Leaves crackle under our feet as we make our way to the rocky shore of Lake Superior. Fog-laden clouds sail overhead and across the lake on the wings of a too-bold northwesterly wind.
The guests are clutching sweaters and jackets against their faces, stuffing their hands in their pockets and cursing their poorly planned packing. It is October at Gooseberry Falls on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It is what we should have expected, but a mild fall has caught many of us off guard.
A shout-out comes from an enclosed picnic shelter, which is serving as the prep kitchen for the bountiful meal to follow. It’s time to gather for the wedding ceremony.
As those of us stuck in tradition move to sit bride side/groom side, we have a moment of merry intersection and then we break again, leaving an open path for the bride and groom.
We settle on the ground as Erin and my son Dave, resplendent in red cordoroy pants to match Erin’s sassy red tennis shoes, appear in the doorway up the hill. Another strong gust of wind and the leaves lift off the ground, creating a storm of orange, red and yellow. The swell of guitar chords and the voice of the wedding troubador also rise with the harmonies of the wind.
The song ends as another wind gust lifts the leaves anew. The largest end up in our hair and stick to our sweaters while the smaller ones catch an updraft and rise to the sky as if to signal the start of something important. I recall my favorite line from Night Before Christmas, mesmerized by the beauty of the lakeshore scene and the lyricism of the words. “Dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky.” In my reverie, I almost miss that everyone is standing as my son and his love start their walk among family and friends toward a future of new hope and many blessings.
The bride is glowing as she fights back tears of joy and the groom has a grin so wide that it bursts into my heart. With the first words of welcome from Jordan, who will make official the joining of these two lives and our families and friends, sunshine bursts forth and the wind and clouds flee in its brilliance.
It is a perfect marrying day indeed.