Wedding

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My daughter married the man she loves on Saturday.  I have a thousand thoughts and ten thousand emotions swirling inside me.  And somehow, my words don’t work.  But Neil Gaiman’s do.  He wrote these for friends, on the occasion of their wedding and has generously given permission for others to use them.  So, this is what the bride’s father read for his toast, and what I will share here.

This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing
This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing

Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.

It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.
Somebody’s got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.

It’s not two broken halves becoming one.
It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together

So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing
-like a book without pages or a forest without trees.

Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,
and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.

And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.

And that’s all I know about love.

-Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year!

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“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”  -Neil Gaiman, and me

Cat Tale

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It is amazing how a little pile
of fur and bones
of whiskers and purrs
can claim a human heart
can fill a human heart
and

how its suffering
can break
a human heart
and call from the human
both her best and her worst
and how completely
helpless
that human can
feel

 

This is in memory of Frank, my daughter’s cat who left us November 24 of this year.  It is linked to Joy’s FF55 at Verse Escape, with a nod to the late, great G-Man.

Stepping into Darkness

We step into darkness
both knowing
and not knowing
that we know nothing

With hands
outstretched
feeling along cave walls
we come to
an opening
eyes wide
but unseeing
breeze whispers
at our cheek
if
we only
listen

What oceans, fields, forests
does it carry?
What skies
has it traveled through
just
to touch us?

This is for Joy’s resurrection of Friday 55 at her remarkable blog, Verse Escape.

The Road Outside My Door

Today I drive fast
through the cold, overcast morning.
I’ve traveled this highway many times
know the blind curve
before Hansen’s driveway
and watch for draft horses
pulling the cultivator
as I approach Krueger’s.

Spring fields
are just beginning to show
a chartreuse sheen
but I have seen them palest yellow
burnished gold
lavish green
and a dozen shades from white to grey
beneath the snow,
or glistening deep, black in the rain
or so dry that dust clouds
follow tractors down the rows.
Dutch Crick runs parallel on the west
Some years it swells from spring rains
so the waters push up out of their banks
and over the fields
impatient to reach the valley’s end
like me.

Along the side of the road
I have seen dead deer, cats, coons
possums, fox, birds
and one live dog
who now makes his home with me.
Today turkey vultures gather,
like congress,
shoulder to shoulder
in a nearby field
greedy to get all they can,
like congress.

In January, bald eagles light
in the oak trees at the edge of the road
across from Sandman’s farm;
I’ve counted as many as seven.
Wild turkeys dot the side-hills in spring
too many to count
so we have hunting seasons for them.

There are mornings
when the ground fog nestles in the valley
and I drive up and out
into the dazzling sun of a different day.
In fall when the leaves turn
brown, yellow, orange
of oak, birch, maple
and I smell the wood smoke
rising from farmhouse chimneys
I count these days precious.

Coming home in the afternoons
waiting behind the school bus
I wave to the children
who wave to me
through the back window.
Butch drives the bus
haltingly
through the valley
depositing each child
at his rightful place
along the road.

At night warm light
from each farmhouse along the way
punctuates the dark
marks a home, a family, a circle of souls
that call to me;
yet, there have been winter nights
when the full moon
has shown so brightly on the snow
I have turned off my headlights
and driven through the valley
drawn out to 
solitude.

As I race down Highway 162
from between its lines
tucked and twisted through the hills
I recall the thousand faces
this road has shown me
through different times and seasons
and I slow down to look
for it will never be just this way again.