(Photo credit: Complete Weddings)
Sometime between sundown and the final song at our wedding reception I looked out of the barn doors and saw my friend Maddie staring straight up at the sky.
Maddie’s not a person whose shadow you’d mistake for another. She has a distinct way of carrying herself. Her long limbs always seem to move with purpose. Something I’ve never quite accomplished.
I looked out of the barn and through the darkness saw her neck craned upward and her gaze focused on the night sky.
There was not a soul around her.
30 feet away a crowd was dancing to loud pop music and she was undisturbed.
Maddie and I have understood each other for a long time, since we were lanky teenagers with weird senses of humor. I knew what Maddie was doing. I knew it because I do it too.
My parents’ farm has almost no light pollution. There’s nothing to break up the stars, no interruption of the glitter in the sky. It’s my favorite thing about their land. I could swim in the creek or run through the fields, pick fresh vegetables and pop them directly in my mouth or hang from a century old tree limb, but there’s nothing I’d rather do than take in that night sky.
I left the dancing. I set my drink down on a table near the door, walked over to Maddie and turned my face to the sky.
We stood together for a few moments just looking up. Maddie was enjoying what she cannot see from her home in Manhattan. I was enjoying a calm moment with a long time friend in a day otherwise full of quick hellos and hugs, sneaked bites of food and as much dancing as my legs could handle.
On a day when hurried bursts of love were coming at me from all directions, I was welcoming the chance to exchange that love gently and quietly with a friend who’s known me since I was embarrassing myself in high school theater classes.
I could write a million things about what made that day special. I could try to describe the feeling of seeing dozens of people gathered to support you as you commit to a lifetime with another person. I could describe the rush of calm I felt in my bones when Russ and I saw each other for photos before the ceremony. I could try to explain all the ways my husband, friends, sisters, brothers and parents made me feel like the most special person on Earth for a day.
But I’d rather stand in a quiet, dark field beside you looking up at the stars and not have to explain any of it.