Runnin' from the cold up in New England, I was born to be a fiddler in an old time string band..."Wagon Wheel," by Old Crow Medicine Show
Four days ago, as Tyler and I drove out of our muddy, squelching driveway to embark on a 14-hour trek to the Carolinas, I felt hopeless, weighted down by uncertainty and gloomy weather. Now, piloting our little silver car home to Vermont after our friends Ian and Lizza's epic wedding, I feel rejuvenated, and my heart is overflowing with love.
The moment we pulled into Saluda Inn's gravel parking lot, we were whisked away for deep, strong hugs by my dear college friends. That night, the eve of the wedding, we enjoyed a delicious feast. Afterward, we gathered around a bonfire (lit ceremoniously by the pyromaniac bride and groom) and raised toasts to Ian and Lizza, sharing stories of their love and many goofy antics.
The next day, most of us had a morning and the better part of an afternoon to hang out before the festivities began. How wonderful was the utterly soul-satisfying business of simply being together! We spent the day lazily puttering around town, catching up, laughing, and celebrating the joyous occasion.
I hear my baby callin' my name"Wagon Wheel," by Old Crow Medicine Show
And I know that she's the only one...
Ian and Lizza's wedding ceremony was short and sweet, held in a woodland paradise by a crystal clear pond (Tyler and I had such pond jealousy!), under a sunflower-studded archway, handmade by Ian's mother. The vows (I'm looking at you, Ian) were intimate and soul-stirring—far more romantic than any book or movie. There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd!
Supper was a pig-pickin': barbecued pork, macaroni and cheese, and a rainbow of roasted vegetables, eaten on tables decorated with vases of wild, summery flowers peppered with sinuous garlic scapes. Dessert was a towering carrot cake, whimsically decorated with fruit, baked by the mother of the groom. An old-time band played the whole evening, creating the perfect soundtrack for a Carolina wedding.
My friends and I love dancing. I think the band was happily surprised by our enthusiasm, and by the impromptu contra dance we conjured up, populated with a good mix of seasoned dancers as well as newbies (Tyler was great at contra swinging!). We spun 'round and 'round so fast, we shrieked with dizzying delight.
When we were out of breath, Tyler and I took a break from dancing to go for a walk at twilight, wandering the woodland paths around the pond. From afar, the party was even more spellbinding than it was on the dance-floor: with iconic summer fireflies blinking in the night sky, twinkle-lights hanging from the rafters, old time music lilting through the air, and lanterns swaying in the breeze, it was truly an enchanted evening.
When we were ready to rejoin the fray, we took to the dance floor with renewed enthusiasm. Somebody even paid for an extra set from the band! Our friends Annie and Gianluca joined in, too, adding their talent to the fiddle and banjo sections.
Finally, after their second set was through, the band packed up and went home amid our resounding waves of applause. Unwilling to embrace The End—and with it, our group's inevitable dispersal across the country—Lucy turned on an iPod, and we all kept dancing as most of the guests went home.
As we twirled and swung, fists pumping, leaping around, my heart soared with love and gratitude. What a privilege to be among such beautiful souls, what a gift it was to be able to wrap our newly married friends with love and light. And what a magical party!
Eventually, the last song played its final note, and we fell into each others' arms for lingering goodbyes. After working together to put away chairs and tables, we walked quietly back to our cars along candlelit paths, happy, silent, peaceful.
My dear friends, my people: you heal me with your energy, your childlike sense of wonder, your lack of pretension, your creativity, and the way you love without fear. You all laugh harder and louder than anybody else I know, and I love each and every one of you for it. Thank you all for being in my life!
Ian and Lizza, thank you for bringing us together, for throwing the greatest bash ever, and for loving one another so freaking well. I wish you all the happiness in the world as you continue on your journey together.