Thursday, September 28, 2006
One of the first things Melissa and I did, upon arriving, was to search out a place where the ceremony could be held, if it rained. There is a spot where the vine maples grow...I felt the comfort and solace this small, enclosed space held. I can imagine Melissa's children, who grew up here, seeking answers about life and its attendant problems, in this spot. It would have been a favourite place of mine, if I had grown up here.
It is still the perfect spot to journey from.
But the grape vine, running rampant over a trellis, was also beautiful. Melissa's children decorated it with flowers the next morning, after a full night of rain. It looked as if the rain would hold off for the wedding and indeed, it did. We had sunshine for the afternoon.
Good signs abounded during our pre-wedding visit. The energy was high; both Jerr and Melissa were running on adrenaline. Buzz and Deb dropped by; it was Deb's birthday and Jerr and Melissa had thought to buy Deb a cake, so we celebrated a birthday, too.
Time was moving along; we had to check into our motel, which was in Cascade Locks. We had to travel over what seemed the longest, highest bridge anywhere across the Columbia River to get there. The Bridge of the Gods.
I am not good with heights. An understatement. It was pouring with rain and just at twilight. That first time across, I closed my eyes and prayed. We went across that toll bridge so many times, however, I almost got used to it. Almost.
We were rushed as we checked in; Melissa was expecting us for dinner and we had to hurry back. But it was the first time I have seen ear plugs with the compli- mentary shampoos and lotions a motel leaves for its guests.
The train track ran right outside our room window, beside the Columbia River.
Having stayed with Melissa and Jerr before, we were well aware of the trains that thunder past with ever increasing frequency. They are loud. But the clickety-clack of the trains have the wondrous ability to put me to sleep, and within a day I rarely hear them...they just become part of the power of this place.
We returned to Jerr's place for a wonderful lasagna and salad meal, where we met Melissa's daughter and niece. We did not realize how late it was, when Graham, who had brought his Reiki massage table along, gave Jerr a Reiki massage. A Reiki treatment usually takes an hour; this time was no exception. But it was late, close to 11 pm, when we finally travelled back to our motel, once more over that bridge, with promises to return the next morning to help with setup for the wedding.
But Jerr and Melissa had most of the setup done, when we arrived the next day. Only the food was left to have the finishing touches added. Weddings can make me anxious; even if the people who are actually getting married are calm...I can get pretty wound up. This day was no exception...I was picking up tension, feeling the heaviness in my chest, the closer it got to 2 pm. I busied myself with my camera, trying not to show I was having trouble breathing.
I met Jerr's Mom, one of the most elegant, gracious elderly ladies I have yet to meet. As she prepared and added the finishing touches to what seemed like mountains of food, she told me at her age she doesn't worry anymore. And then, she busied herself even more.
I wandered away, preparations complete. Guests were arriving; things were heating up, and I felt the need for solitude. What better place than this to meditate and speak with my guides? In the midst of the hubbub, there were still spots that enclosed me, that gave me energy. That centred and grounded me. It has taken a long time for me to understand the need for this bit of alone time, in a crowd. To understand the need to connect...to Mother Earth and to Father Sky...and to feel the guidance that surrounds me, if I become aware.
And then...the Reverend arrived. Jerr and the Reverend go back a long way as classmates in university. And suddenly, the purpose of this gathering became bright and shiny clear.
Jerr walked to the trellis with his Mom, who settled down on a bench nearby. Belinda, Jerr's sister, stood with him. Melissa walked her path with Allison, her daughter.
Jerr, a distinguished Vietnam Veteran, and Melissa, a strong, caring Social Worker, spoke eloquent words of truth and honesty to each other, merging their lives before us all. Tears fell freely; my own eyes were swimming with tears, giving a shimmery quality to the incredible energy that surrounded the trellis. We witnessed a true blending of souls.
The trains held off, while the words of the wedding were being spoken. The Reverend introduced, in his wonderfully booming voice, the newlyweds. People shook themselves, waking up from the magical quality we had all experienced, just moments before.
And the celebration began. Food began to pour out of the house...salads, Buzz's beans, vegetables and dip, all colourfully arranged on a groaning table. The BBQ's were started.
I wandered to the side of the lawn, overlooking the lake. In company with Bonnie, a Massage Therapist, I watched Eagle circle over us. He was young and new, but he came with a message from Spirit...one of happiness and peace, with awareness of each other's needs and desires. Eagle brought the highest of good intentions from Creator.
I watched in awe, understanding and hearing from Eagle how absolutely right this event was.
Jerr and Melissa had uncanny Energy that day; Graham and I ran out of it in the late afternoon...
We met early again, the next morning at the motel and rehashed the wedding. At one point, I counted 101 box cars on a train that went by just below our balcony; so our speech sometimes became loud. Guests from the wedding wandered by on the river walkway, sharing their impressions...it turned into another celebration.
We all took in the huge Sunday Buffet Brunch at the Grill next door to our Motel. They have the best Dilled Salmon I have ever tasted. I have tried to replicate it, but no go. This recipe is one of those things I will just enjoy here, at this restaurant. Another "exotic" food...biscuits and gravy, a dish we don't usually have in Canada, is one of the foods I love here.
Graham loved the waffles, with whipped cream and fruit.
We parted, then, all of us...Jerr and Melissa on a trip down the Rogue River, other guests back to their homes, and Graham and I on our way to a replica of Stonehenge, then following the Columbia River northward.
The great Energy we had acquired at witnessing this magical wedding propelled us forward, giving added impetus to our journey on the road, chronicled in my next post.