#343: Wedding

Jack and Julia facing away from the camera, looking out onto open green pasture.
Cornman Farms, Dexter, MI (Photo by Lola Grace Photography)

Coming back from any kind of hiatus is always a challenge, whether it’s a break from a draft or a newsletter. A book I’m reading right now, about the mental game in sport, suggests to, when you’re overly in-your-head, try approaching the shot (or movement or problem) in slow motion. It’s been a good reminder that what’s required to restart isn’t always a burst of willpower—that the same energy can be summoned, slowly, like an incantation.

Julia and I got married at the end of June. A Sunday reader shared this bit of advice: find opportunities to pause, bask in the moment—it’s your wedding day! I found it useful advice to keep in mind. Our ceremony was outdoors, on a Thursday, in front of an old estate house on Zingerman’s Cornman Farms. My dad, newly vaccinated, flew in from Shanghai; our parents met for the first time. Before our vows, Julia’s brother did a reading of Seamus Heaney’s poem, “Scaffolding”, which as you know is a favorite. We also had the idea to give the four nieces disposable film cameras, and I look forward to developing those rolls.

The Saturday after the wedding, we were planning to have friends and family over for a barbecue at our house in Detroit. But those plans were upended by the worst storm to hit the city since 2014. Our friend, who was house- and dog-sitting, handled the basement flooding with grace. We rolled with it, canceled the bigger gathering, and took the food we’d ordered ahead of time (including a whole roast pig from the Asian supermarket) to the Airbnb in Ann Arbor where one of Julia’s sisters was staying. Then Julia and I spent most of Sunday in rubber boots and throwaway clothes, hosing down and bleach-spraying the basement, and hauling soggy boxes and leftover building material out onto the curb.

We joked that it was the first test of our marriage. But looking back, more than a month later, I see it as a purge, a cleansing—a sign of a new beginning. jkl