06/24/2013 by syrbal-labrys
What an exhausting weekend we had! Full of simple pleasures, to be sure….but still so wiped out I could fall back into bed! We began Friday afternoon with preparation for our Summer Solstice bonfire….it is our pagan anniversary fire and we invited some friends, which is a bit rare lately. I am a pretty ritual-lite sort of pagan because I view my life as my ritual, so to speak. And the guests invited were not pagan, very curious and possibly anticipating a show. So, I felt rather bound to be an automatic disappointment!
But it was a nice evening, we shared a simple meal, I explained my somewhat very-not-DAvid-Copperfield ritual as a lighting of the fire to remind ourselves to STAY afire in life. One set of guests, expecting to pass through going to a hike on Saturday relaxed so much they spent the night; the other guests arrived very late but had a marvelous time with the three year old guest discovering a thousand fascinating aspects of our household. One of the sweetest moments of the night was her falling asleep on my sofa watching The Muppets!
Saturday morning was a leisurely breakfast on the patio and more talk on all kinds of things, the sort of talk that happens when people who like deeper conversations FINALLY get a chance and simply cannot get ALL of it in at once. This had to end with our sudden preparation to depart for a wedding in Seattle, so off the would-be-hikers went to Mt. Rainier as we threw on less casual duds and jumped in the car just after the noon hour.
And then hell-on-wheels did ensue. The wedding was at four o’clock, so leaving our house about 50 miles away should get us there in plenty of time, we said. No, not so much; at two minutes to four we were still not there — a detour where the northbound highway 99 viaduct was closed trapped us in traffic where it took almost two hours to travel 7/10 of a mile! So, we missed the wedding of two dear women who have waited NINETEEN years for the opportunity to legally marry. We changed the GPS to direct us to the reception site, rather than arrive so late at the church as to walk in mid-ceremony. After FOUR HOURS in traffic, we arrived and sat down to de-stress before everyone else arrived.
The reception was heart-warming; the first dance of the newlyweds was to the song “At Last” and that was perfection. We ate, we toasted; but unusually for me, I did not dance. I was partially exhausted by the traffic ordeal, but mostly I was afraid of bursting into tears. Here were two lovely dear people surrounded by family and friends celebrating their wedding and I felt like someone stuffed me under Sylvia Plath’s bell jar! What I felt wasn’t envy so much as a wistfulness so strong as to be corrosive.
My wedding, at a beautiful old building in downtown Berlin, Germany was not much of a celebration. Our families (admittedly gratefully) were not present. My mother had said, “So, you are marrying some shit-kicker?” His mother had said, “So, you are marrying some German whore?” (Or words to that effect). Our friends took bets on how many weeks or months our union would last. Our commanding officer gave us the only wedding gift we received — a tiny crystal sugar dish and creamer. Our families never came around, we two black sheep retained that status in spite of our best efforts to be warm and loving to each other and our families. It has been 36 years of the rockiest road and all along, friends just snapped “Oh, grow up, get a divorce!” and our families castigated us for ever assuming we might make a life. How dare we? So, the contrast at the Saturday wedding left me limp with mourning for what suddenly seemed like an impoverished sort of life!
We drove home, thankfully through more normal traffic and hastily ate a late snack and collapsed into our bed. Sunday we were so exhausted I didn’t even answer emails. And my husband said he read my Solstice post on the perils of monogamy and asked me, “You really hate monogamy, don’t you?” I sighed and said, “No, I really hate hypocrisy. That post was not about us, or about me wanting to cat around…it was about how everyone talks about “good old times jumping fires with exciting new partners” while living in a Christianized culture so deep that pagans merely flirting catch a public raft of crap.” I re-assured him I wasn’t yearning for strange and ephemeral intimacies in the light of bonfires on hillsides. I’m still awaiting something like intimacy in my normal day to day life!
So, justice almost of a magical sort, eh? I bitch about the careful lives of pagans I’ve observed (one woman almost spitting like a cat at a Beltane celebration when a man touched her SHOULDER, while she pontificated about it being the season of love); and then have to admit that I live a nearly friendless existence with only very immediate family? I am most reminded, after this short and busy weekend, of a Catholic sermon I once heard from a priest-Amerindian medicine man wherein he spoke of the brokenness of individuals building a broken culture. My mate and I are both broken and scarred with PTSD, we have guarded each other and ourselves from the very intimacy we crave most — because we fear being pronounced unworthy.
So Midsummer ensues; fruit swells on vines and vegetables grow underground. And we find ourselves hungering in the season of plenty. We’ve both had our hands slapped so many times we fear to even reach for the sustenance we need! I’m glad we made it to that celebration of a life of love, even if we missed the ceremony. I’m glad that upon the night before, we lit up the night with our fire….and I hope I have kindled new fires in my chilled and blighted heart with recognition of the hollowness there. I’m sealing the cracks that let love run out of that busted heart…and I lay awake last night listening to summer rain drumming on my roof; may it water the seeds planted at the wedding party I witnessed!