Wedding Weekend – Yesterday’s Island, Today’s Nantucket

by Robert Barsanti

At eight in the morning the bride was running down Main Street with her photographer, her bridesmaid, Azma and two other young men in tuxedos. She held her shoes in one hand, and the hem of her dress in the other. She was flying in the social media winds but the photographer didn’t keep up. You should get the light when it’s just right.

I was having a billionaire’s breakfast that morning. Coffee, donuts, and the clear blue casserole of Canadian air glides over the island. The non-billionaires had taken the boat back to the brutes of Newton and New Rochelle, while the members of the club were in. Their darkened homes were lit up on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Race Week, in the cold of autumn. The members withdrew to their safe harbor in Nantucket, away from the avalanche and the noise of summer. Billionaires, surrounded by walls of hedges and guarded by a calendar, receive the protection and peace they promised. And this autumnal light gleamed on their lawns and the color of the eighteenth hole.

Weddings hope for that light. Opposite the quiet harbor, the loving couple soaks in this golden autumn and blooms in it. Years ago, Nantucket brides discovered that the weather in the fall was much better for photo shoots at the beach, in the harbor, and in the waist-high beach grasses. The spring was full of mists, rains, and sweaters that hid the glory of the dress. But, when the sun is in Libra, the colors pop up, the stars spin, and we all cast bird seed on the jubilant bride.

Wedding weekends follow a familiar rhythm. Guests arrive on Friday for a rehearsal dinner and welcome tricks. Saturday mornings are dedicated to leggings, sunglasses, and hydration. Some run, some go shopping, some are full, and strength is on the way. The agenda is full: they review old works before entertaining new ones.

By afternoon, a party looms, followed by a reception, a change of clothes, and a long wait on Dave Street before Sunday vows, photos, and packing. Before sunset on the weekend, the flowers were cleaned, gifts were wrapped and the beds were made.

Between coffee and cocktails, between inns and bills, after the entrance and before showing up, something takes root. Something solid, something stuck, something real grown in sandy soil. At the heart of all these troubles, treasure, and travel, couples look at each other, breathe, and vow. At that moment, before the music starts and the dancing begins, they plant something in the beach grass and Rosa rugosa. They hope it stays difficult and gets more and more difficult.

He blew up our ancient modern world; We have given up ritual for habit. We don’t go to morning mass, we practice. We don’t meet our friends after mass for coffee, we go to the gym and get juice. And even that habit, on a dark afternoon, stays at home and turns into a latent digital, a hit, a flow. We work more, get married later, and our lives are more digital than real. So when we get married, we model our own rituals through our “take it or leave it” past. We do not make our vows before an altar and a priest, using the words of our ancestors: love, honor, and obedience. Instead, we are rooting for our cuttings in search of the right words that we sow in our sand. It’s hard to write your own Bible.

I stood on Brant Point when Reverend Ted tied the knot, and I was there when Queen Catherine did. They had their words: “A ring is a circle…” Both pointed to the horizon, not only that it represented the future, but the infinity. We’re all so small, Ted said to Infinity. And we need all the help we can get.

Every vow asks the same thing. There is only one thing we can wish for. “I know I will fail, but will you stay?” When everything comes down, and we’re sitting at the table, having coffee, it’s two in the morning, will you stay? When he knocks on the door will you stand with me? Will you be my safe haven?

We know we are losers. We have scars, tattoos, and photo libraries to prove it. We carry cardboard souvenir boxes that are too painful to get rid of. We were guilty and innocent, heartless and heartless. When we took our first steps that brought us to Brant Point, we agreed to forget, to forgive, and to have faith.

Love is not a place but a verb. Hope is not a prayer, but a soul. Marriage is not a bed, but a table. This is the vow. Whatever happens, I will stay.

On the same day the bride-to-be raced after the light, another couple celebrated their 46th birthday. Nearly half a century of books piled on the floor, magazines on the counters, dog hair on everything. When this anniversary came, I entered the door with mail. She didn’t sing, she didn’t lead the Congo line, she didn’t come up with a percussion or a hand envelope. He just came in, like nothing else, with dirt on his shoes and a bad haircut.

At that moment, when the two of them are sitting at the table and watching the years in a row, they see the children and grandchildren. They see friends, cars, dogs. They see the chaos that came and the chaos that remains.

For several years by the kitchen window of that house, a huge frog roamed in a green bowl, surrounded by old bills and dead leaves. He didn’t jump, didn’t flip, didn’t die. Nobody takes it out of the water for playtime or getting dressed up. Instead, she ate, lived, and stayed. This is a successful marriage. Remains.

The safe haven that billionaires are looking for here may prevent them from the chaos and crazy future. It will give them time and reservation, it will save them from civil wars and climate change, but it will not save them from time. Our only safe haven is each other. We make promises to each other – a pledge – and do our best to stay put when we fail, sit when we want to escape, and talk when we want to be locked up in silence. Our only refuge is each other, wings strapped to wing and paddle to oar. This is how we will stay.

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