Every spring, I landscape for two months to prepare our home for the summer. From pruning, edging, mulching, seeding, planting flowers, weeding…well, the list goes on and on. This year, my normal to-do-list doubled as I needed to prep for two weddings to be held in our backyard. The rains came relentlessly this summer, and prayers for no rain on two specific days were thankfully heard; both weddings took place on near perfect days.
A week after the last wedding, I returned to the spot of the ceremony. I drove up Rt. 1A along the shore in Rye, New Hampshire, pulled over into a small parking lot, and walked down the craggy stone path leading to the spot we had all gathered just a week earlier. People were there I didn’t know; some meandering along the small seaweed strewn beach, and others sitting on large flat rocks taking in the view. We seemed to own that spot a week ago and now my memories of the engaged couple with family surrounding them was all I had. I tried to take the photos from my mind and place them into the valley of stones where we all stood that day. My memory photos looked like holograms, but at least it was enough to make me smile.
The sun darted out from sparse clouds, the surf was smashing into the rocks, and two seagulls shared a spot atop a large rock closest to the water with one cormorant, who was gloriously spreading his wings to dry. It was all so different. I found a somewhat private spot away from others and watched the waves roll rhythmically against the rocks. The Isles of Shoals stared back at me from the horizon line, and to my right, a seagull flapped his wings in dismay as the ocean spray disrupted his attempts at dismantling a crab. I closed my eyes and just listened; the sound of the ocean surf was all I could hear. I was transported immediately to younger days; recalling vacations on the Cape Cod shores with my parents and siblings. Suddenly, the photo clips melted away and I actually felt younger. I could feel the years I’d added since those days being stripped away, revealing a spirit I had forgotten. I felt refreshed and light, and that felt good.
Do you ever feel like, although you have memories, it wasn’t really you that lived all of those memories? Once you hit a certain age, the memories seem to file into brackets of decades. I certainly remember when I was a child, a teen, a college student, a young mother, but sometimes it’s like, wow, was that really my life? It’s strange how time does that; how it can make you feel like the memories remembered were not memories at all, but recollections of a time lived by someone else, making you say…”I can’t believe that was my life, or that I did that.” Quite unbelievable to think I was once a child, that I was once a young mother….and now, I’m here, today, with not only two weddings done in one summer, but with all three of my children married, and one blessed grandchild to love and spoil (so far).
After thirty minutes, my body begged me to move, so I made my way off the rocks and headed back to the path. Before ascending, I paused briefly, glancing up the short incline. I smiled; my stunningly beautiful daughter was there with her father by her side, walking down the stone pathway. Her sheer white veil gently responded to the light wind, while her glorious lace train had a different agenda; gathering bits of seaweed and sand as it followed her down the path. I turned toward the water and saw her join hands with her future husband on the altar of the great Atlantic Ocean, and I thought, how lucky was she that after pining for her for years, and even saying, “I’m going to marry you one day,” that he never gave up on loving her, and how lucky was he that she finally saw the light and said yes. It was one week to the day from the wedding ceremony, but strangely enough, it felt like years had passed.
Reliving the wedding day was special; it was a day not to be forgotten. I lived that moment then and now have the memories to relive it time and time again. Interestingly enough, the day I revisited the ceremony spot, I went to relive a memory, and although I did just that, the time also presented me with something new; a rejuvenation of spirit in many ways, and all because I took a new moment, giving myself to the ocean and in return it whispered a feeling of youth back into my soul.
Nothing beats the present…nothing, which is why it is so important to be present in the present. Sounds silly, but it’s true. I may have felt youth return to me as the surf whispers flooded my body, but my journey for that day was not over; it was time to move on to a new present moment. I drove my car down to another pull off along the shore, grabbed a couple of bags, and collected driftwood for an hour. There were no wedding memories or holograms, and no whispers of younger days, but the sun was warm, the ocean was calm in the cove, and my bag was filling fast.