My beloved speaks and says to me:
"Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away...
My beloved is mine, and I am his;
My beloved in mine, and I am hers.
We pastures our flock among the lilies.
Come, my beloved,
let us go forth into the fields,
and lodge in the villages;
let us go out early to the vineyards,
and see whether the vines have budded,
whether the grape blossoms have opened
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13,16 and 7:11-12
Sunday 30 May 2010: my father celebrated his 85th birthday and was born again into a new marriage! Both he and his bride lost the first loves of their lives in the last two years due to sorrowful deaths. (I still grieve my mother, and wanted to call her often last Saturday, while waiting for Lily to be born.) So for both Dad and Lynn it is a risk to love again, knowing that loving means the joy of loving, caring and sharing and also the grief of releasing, grieving and saying farewell.
They chose to be wed in the garden behind our home, under the bridal bushes. And as Solomon and his bride sought each other in vibrant rural vineyards and fields, they spoke their words of commitment under the open sky and a canopy of trees.
My favorite weddings have been in parks, back gardens, on farms and at camps. The couple and guests “come away” to be surrounded with beauty and all the fecundity of the natural world. Or, like my husband and I, to enjoy the bright and sometimes blizzard like beauty of winter. We were married at a camp in Michigan in January thirty three years ago. Guests came to spend the weekend in cabins, play football on the frozen lake, cross country ski, and sit around the fire in the lodge telling stories and then dancing. And we shared our vows simply, like Dad and Lynn, in a small circle of loved ones.
On days like these it seems there is some force of nature that calls out “LOVE!” from the fields and the forests, lakes and streams. It seems a safer more expansive place to let hormones flow, to invite friends into the dance, to spin and laugh until we cry, to glimpse the promise of goodness blossom.
I admit the first wedding I remember that captivated my romantic imagination was definitely urban. In the artificial lights of dark, mysterious Manhattan my cousin was married in a spectacular Jewish-Gentile celebration. There were vows under a cloth canopy punctuated with the breaking of wine glasses. And in the luxurious hotel ballroom was a seemingly endless dance floor. And as a blossoming teen, I danced with my father…
So “the country” does not have the only corner on romance.
But I want to remember the Song of Songs as I consider the vibrancy that choreographs love – maybe ultimately love of the earth itself. I will officiate at the wedding of a young organic farmer and his bride at the end of the summer. I hope we will hear Gaia singing the traditional blessing that comes from Guatemala:
The peace of the earth be with you,
the peace of the heavens, too.
The peace of the rivers be with you,
the peace of the ocean, too.
Deep peace falling over you.
God’s peace growing in you.