Seven years ago today, in the wake of a year-long engagement, a cross-country move and a hurricane that threatened to blow the entire event (and all attending) into the Atlantic Ocean, TheGirlfriend became TheWife.
Seven. Years. How does that happen? I mean, it feels like forever since we had the life we had then -- and at the same time, it doesn't feel like all that long ago that we exchanged rings and high fives in front of our friends, and broke out the celebratory blueberry beers.
Seven. Years. Since we dragged seventy-something friends, family members and whatnot up to the northern edges of civilization, where we discovered that ten months of planning, hard work and nice dreams had failed to account for the possibility of a hurricane roaring up the eastern seaboard. A hurricane? In Maine? Who thinks of things like that?
I remember, two days before the wedding, driving around the park. The hurricane was heading out to sea, but the wind and rain were still fierce. We saw ancient trees, crippled and downed by the storm. Roads flooded, sometimes impassable. We listened to news reports of greater damage elsewhere, and cancelled flights across the northeast. We wondered what kind of a fiasco we had inadvertently created.
Seven. Years. And a day, since we headed into our rehearsal day with the storm weakening and heading out to sea, and the members of the wedding party successfully - sometimes surprisingly - making their way to our destination. I remember standing on marshy ground as the hotel's event planner described the path down the hill our procession would take the next day, weather permitting. (Or where the tent would be set up, if not.) I remember holding my girl's hand tightly, and commenting on how memorable it would be when she - in all her wedding finery, bouqueted with tulips and sweet airs - inevitably lost her footing and slid down the hill on her ass.
I remember that night, when we had our rehearsal dinner. 15 people spread across two comfortable wooden tables. Heat lamps keeping us warm, despite the "tropical" nature of the now-vanishing storm. People laughing. Great beer. Fine food. Family. Friends. Good time.
Seven. Years. Since we woke up, lifted the window shade with great apprehension... and discovered the most beautiful day we'd ever seen. Crystalline blue skies. A slight chill in the air. The water in the distance calm, the boats on the harbor silent.
We walked out onto the field, down towards the village. It was early, early on a Saturday morning. Most of the town still sleeping. A fox darted from behind a fence, stopped to look at us for a moment, then disappeared into the hills to the west. We walked slowly, stunned by the weather, not quite believing that things could possibly work out this well for us.
Seven. Years. Since we dressed up and stood in front of our friends. Since my best man, trying to throw me off, started quoting lines from In & Out as we stood at the altar. Seventy-something guests, watching me crack up as a result. No idea of just how entirely inappropriate a conversation we were having.
Then she made her way down the hill. Slowly. Elegantly. (Carefully.) And then we stood in front of everyone... and had the shortest ceremony of all time. Two minutes? Maybe. Maybe not even that.
And suddenly, it was time for beer, and blueberry pancakes, and a string quartet playing gently in the background, and an amazing brunch buffet, and walking around the room and seeing all these people who'd travelled so far and who were surprised to actually be enjoying themselves, and then the cake came out - with its spun sugar autumn leaves - and there was champagne and a toast or two, and the doors to the deck were open and the air was cool and we could all see flowers and the great green field and the light dancing across the water in the distance.
Seven. Years. Since we changed out of our finery and into our familiar jeans and flannel and fleece, and led a convoy of a dozen friends to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Since we looked down on the waters and forests, mountains and carriage trails, fjords and harbor towns. I remember playing with the new ring on my finger, still the only ring I've ever worn. The sky was so clear. The wind atop the mountain was stiff, and as the sun dropped low in the sky the air quickly began to chill. We found someone to take a photo, of all of us. We are huddled together, squinting into the sun, smiling. (I look at that photo every day, sitting on our mantle.)
It was a long road getting there. And it's been a long road since.
Seven. Years. Amazing.