Friday, June 06, 2008

From The Desk Of OMFG!

We pick up the dog tomorrow! My sister Elle had said that when she went to pick up her rescue dog, she brought a little gift to the foster mom. I found out that our dog's foster mom is vegan, and she didn't have Veganomicon yet and was wanting it, so I went to Amazon and ordered her a copy for a gift, as well as a copy of Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust for myself (which is very good and totally worth reading -- I didn't know, for example, that Hitler worshipped Henry Ford).

And in throwing the packaging away, I see the coupon that came with these two tomes:


One Bride A-Leaping!

Ashlee and David's wedding may be the most fun wedding I have ever attended -- maybe even more fun than ours! It was perfect and perfectly expressive of their McBennelandishness, which is what makes a wedding great -- when you see the particularity of two people expressed in the event, when you know it is THEIR wedding. So it was beautiful and moving AND also a ton of fun.

And everyone there was nice and kind and fun and awesome. Not one mean person there, no bad apples. The three day period of setup, execution and breakdown went fairly seamlessly from my point of view, with people who had never met before immediately pitching in and doing what needed to be done and EFFICIENTLY and suddenly -- lo! Everything was set up, everything was perfect. Many hands make light work, especially when they are the hands of such lighthearted, warm-hearted people. So many times over the weekend I thought this is the way things should always be -- such was the McBennelandishment of the whole weekend!

And there was vegan food! GOOD vegan food! Not just penne with vegetables!

Trey and I had so much fun together too, just being together, reading the comics in the hotel, being a couple, being best friends, being a team, noticing birds, making each other laugh. It's so nice to be at weddings together because as you are wholeheartedly present with and cheering for the couple as they pledge their love, you are also re-pledging your love along with theirs. And they are such a stellar, happy, perfectly suited pair of adventurous, kind, funny, fun-loving people you can't help but want to jump up and down and pump your fist in the air about it.

As people were toasting the couple during the reception, I suddenly realized what the theme of my toast would have been -- I remembered that line from that Louise Gluck poem I have used in blog entries about weddings (like brides leaping from a great height) which was a poem we studied in Kate Brogan's Modern Poetry class which is where I first met Ashlee, and realizing in a flash how that image, as a symbol of risk-taking and faith and an adventurous spirit was SO EXACTLY Ashlee to me! and how much I admire her and her creativity and spontaneity and romantic nature, how she loves to luxuriate in the world. But she was wrapping up the toasting and I didn't want to get up there and ramble on when I wasn't sure exactly what to say and it was time to move on to the DoubleWide (btw, one of the most fun bars I have ever been to, so many NYC bars TRY to be the DoubleWide and FAIL miserably, Trash Bar being one of many pathetic examples, props to you DoubleWide!) for what was a really spectacularly fun afterparty.

So this morning I realized that I didn't even remember what that poem was called, and through the grace of Google discovered that I have mis-remembered that line for 13 years: it's

Like brides leaping to a great height-

Evermore upward, not hurled into space. A key difference. Rereading the whole poem, I realized that it says so much about what I treasure about my friendship with Ashlee, and how she inspires me to be more brave, and worry less, and ignore the Puritanical depressive voices in my head. So here it is, in full:

Celestial Music

I have a friend who still believes in heaven.
Not a stupid person, yet with all she knows, she literally talks to God.
She thinks someone listens in heaven.
On earth she's unusually competent.
Brave too, able to face unpleasantness.

We found a caterpillar dying in the dirt, greedy ants crawling over it.
I'm always moved by disaster, always eager to oppose vitality
But timid also, quick to shut my eyes.
Whereas my friend was able to watch, to let events play out
According to nature. For my sake she intervened
Brushing a few ants off the torn thing, and set it down
Across the road.

My friend says I shut my eyes to God, that nothing else explains
My aversion to reality. She says I'm like the child who
Buries her head in the pillow
So as not to see, the child who tells herself
That light causes sadness-
My friend is like the mother. Patient, urging me
To wake up an adult like herself, a courageous person-

In my dreams, my friend reproaches me. We're walking
On the same road, except it's winter now;
She's telling me that when you love the world you hear celestial music:
Look up, she says. When I look up, nothing.
Only clouds, snow, a white business in the trees
Like brides leaping to a great height-
Then I'm afraid for her; I see her
Caught in a net deliberately cast over the earth-

In reality, we sit by the side of the road, watching the sun set;
From time to time, the silence pierced by a birdcall.
It's this moment we're trying to explain, the fact
That we're at ease with death, with solitude.
My friend draws a circle in the dirt; inside, the caterpillar doesn't move.
She's always trying to make something whole, something beautiful, an image
Capable of life apart from her.
We're very quiet. It's peaceful sitting here, not speaking, The composition
Fixed, the road turning suddenly dark, the air
Going cool, here and there the rocks shining and glittering-
It's this stillness we both love.
The love of form is a love of endings.

I love you!