Sunday, August 26, 2012

A wedding: Blessing from the Meadow

My son was married yesterday. After all the months of work making preparations for the big day here on our small farm—the painting, building, planting, mowing, trimming, the million wildflower seeds planted and then watered through drought—when we all sat down in the meadow among amaranth and goldenrod, it felt like there had been no work at all, only meditation and joy of two families come together. After the short but sweetly tearful ceremony, the guests filed from the meadow through the black locust woods to the orchard for food and dance. When I looked back from the opening to the orchard, I saw the most beautiful sight: one hundred guests flowing on the ribboning path through the woods, as if the earth had woven us together and made of us a garland. 

My son and his bride asked me to write and read a poem in the ceremony. I have not written poems for some months, and I struggled with it. Until I realized I only needed to write a blessing. And then I had all the help I needed from this, the center of my universe. I stood between the bride and groom, who faced each other (and me), when I read ...

Blessing from the Meadow

We are standing in the superconducting bowl of the meadow!
Rays of goldenrod shine as if Earth herself is a sun.

I have stood here and met wild friends: tree, bird, grass, insect and doe.
And now you are here, blessing us in your turn!

We gather around this new ball of light like birds around a sunrise,
chirping and cheering. With this blessing:

As the warm sun of your love grows like yeasted bread
may you nourish each other and tantalize the world with your fragrance.

The way the silk of the spider is woven between stalks in a morning mist,
may you reflect light to each other, especially when days are not clear.

Like the sparrow and phoebe who sing their morning songs
may you open each day with music, the language of the heart.

Like the red dragonfly balancing impossibly on a blade of timothy grass
may you color your home with joyful surprises.

As the turkey vulture floats on thermals scouting silently for food
may you be watchful for what sustains you.

The way the bluebirds steadfastly guard their babies,
may you protect each other, and one day your family.

With the cleansing clarity of lavender and rosemary,
may you clear the air of restless uneasiness.

As a breeze makes the grass dance, free and wild,
may you love and enhance each other’s solitude.

As kind as rain after a month of drought
may you renew each other when you feel dried up.

Like the owl and fox who patiently wait,
may you wait patiently on each other.

And like fireflies winking their starry code from the tops of trees to their mates below
may you never stop wooing each other with your light.

And now, creatures of this meadow, take their light, and multiply!


  1. What blessings, Ruth, both the one you received and the one you created. I'm delighted that all went well in your magical meadow.

    1. Thanks, George. You prepare and plan, and it's easy to simply hope that nothing goes "wrong." But the truth is, it's all just to smooth the way for the magic, which really is "just" love.

  2. may you love and enhance each other’s solitude

    to love the other's solitude ... how important this is, how essential ... i hope they heard this (along with everything else :-)


    1. James, I think they have been "hearing" it for a while now. They are very creatively expressive people, and this takes space, "empty" space. I'm grateful to Rilke (most of all) for helping me understand and not feel guilty for needing solitude.

  3. for the endless blessings to come and come again. tears is all i have for what you wrote...

    1. I am touched by your tears, musicwithinyou.

  4. Beautiful!
    What a wonderful moment this must have been, words written just for this occasion, for this couple, by a loving mother.

    1. Thanks, rosaria. It felt very special to me to stand with them and cry together.

      There are a few notes of reference:

      - Peter works at the superconducting cyclotron at my university
      - goldenrod was my father's favorite flower
      - Andrea's spirit animal is owl and Peter's is fox (both predators :)

  5. he asked you to write a poem and read it. he asked you...

    so much seeing and listening going on.

    and so you all saw one another this fine day

    and so you will all go forth with your light and in one way or another, multiply)))

    beautiful. i'd have been overtaken with the marriage of joy and pain and the potency of life. (i imagine through you.)))


    1. erin, he asked me to write a poem. (!) I tried. What came out (previously) was about the marriage of joy and pain. (yes!) You know me well enough to know that shadows are something I also see (and love somehow), not only joy. But the poem would not come out. And so I looked for Rumi, and Oriah Mountain Dreamer, and I shared a couple of poems with Peter to see if they would work. He hesitated. Finally he articulated that they wanted only celebration, only joy (no shadow, no pain) in their first married moment in the meadow. And this is when I knew I was released from a poem and all its requisite shadows. They wanted a blessing! And what comes with a blessing but wishes for strength and will to go through the pain that will come (it will come!) and make something beautiful in that meeting?


  6. Perfect. Beautiful. May they go forth with all of the blessings from the meadow, and live them to the full.
    Special day, special them, special you.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. ds, these two people are special and real. As the two families talked, in speeches and conversation, it was even more apparent how incredibly well matched they are. And I don't feel this simply from the wedding glow. Thank you for sharing my joy, my friend.

  7. What a lovely gift- this blessing based on nature all around this young couple starting out and there to inspire. I especially like the firefly blessing to never stop wooing each other. This prayer for passion is so important.

    1. Thank you, Mary. Sometimes I feel as if they are whispering the prayer into my mouth as I read this blessing, as if there is no time or space, or any separation at all. Even before prayer or after prayer. These two live prayer. We all felt it, I could feel that. Is this not the best, to be in Nature give something back?

  8. What a wonderful feeling of wholeness this has, Ruth. The cadence and simplicty reminds of several of the poems I came across earlier in the week reading ancient poetry--that is, poetry from ancient Eqypt, and also Native American oral poetry, which is often in the form of a blessing like this,(the Navajo Beauty Way chant comes to mind.) Some days it's hard to write, the well seems infinitely deeper than the rope on the bucket, yet I have found when the thirst comes, there is always enough left to quench it. Many heartfelt wishes for happiness for your son and bride, and if one tenth of your poem comes to be, what a blessed life indeed they will have.

    1. Hedge, I love your comment, thank you. And the image of the rope on the bucket being too short for the depth of the well, how wonderful. And yes I agree, that when I am ready to go deep, I cannot get enough. You are brilliant. And thank you for your wishes for these two.

      I have not read ancient Egyptian poetry, but I did find the Navajo Beauty Way and really love it. I'll post what I found here:

      The Navajo Beauty Way Ceremony

      In beauty may I walk
      All day long may I walk
      Through the returning seasons may I walk
      Beautifully I will possess again
      Beautifully birds
      Beautifully joyful birds
      On the trail marked with pollen may I walk
      With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk
      With dew about my feet may I walk
      With beauty may I walk
      With beauty before me may I walk
      With beauty behind me may I walk
      With beauty above me may I walk
      With beauty all around me may I walk
      In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk
      In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk
      It is finished in beauty
      It is finished in beauty

    2. It's lovely, isn't it? Thanks for putting it up.

  9. On the day of your son's wedding I was at another wedding in another field and thought of you and your family:) This blessing is such a gift to all of us as well as to the bride and groom. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. GailO, I saw your Instagram photos from the wedding while I was running around here in preparations, and it made me smile. Thank you for reading and for your blessing in return.

  10. Well, you certainly found your center! I also love the image of the ribbon of people filing through the meadow! What a special day, your son a man, establishing his own household, his own new identity! I loved that photo of him all curled up on a chair, waiting for his sister. It brought tears to my eyes. My Spencer waits for his closest sister in age to come home on the school bus, sometimes by the window, at times on the chair by my front flower garden.

    Hard to believe he will someday not be there, sitting in that chair... We SO take the NOW for granted...

  11. The image you have delivered is timeless and your children are blessed with the memory of your poetry and the scene of the meadow. Wishing you all the joy of a new family member.


  12. It was one of the most touching moments of the ceremony, Ruth. YOU were the blessing!


All responses are welcome.