Heidi and I got married on Saturday, 4 days ago.  It was quite an affair.  It took place in our house in Cazenovia and we had upwards of 80 guests.  The ceremony was a nontraditional one, mostly designed by Heidi.  She wanted (and I was in complete agreement) a ceremony that would be about us in particular and not a generic sort of wedding.  This required some real ingenuity and creativity on her part but I made some contributions as well.  The ceremony took place in the main hall of the house with the guests standing throughout the hall and also on the steps of the big spiral staircase.

It began with me playing the Japanese tune “Kumoi-jishi” on the shakuhachi.  This is a piece that originated at the Icho-ken temple in Japan and which for centuries has been associated with celebratory events.  It is still often played at Japanese weddings.  This was the first time I had ever played the shakuhachi in front of people.  After that Heidi and I performed a little theatrical scene, a revised version of the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.  A few weeks ago I had taken Shakespeare’s text of this scene and edited it so that it would be about the “Cazenovia Romeo and Juliet,” i.e. about us.  In doing this I had tried to retain as much of Shakespeare’s text as possible, while at the same time adding and revising just enough so that the scene ended up being about the history of our courtship, and how I was from Ithaca and she was from Cazenovia, and how we got to know each other and become fond of each other despite our very different backgrounds, and how I finally moved to Cazenovia to be with her.  The resulting scene was very silly but also rather funny and with some genuine warmth to it.  The people responded to it with enthusiasm and I was surprised and delighted by their outbursts of laughter.

After that there were welcoming comments by our officiant, Hugh Humphreys, followed by various brief readings on the subject of love.  The readings were performed by me, Heidi, and several of our friends and relatives.  For weeks Heidi and I had worked on the choice of these readings.  They included poems by W. S. Merwin and E. E. Cummings, and quotations from Henry James, Spinoza, Zora Neale Hurston, and the Book of Proverbs, and even an excerpt from my blog (this was suggested by Heidi).

Hugh then led us in the recitation of three different types of wedding vows: first Protestant, followed by Hindu, and then Jewish!  Then the rings ceremony, which included a brief recitation from the Song of Songs.  Hugh then recited closing blessings for us, the newly-married couple, and then all present recited a blessing over the wine, and Heidi and I each drank from a ceremonial wine goblet.  There were many Mazel Tovs and congratulations, and the musicians (an excellent trio from Ithaca called O’Shanigans) played a recessional.  The whole thing was an intense and dazzling experience.  There was a great feeling of communal bonding with all of our friends and relatives present, and I felt a heightened awareness of myself and Heidi, as if I could suddenly see with an extraordinary clarity the delicate interdependence that had grown up between us in the past year and a half. I felt that something miraculous had happened to me.  Many people afterwards told us that they had never witnessed such a moving wedding ceremony before. Afterwards, dinner & music & wedding cake & toasts. The house was full of a kind of noisy celebratory near-chaos, but an atmosphere of warmth and joy prevailed throughout.

Now we’re preparing for our honeymoon vacation trip to Japan.  We’ll be spending two weeks there visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, and the island of Kyushu, with the kind guidance of my shakuhachi teacher and friend Ronnie Seldin.  I’m sure we will have interesting adventures there.  I plan to take a lot of notes and a lot of photos, and I will have much to say here about our Japan travels when we get back.

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