Theft

Photo booth pictures

Once, when I was in preschool, I stole a bracelet from the dress-up box and wore it home, tucked under my cuff. I felt so bad about it that the next morning I took the bracelet back. Ms. Rosell, the teacher, saw me putting the bracelet back and asked if I had “borrowed” it. I’m sure I agreed. But that was not what I intended: if my courage held up, I would have kept it. I intended theft.

Over the summer solstice, Zilla and I went to a friends’ wedding, in San Francisco. Last weekend, we went to another friend’s wedding on Vashon Island. Both times I wondered if I would know anybody other than the bride and groom, and if not, who I would talk to, and what we would talk about. Both times I realized it didn’t matter. Zilla and I were there together. It seemed like no one else was around.

Zilla and I have been married now, amazingly, almost eight years. It has been a long time since our wedding day. We were together a year before that. Nine years is not an eternity, but it is a while. Nine is also a number very close to ten. In ten years, things change.

I think the meaning of family, and love, when you cut the rest away, is to be together as you change. People say you can’t change people. I think this is right, but it is also wrong. Putting it that way it makes it seem like change does not happen, when it does. I say this instead: everyone changes, no one knows how. Love is what happens underneath, what is regardless, what, for better or worse, stays the same.

Watching our friends get married, with openness, and giddiness, and courage and embarrassment and hope as they said their vows, Zilla and I got to steal a little bit of their joy for a few hours, a few days.

Like with most theft, we didn’t really need it. We have our own joy: the kind you work out after almost-ten years. And like with most change, I don’t think I want to undo what I, and we, have become. So maybe we were just “borrowing” some joy. Remembering. Trying it on.

We took this picture at the wedding last weekend. Good friends of the bride and groom set up a picture booth. I think it proves that there is always change, even in what you call happiness and love.

Maybe there was even some interest on the joy we gave back.

 

 

Pressing Concerns

I don’t usually take pictures of garbage piles, but that’s what this is. We’ll, not garbage exactly: compost.

In Washington this year we voted by mail. I dropped my ballot in the box two weeks ago. So yesterday, instead of going to the polls, I went to my friend Jim’s house to help with his “press” and to poke around the garden.

Over the last few weeks, as the grapes have come in, Jim has crushed and fermented Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sryah, Cab Franc and several others. Then he stores the mash—juice, skins, seeds and all— in his shed outside. He stirs it twice a day and lets it ferment for a couple of weeks. Our job was to scoop the mix into the barrel press and collect the young wine that came off. At first it flowed easily then we had to put on the press and crank. In a few weeks there will be a racking. And then a bottling, and then many parties to come.

The whole week I had been asking Z what we should do election night. I wanted to have a party. I had the feeling that we should be with people.  But nothing had come together, and I was feeling a little sad. Without going to the polls it almost felt as if nothing had happened.

When I got home from the press I turned on the TV and settled in to watch the results. Then Z called. Friends were in town and they wanted to get together.

“When?” I asked.

“Now,” he said,”I’m in the car outside. Come outside.”

So I grabbed my coat and we met them at the bar and the whole place roared and booed and cheered together. I must learn not to worry.  It turned out to be a very good night indeed.