Monday, April 12, 2004

Em's + Nathan's wedding

Perhaps all weddings should be celebrated in the fog; each has their own haze, a blurry uncertainty of both the event and the future. And yours perched on the California coastline captured nature's metaphor of being on the edge of things.

Getting married next to the ocean also felt familiar because I first met you through water. Not that the chorine swamp of the 24-fitness pool compares to the mischievous Pacific, but I will always remember first seeing you there. It was an odd match – the runner who had just tweaked his knee flapping desperately next to the natural fish with an Australian swimsuit who gracefully cruised the center lane.

The truth of life is that we don't often get to pick whom we swim next to. Sure there are classes and clubs; races and teams – but more often that not it is someone who just happens to be there. You wind up in an anonymous group paced pretty much by your same speed.

I guess what I learned is that you should from time to time say hi to the people one lane over – even if it takes three years and three completely different swim classes. That girl with the R2D2 backpack might just be nutty in a very cool way. I know that the journey afterwards has been so much more rewarding.

There is the exercise part. I have become a better swimmer having joined you for a two-mile open water swimmer over summer, and trans Tomales Bay one over winter. And you have become a better runner to the point that running 14 miles the day before your wedding made some sort of sense – if only to your new triathlon crew.

But more importantly than the miles is the friendship. Life is better when you have birthdays in Inverness, see art in the Headlands, and drink beer on houseboats. We are at our best when we celebrate by the sea.

Your wedding brought the best of that.

Life ahead will have its share of jagged rocks and powerful currents, but if there is anyone I know who can navigate that gracefully it is you. And afterwards when you come in from the daily tides, dried and perhaps still a little tired, I hope you always stand on a grassy hill and look over your shoulder at the wonderment of the horizon.