Sunday was one of the best days of the year for us. We attended the wedding of two close and valued friends, on their lovely farm in the hills south of the Missouri River. We are alike in many ways, the four of us, two couples dreaming of an independent rural life and working to make it happen. We started our respective farms at similar times, building structures with cedar cut from our farms, helping each other out when possible despite the hour’s drive. We both chose organic certification as a means of notifying the world of our ethics and practices on the farm. Even our farms are similar, both set in narrow valleys with fields along the bottoms and woods/pastures along the higher slopes. And like us, they chose to celebrate the best day of their lives on their farm with a spread of friends, family, and local foods that did justice to their choices.
We gathered on a high hayfield, with the distant Missouri River bluffs gleaming in the fall sun. The ceremony, with its laughter and its tears, captured perfectly the energy and love that goes into such a commitment. One line from a reading captured my attention wholly; to paraphrase, “Love is not a matter of finding the right person, but being the right person.” That’s right; you have to earn it, not just receive it. Another reading, so familiar to me that I had not thought about it in years, was the simple words of the famous Shaker song:
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
To hear these words, spoken simply and carried on the drifting north wind across the meadow, struck me almost as a blow in their distillation of what we (both couples) are working to achieve.
Afterwards, the crowd of friends, family, and neighbors gathered in their cedar barn for food, simple live music, and fellowship. The spread was virtually all local, sourced from a who’s who of regional farms (we supplied kale, lettuce, peppers, and chard), perfectly prepared by an insanely hard-working young woman working to build a catering business on truly good food. We stayed until long after dark, talking with folks and watching the dancing; for us the chance to put up our feet was more valuable than a chance to burn more calories. As Joanna remarked, we never stay so long at parties, but rarely are we so happy and comfortable away from our own farm.
It was a wonderful day, and we’re intensely grateful to share rare moments like this when much that’s good in life is distilled into a single experience. Thanks to our friends for including us, and may their future hold all that they hope and work for.