Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends. Hafiz
Eat on and on, you lovers, at Eternity’s Table. It’s feast is forever, and spread out for you. Rumi
The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty “yes!” to your adventure. Joseph Campbell
The Mystery Trip continues. And Istanbul still lives in us a week and a half later, a sense of the exotic, the smell of the sea, the tantalizing pull of the spice market. And it was on our way to the spice market that we found ourselves a bit lost on winding cobblestone streets, or perhaps we weren’t lost at all as we wove our way into the wedding district. It was there, among the stores selling yards and yards of white lace and colored ribbons and Turkish east-meets-west long flouncy bridal dresses and sultan-silky groom costumes in a tiny kiosk filled with wedding candles and centerpieces that we found a bag of party favors, little cardboard boxes of good-luck henna decorated with the Turkish evil eye and the words, “Masallah” — blessings for the bride and groom — and, on a whim, we bought it. And we carried this bag home with us along with a dozen or so fake rose-bud wire-strung halos that were sold everywhere on the streets. And we packed it all up again a few days ago and we carried it forward, these treasures from Turkey, into the next adventure, into a trip south this time, to Knoxville,Tennessee.
And that’s where we find ourselves on this Saturday morning, in Knoxville, where the air is thick and warm and sultry and the roses are in full bloom and the leaves are lush and green and the city is just beginning to wake up. And we are already awake. Today our son, Chris, is getting married. And he and Cam are picking up the flowers grown on a local farm and his friends will join them at the arboretum where the ceremony will take place later in the afternoon and they will set up the chairs and the tables and they will finish stringing the lanterns in the 150 year-old-stone-walled greenhouse, while Diana, his fiancé, and her mother visit the salon to style their hair. Although there are the lists of things to do, this wedding, with sixty or so guests, baby-young, and great-grandma wise, with friends and family who have traveled by car and plane from San Diego and Salt Lake, from Michigan and Virginia, from New Jersey and Georgia, from all over the country, to join those two in the place where they are finishing their two-year post-docs, this wedding feels easy, this celebration light and joyous.
Chris has a buoyant spirit and he is good-hearted and it just seems right and natural that he would attract to himself someone with that same sense of buoyancy, and, indeed, he has. It is easy to love Diana. She, like Chris, plunges into life with an eagerness for the adventure. She, the surfer, from San Diego, bought herself skis when she moved to Salt Lake for her Doctorate, and, with determination and grit and the desire to go for it, flew down those rugged Wasatch Mountains and into Chris’s heart. And into our hearts as well. She is brilliant and she smiles easily and she eats as voraciously as I do and she loves the outdoors and she loves to travel and she loves our son and we love her. And the two of them have entered this mystery of relationship with this sense of buoyancy and adventure.
Two days ago, I met Diana’s parents and her family, and Diana’s mom and I bonded as we dipped our feet in warm bubbling water and received our very first pedicures. And later she handed me a gift, a quilted market bag that she had made for me, and inside, was a hankie, inscribed with Chris and Diana’s initials and this day’s date. And I’ll probably need it this afternoon, as I witness a ceremony that is authentic and hand-woven and is officiated by Chris’s brother, our other son, the English professor. I’m sure many of us will feel overflowing with emotion as we witness these two entering the next phase of their mystery trip, but it won’t be a solemn affair. I’m sure it will be as buoyant and light-hearted as our buoyant and light-hearted son and the buoyant and light-hearted woman that he is going to marry.