Friday, July 23, 2010

M. and I received a number of surprise gifts for our wedding--all of them thoughtful, beautiful, and often tied to particular places so that our living room now contains in every corner a reminder of the love and care of far-flung friends and relatives. It’s a lovely feeling to wrap myself in the mohair blanket from New Zealand, look at a fantastic print by an artist friend residing in San Francisco and headed soon for Germany, admire the stunning pottery from Powell River, and a walnut salad bowl from Oregon. We received a bird carved out of willow from Scotland as well as a traditional silver quaiche (drinking vessel) that we used in our marriage ceremony. Our walls will soon be graced by a Thunderbird print made by a First Nations artist whom I met during my time at Green College, our cupboards full of mugs in vintage designs from the Royal Albert Museum collection, and our table set with a unique bowl from Vietnam. All the gifts that we received act now not just as utilitarian objects, though many of them are, but also as reminders of their givers, the many people in our lives who have given far more than wedding presents, who have given their love, and kindness, and unwavering support.

But perhaps the most unexpected and incredible gift came through the creative and organizational genius of my maid of honour, Ms. Mika, who in the midst of writing and defending her Masters thesis managed to collaborate with 52 of our friends and relatives to put together a wedding quilt. She presented the quilt at the reception and I was shocked into an inability to express myself (not an easy feat!). Mika had sent instructions to everyone we know requesting that participants send her a fat quarter in a burgundy or sage green colour scheme (our wedding colours) along with any messages they might like to relay. In the end she received 52 submissions that were stunning in their thoughtfulness and beauty. There were hand embroidered squares, monograms and appliques, fabric from my old bedroom curtains, fabric from a sewing project M. did in grade school, fabric from all over the world, a friend’s first quilting attempt (and an amazing result too!), a square inspired by a sweater I recently finished knitting...and the letters were equally beautiful speaking of well wishes and history and love.

Mika put together a scrap book to accompany the quilt. It contains the letters from the contributors as well as photographs of them holding their squares. When I finally had a chance to take a good look at the book and the quilt about two days after the wedding I was moved to tears of joy as I ran my fingers over all the fabric, read the messages, wrapped myself in a sense of well being. In a small piece of serendipitous magic there is a picture of my Baba and Gido holding their quilt square. The picture is the last one ever taken of Gido before he died. In fact, he went into the hospital that very afternoon and never went back home. And that perhaps is the most precious of all gifts--this final message of love from a man who is gone, yet managed to be a part of the wedding celebration in an incredible way.

I have no way to appropriately thank Mika and the countless others who were involved in this project. I can only say that I have been deeply touched by the generosity and enthusiasm you all demonstrated. My brother was particularly funny in his description of going fabric shopping, something far outside his range of expertise. As I flipped through the scrap book I laughed out loud, I cried copious tears of nostalgia and happiness, I ran the gamut of emotions and emerged from the whole experience feeling clear and deeply loved. It is a gift so generous, so perfect, that I fear I will never be able to reciprocate, but I can give my gratitude for having such immeasurably wonderful family and friends and a quilt that M. and I will treasure for the rest of our lives together.

On Marriage

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?" And he answered saying: You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wedding Sneak Preview

I'm very likely going to have a lot of things to say about my wedding to M. that took place on July 3, but for now here's a sneak preview--we performed a version of Michael Bolton's "I Said I Loved You But I Lied" with the band Malibu and the extraordinary interpretive dancing of my wonderful maid of honour.