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  • Island weddings are logistical nightmares. Tides, wind and weather rule island life. Nothing is accomplished the easy way. But couples, young couples, tend to believe in magic and miracles.

    That summer we had a wedding on the island complete with a bright, yellow and white pavilion style canopy from Taylor Rental. By decree, the island dogs were locked up so the crowd walking the grassy road up the hill in newly polished shoes had nothing to fear. They followed flower topped bridal stakes. Pink, white and blue torches marking the path through the tangled rose and alder thicket into the open field of low, red grass and blueberry. Past the open cemetery gates and up to the crest of the island.

    Showers raced across the bay. Hurrying to keep ahead of the threatening clouds, no one noticed the fresh flowers in the pitcher on the far side of the cemetery. Pink, white and blue beside the hard grey stone.

    The band played to the wind. The procession walked down the ramp from the barn and faced gathered friends and family. They looked out over the village to the bright white of the cemetery fence and the open bay beyond.

    Bride and groom read letters to one another, spelling out the circumstances of their lives together.

    The bride’s parents wondered aloud at time’s swift fall since the day they stood together and shared verses from the Prophet.

    The groom’s parents, both historians, looked back on a family history entangled with an island. They spoke to family, friends and neighbours. They spoke to the sea captains, fishermen and farmers whose lives and loves once filled the rambling old house.

    The junk drawer in their kitchen still has the yellowed sheet music from the old pump organ jumbled together with postcards, beach stones and sea shells collected by the son beside them and the son they carried flowers to that morning.

    We were invited to speak. I knew I wouldn’t. Moments like that my tongue freezes. It wasn’t until later I thought about what I might have said.

    I was thinking about belonging. About how ceremonies bind a day into the procession of history. About how, if I had turned and looked down the hill and through the years, I might have glimpsed us then, a gang of kids rounding up enough players for a ball game in the field close by the cemetery. Where the ranks of stones face the sea and setting sun. These are the ties that bind us close against the winds of change. Bind us to a place. Bind us to one another.

    Maybe this is why I cry at weddings.
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