we do better next time to help each couple navigate the space between engagement and moment they stand in front of all those they love. Once the ceremony is over, the reception feels much like the time shortly after the birth, its just like the afterglow once the baby is in that momma's arms for the first time. A huge sigh of relief, a huge knowing moment between beings.  A cocktail and some tasty hors d'oeuvres help but mostly its the reality that you've committed to love, to knowing an open heart, to knowing a lasting union.

The honor of being present for this never gets old.



  1. That was absolutely beautiful! I think you put into words what so many of us think through when helping to plan a wedding. Well said!

  2. Stacy ~ Your blog is such a joy to read, and experience! Your words are simply eloquent and very touching!
    This "business" of weddings is so much more than the little details and your brides are VERY lucky to have you :)