Seventeen years ago, I married my husband, Tom, in my mom’s Wyoming hayfield. Today, I am back at my mom’s ranch for what will mostly likely be the last time as she gets ready to move on to the next phase of her life. Unfortunately, my husband couldn’t come with me. He loves it here. We are saying good-bye to a lot of memories. For me, the one I will always hold most dear is my wedding day. I wrote this post for Tom several years ago and am sharing it today as a way to remember.
I am drawn to the spot where it happened. It’s been almost 15 years but I can still see our footprints. I can still hear the echoes. I can close my eyes and see us both, fewer wrinkles, definitely more innocent, but still recognizable as the people we are today.
Remember the day I first brought you here? You looked at the wide open space and the iron red cliffs and declared it the closest place you’d been to home.
Remember when we rescued the Pyrenees pups from that enormous sheep ranch? They had never been touched by humans. In the back of the car, on the long journey home, you cautiously gave each pup one of your smelly socks and forged a lasting bond. No wonder they decided to escape the house that night, like naughty children who didn’t want to miss out on our festivities.
Remember dancing in the fields? Even in the middle of nowhere, it began to feel crowded and the energy of the approaching occasion sometimes felt overwhelming. When enough was enough, we would sneak away to twirl and dip to the rhythm of the wind on our 70 acre dance floor.
Remember the night before the big day, when all the different pieces of our lives came together at the Golden Steer? Fanciest place in town. We laughed so hard when they asked me if I wanted my salmon deep fried. It didn’t matter, we barely noticed the food.
Remember how we walked through the mountains picking the flowers that would decorate the day? Wild daisies, pasque flowers, lupine, all hung to dry in the summer sun. At the end of our night, one of the cowboys filled the pocket of his best dress shirt with my favorite, a dusty, pale red bloom he called a prairie rose.
Remember that it never rained here in July except for at the exact moment we were to begin? You came and held my hand as we listened to it beat down on the roof. You reassured me that no one was going anywhere. And, just like that, the clouds passed. Later that night, another cowboy told us the rain had come as our blessing. It felt true.
Remember how we didn’t wait to see each other all fancied up? We left the house hand in hand and walked through the fields, up towards the people who were gathering around our spot. Waist high purple hay, sparkling from the rain, more perfect than anything Martha Stewart could have planned. And the bagpipes, what a surprise to hear them. A wedding gift. It’s the only place bagpipe music has made sense to me.
Remember when we realized it was finally time? We saw our families sitting side by side with the rest of our lives. Every cowboy on the creek had come. Many we had never met but all came dressed in their finest. They never questioned why we had chosen this spot. They understood this land is sacred.
Remember that was the day we said forever?
Our life is so far from here now, from the spot where I sat today and watched a hawk soar over those iron red cliffs. We live in a world so different than what we might have imagined that night as we danced in the field and the rain began to pour down again. Now, we have to reach over so much to be able to hold hands. We have to wait with endless patience for each other. We have created miracles, but the miracle of that day sometimes get buried in the riches of a child-filled world.
Before I leave to come home to you, I am going to walk through the hayfield one more time, brush away the blanket of early snow, and touch the soil where we stood. Then, when my hand touches yours again, you will remember it all.