"R" as in "Rain"
My friend Gordie got married for the first time at sixty-five. When he emailed me and asked if I would say a few words at the reception, I emailed back that I'd be honored to do so. Later, I began to worry about what exactly I would say. Gordie and I have been friends a long time and I've seen many women come and go. Before he finally fell in love, I began to despair that he would ever end his bachelorhood. He always sends me funny haiku from the Net, so I thought I'll write a haiku for the wedding. Easier thought than done. I struggled for days with a blank piece of paper only to learn that, for me at least, haiku can't be written on demand. It comes or, in this case, it doesn't.
The wedding took place on a beach in Wellfleet in October. We all trooped down from the bride's family cottage, a procession of assorted dogs, children with various noise-making instruments, adults of all ages and attire from gold taffeta and velvet jackets to sneakers and jeans, and a sprinkling of Tibetans in native dress for good measure. This Felliniesque procession stood round the bride and groom both in white under the darkly beautiful chupah which fluttered in the wind. The ocean was calm, but the sky skittish and raindrops scattered among us. As the rabbi spoke of the richness of the time of harvest, I wished for the mellifluous eloquence of Keats and scolded myself for not having brought along a copy of his "Ode to Autumn." Much poetry was read during the ceremony, wonderfully appropriate pieces from Rich, Rilke, and Rumi. Who am I to write, I thought, my name doesn't even begin with an R. A few umbrellas were opened and the light scatter became a steady drizzle and suddenly a downpour. Abandoning the beach, we ran for the parking lot and our cars. Was the ceremony over? Did we care? We were soaked.
Driving to the reception, I realized Nature had handed me my haiku:
even the rain came
to join the friends on the beach