Apparently, the traditional gift for a fifth anniversary is something made of wood. Well, I guess I got our wooden arbor up just in time to celebrate five years of marriage to my beautiful wife, Elie.
Five years ago this morning we had breakfast with friends before a casual walk through the ceremony. There was the talk with my father, walking down the gravel road together; there was the scene of heightened emotion in Elie’s “dressing room.” And then there was us, walking down the steps from my grandparents’ cabin, arriving at the edge of Long Lake, facing a hundred friends and family members. They looked out and over our shoulders at the lake’s unspooling distance, at the trees’ rise.
At one point I played guitar and we sang, leading everyone in a version of Greg Brown’s “Sprind Wind.” There were the little fumbles that made it real and raw and not too orchestrated. And suddenly, we were paddling off in an 85-year-old wood canvas canoe with our people, and one part of our life, behind us. It was surreal to arrive beyond the island and face each other, the weight of all we’d promised right there in the boat. I think we both cried a little, smiling. And then we turned around and headed back toward all those smiling faces and waiting arms.
Elie had asked me to marry her in that same boat on that same lake a year earlier during my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary—that lake that has been in my family’s history for well over a hundred years. And the spot we stood as we joined our lives was not incidental either. It was the same patch of ground where my parents were married 26 years before us.
Our life together has been good, deepened by the addition of River. It, and we, will continue to grow, for which I am thankful. Elie is a marvelous lady; I am a lucky man.