Today was the second anniversary of my marriage to Aida. I call it that, although it wasn't legal or sanctioned by any office of the state. As my friend Lisa likes to say, "Feh." Ain't no never mind about that justice of the peace; the good Dean presided over a wedding as real as any other.
I proposed marriage to her on the first anniversary of our first real date; a coffee in what she would come to call The Piazza of Wild Horses. It was, in fact, a courtyard outside of a then-Deidrich's coffee shop. On the first anniversary of that date, I took her back to the Piazza of Wild Horses and helped her as she unsteadily moved to its middle (dark now, as the Deidrich's was in flux on its way to becoming a Starbucks) and I asked her to marry me. She said yes immediately, even before I could tell her that I had asked her parents and they thought it was worth a shot too.
She said yes.
And so, on the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo and no we didn't really plan it that way ... it just happened) we stood in the loving company of our dearest friends and family and we pledged our convergent paths. Our hearts. All the days of our lives. You know, until death do us part.
We stood beneath the swaying blessing of the tree in the backyard and were embraced by its green promise of life and renewal. It came to be known as The Wedding Tree from that day forward.
I used it often as a focus, a landmark of sorts, to help Aida to understand where she was during those last months; an elaborate and sometimes harrowing game of "Where in the World Is Aida?". I would call her first to The Wedding Tree -- "do you remember our Wedding Tree? Yes? Well, that's in the backyard, which is also where we are tending the oak seedlings and acorns; where we feed the sparrows and scrub jays; where the sunflowers are nodding; where we find the feathers. And the backyard is just beyond that door -- just beyond this house where we live with our family." Just beyond this room, where we laughed and loved and listened for the angels.
The Wedding Tree was always the first step in finding home.
Today, on our anniversary, I married Aida for a second time. Early this morning and wrapped in her beautiful rebozo, I walked barefoot to our Tree and there I dug into the sandy earth and spread some of her ashes. Strange, heavy ashes. And with the heavy dust of her clinging to my hands, I sang the silly little song that we made up for one another, read the poem we had chosen for our ceremony, and renewed the vows of my heart. Only this time, no parting.
The Wedding Tree is the first step towards home.