Eleven years ago today I walked down the aisle. It’s been four years since I celebrated this date.
Yesterday I had to drive past the place where I got married. The venue went bankrupt not long before my marriage split up. Since then, it has fallen into neglect and disrepair. I was alone in the car so I decided to pull over and do a little trespassing.
Oy. Not so pretty. A little sad.
I loved this place the first time I saw it. It had beautiful gardens in the back that weren’t visible from the parking lot. They started at the top of a hill near the converted farmhouse and then rolled down a steep hillside to a quiet creek.
I had to see if the outdoor areas had suffered similar abuse.
Ah, nature. It just can’t help itself. It take the things that we leave behind and converts them into objects of mystery and loveliness.
I’ve always been a fan of a beautiful ruin — something where the shadow of the past is still visible in the present. I love the reminder that we can manicure things, trim them back and think we have control over them, but in the end, nature wins.
As I hiked around the gardens, 11 years to the day after my wedding rehearsal dinner, I wasn’t sad. I was happy to schlep down the overgrown flagstone path and remember what it felt like to stand there in my dress with nearly everyone I loved in the world in one place. I was happy that it all happened because I wouldn’t be where I am today — or who I am.
There are a bunch of saplings sprouting between the flagstones that used to serve as the aisle. I was reminded that if a tree falls in the forest, new trees will spring up in a line where the old one decomposed. (Are these baby trees indicative of new life sprouting from dead marriages? Are they fertilized by the residual joy of past brides? Take your pick. There’s a psychology test lurking somewhere in your answer.)
I was happy to see that the garden had gone on to reclaim its wild, mystical loveliness.
And then I realized that I feel an awful lot like that garden. No, things didn’t work out for me in the sense that I had hoped they would 11 years ago. But I like to think that something more interesting has sprung up in its place. I’m not the girl who fits neatly in a manicured flower bed. I think weeds and overgrowth and wildflowers can be interesting and romantic if you let them do their thing.
Happy anniversary to my past life. If it hadn’t been for that foundation, I may not have discovered my own inner loveliness.
The old bloggity is choking on letting me add any more photos. If you’d like to see more from my little adventure yesterday, go check out my Facebook page. There’s a great picture where you can see the saplings “marching down the aisle.” (Please “like” my page while you’re there if you don’t mind.)