IT’S ONE OF THOSE TIMES that makes you realize you never really know the joy life will bring, one moment to the next.
First there was the fact we had a slew friends staying with us in the mountains for the weekend. Then others were to arrive late Saturday afternoon, our plan some happy time out on the deck, followed by a big, casual, family-style dinner.
Then Jessie called.
“You can say no,” she said, “and I will totally understand.” She totally meant it, too.
But I said yes, and that’s how it came to be on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in October I was standing, camera in hand, just up the way in a lovely mountain meadow photographing the prettiest wedding I’ve ever seen.
I am not a real photographer, let me be clear about that. Plus there were three or four guests intentionally snapping away–each of us aware the professional had cancelled at the last minute and that surely–surely between all of us there would be enough good shots for a proper album.
Still. It was a wedding.
None of this is even the point of this post. I merely want you to understand how it was I found myself in a meadow on a mountain on a picture-perfect afternoon in October, a witness to the sweet, sweet wedding of a couple I’d never ever met. And I want you to feel the surprise that experience–unexpected as it was– brought to me. Turns out it was one of the most love-filled, light-filled, joy-filled afternoons of my life.
FIRST MY FRIEND and soul brother, Jay Coles, was visiting and offered to give me a ride up to the wedding. He knew I was anxious (!!!) and graciously agreed to hang around, bringing his camera as a backup. The two of us fussing around getting our “gear” ready so tickled our crowd that someone demanded a photo.
Then Jay and I arrived and went to work, doing our best to capture each thoughtful detail.
IT’S AN ODD THING to attend the wedding of a couple you don’t know, even more so when it is an intimate gathering of family and dearest friends. I felt removed but also all up in it, every unknown face coming to me through my camera’s zoom lens. It gave me the opportunity to look and see and experience the color and shape of every emotion in a heightened and powerful way.
There was so much love.
Sister and sister.
Mama and daughter.
Father and bride.
Brother and brother. And brother.
Bride. And groom.
Oh, this bride and groom.
Their joy overflowed in a way made manifest, I swear, by the wide open setting, the colors of autumn, the October sky. They blushed; they laughed; they cried. As did the Justice doing their marrying (who I think may have been the groom’s brother). As did everyone else in attendance (but for those ADORABLE children).
As did I.
I stood there, my lens trained on the love-filled faces of these strangers, and tears rolled down my cheeks.
LOVE IS ALL AROUND is the point I’m trying to make, love is present and moving in a hundred trillion ways you never see or even know. Love is flowing, good and strong and remarkable, all across the globe, in every country, three states away, just a little ways up Ogle Mountain.
Even when we forget it. Even when forces divert our attention elsewhere, and we’re unaware.
Love is all around.
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