growing up while married...

Twenty one years ago tomorrow, Dianne and I were wed. It was a very small ceremony with three friends and our two daughters in attendance. It was celebrated outdoors by a waterfall in one of Cleveland's glorious Metro Parks. Afterwards, we repaired to our small apartment for an English high tea. When people ask, "Wow, you chose to get married on Cinco de Mayo! How cool is that?!!?" I would smile and reply, "Cinco de Mayo had nothing to do with it: one of our favorite songs is Dylan's "Isis" wherein the narrator sings, 'I married Isis on the 5th day of May, but I could not hold on to her very long...'" Some people dig it, but others just give me a quick, uncomfortable smile and quickly move on.

I married Isis on the fifth day of May
But I could not hold on to her very long
So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away for the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong

I came to a high place of darkness and light the dividing line ran through the center of town
I hitched up my pony to a post on the right went in to a laundry to wash my clothes down

She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed
I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes
I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead

She said, “Where ya been?” I said, “No place special”
She said, “You look different.” I said, “Well, not quite”
She said, “You been gone.” I said, “That’s only natural”
She said, “You gonna stay?” I said, “Yeah, I jes might”

Isis, oh, Isis, you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzlin’ rain

It is the perfect song for us: a mythopoetic, archetypal rock and folk song about Yin and Yan engery with a wildass fiddle weaving throughout while Allen Ginsberg dances around the band in ecstasy. What more could a couple ask for? It is all about living into the darkness and light. We've wondered whether life was worth living with - and without - one another. We've left one another. Regrouped. Fought and everything in-between.  And God knows we've changed over the years even if we've been "no place special.". It has been a beautiful, agonizing, sacred, messy, real, frightening and joy filled journey of love. I would never have "grown up" and gotten a little healthier were it not for Dianne. I suspect that the same is true in reverse.

We were two hippies of different ages when we wed - and that hasn't changed much Last year at this time we were on the magical mystery tour of our Sabbatical. We had a sweet little flat in the East Village for a week and went to a French restaurant to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  During that grand tour, we also bought ourselves new wedding rings at a Quebecois jewler - and renewed our vows later that summer in our Montreal kitchen. 

This year we're going to take a quick trip out to Cape Cod - I haven't been there since 1971 and it has been a long time for Di, too - and we've never been there together. The weather is supposed to be rainy and cold, but we like to walk on the beach and take in the beauty and solitude that rain affords those willing to brave the elements. By nature we are introverts and hermits - except I like to hit the jazz, folk and rock clubs of big cities from time to time. The art museums, bookstores, churches and cafes, too. Di tells me I've corrupted her over the years because she now loves this almost as much as me. Mostly we just like to hang by ourselves: we read, laugh, talk, walk and love one another quietly. Who knows what we'll find on the Cape - a quiet celebration for sure.

Mary Oliver put it like this:

Not anyone who says, “I’m going to be
  careful and smart in matters of love,”
who says, “I’m going to choose slowly,”
but only those lovers who didn’t choose at all
but were, as it were, chosen
by something invisible and powerful and uncontrollable
and beautiful and possibly even
unsuitable —
only those know what I’m talking about
in this talking about love


So I give thanks to this woman/friend/lover/soul mate as we honor 21 years of marriage. Here's one of many songs that have shaped and touched our commitment.

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