Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Come Together

This weekend we went to the kind of Island wedding where you get to visit with literally everyone and their mom. I love these events and they are too few and far between. Though in many ways, our community is much more tight-knit than many others in this day and age, both by the necessity of living on an island, and by the choice of like-minded folks coming together, there are only a few gatherings a year when most of us truly are  in one place.

Sure there are gatherings of different individual factions all the time: friends, bands, contra dancers, quilters, young families, drinking buddies, carvers, farmers, old fogeys, medicine makers, language classes, movie nighters, knitters, mbira players, wealthy charity ladies, poker sharks, singing groups, and just about any other group of folk you could imagine living on a small island in the Pacific, will regularly and irregularly hang out in all sorts of constellations. There are parties and get-togethers and retreats and just plain old dinner parties all the damn time (a frequent joyous gripe of mine-too much of a good thing), but our community at large, people of all ages and niches, rarely get to all come together.

That said, we do have a few steady annual celebrations, including the Solstices, Graduation, the Barn Dance, the community Thanksgiving, where we all gather together, everyone (and their mom) from close friends to acquaintances.

Just as often though, the celebrations of individual lives, the weddings, the baby circles, and sadly, sometimes memorials, are where we get to really visit with all of our friends and neighbors.

It's these events that often remind us how wonderful being part of a community really is. Standing on a lawn under August stars with people who know, if not all of you, then enough about to ask about your family, your life, how you've been, who are happy to see you and who care enough to welcome you with a hug.

When we celebrate our graduates, the babies that are going to be born, the kids that are growing and someday, like last Saturday, starting families of their own, we also celebrate ourselves.

The setting is almost always the same, only the starring parts get redistributed. There are kids running around in various stages of fancy dress and dirtiness. There is food and drink  and unpredictable conversations, with random people you haven't seen in a coons age (about a month). There are moms, and grandmothers, and grandpas, and aunties, and cousins, and brothers, and sisters-by-another-mother.

There are usually memories of the beautiful bride, or the blushing groom, or the handsome young graduate, as a toddling child, or a teenage terror.

And there are equally memories of the elders as very, very wild young men and women, of adventures, and farms, and unions and separations, and businesses and homesteads long gone, of good fishing years and bad harvests and escaped pigs. And then there are plans for the future of adventures, and farms, and businesses, and homesteads, and harvests and pigs too...

And always, there is music and singing and dancing.

We put on our good duds, the dancing shoes mandated by the invitation. We ride our bikes in the golden shimmer of the August dusk with potluck dishes and beverages rattling in our baskets. We watch the Perseids meteor shower rain down above the laughing bride and listen to the waves on the beach  below us. We do-si-do-e with older gentlemen and twirl with the little girls. We ask our neighbors how the heck they're doing. We have spirited conversations and laugh our heads off.

Together, we have a mighty good time. 


  1. That looks like one of the nicest wedding celebrations I've seen....I'm always amazed when I hear about people spending thousands of pounds (or dollars) on weddings that end up looking incredibly staged and artificial...our pictures really do capture the good times and happiness had by all...
    I was lucky enough to grow up in a pretty small little village in Suffolk and we had to do country dancing, I was the only girl in my year at school (it was a very small school) but country dancing was in a way my favourite lesson because I got to hold hands with a boy I liked so much (he could make the proper Scooby Doo Doo noise and talk like Chewbacca....I was most impressed when I was nine not so much when he did it when he was in his twenties!)....there was definitely a sense of community in the village, everyone knew you (or your mum and dad) village fetes were packed with stalls full of homebaked cakes and jams, it was a really lovely way of life. It was a bit scary one year when there was a lot of snow, the village got cut off and snow ploughs couldn't get through...me and my sisters all thought it was great fun but I know my parents worried. Your island looks a wonderful place to live. (and your dress is just beautiful, hope it got swirled round loads while you do si doed and stripped the willow!)

  2. i think this is what i miss the most living in a big city when no one knows their neighbours. such sweet moments those seem to be!

  3. A part of me loves the sound of that, another part is deadly afraid of the concept of everyone know each other, their secrets, their weaknesses. I wouldn't survive that.

    / Avy

  4. That sound positively delicious. Love and laughter, song and dance, the Perseids and a community coming together in celebration. I'm glad you had a good time!

  5. That sounds lovely! I yearn for community, like that.

  6. I yearn for that sort of community. How beautiful and magical.

  7. That sounds absolutely wonderful. It's one of the things I miss and wish I had: community.

  8. I really wish I was that swallow flying over this merry gathering. I love all of your pictures, plus you and Charlie are simply beautiful.