So we have ended our journey, temporarily, Mimi and I, Mimi having been left behind for the long weekend I went to New Mexico, and still looking at me with a slight shadow of betrayal in her eyes that I didn't take her for what she guesses was the best part of the trip. She has been through a lot: a crash diet so she would be able to fly Air France, and then they didn't even weigh her, a tangle with a bramble bush in Venice, a long train trip back to Paris hidden in a bag onto which non-dog-lovers piled luggage, in a Cuccetta with six bunks like we were all in the Navy, except for Mimi who hadn't been inducted, a day of redemption and grooming in New York, then a return home, if indeed LA is home, where she was left behind, a non-member of the wedding.
The Wedding: Taos. A setting with a Sacred Circle, which indeed it was, strung from nearly every tree branch white cymbidium orchids waving in what everyone had prayed would not be a hostile wind, and was friendly enough except for a sudden downpour. Still, a loving group of rapt guests splendidly attired did not flee the watery onslaught, sitting proudly upright as hotel attendants crowned them with opened black umbrellas, so it looked a bit like The Barefoot Contessa, only the happy version.
The Couple: Meg and John, beautiful as one would hope, the bride looking very much the fairy princess, tall and radiant in a jeweled tiara with veil attached, which she gamely threw off as the weather might have done was she not cleverer and more in charge of her life than Thor and his darkly playful buddies. Pretty, colorfully clad bridesmaids danced down the soggy, newly-turfed aisle as though it were the runway of a fashion show in Paris, and the Mother of the Bride, my particular favorite, all swathed in brilliant purply-burgundy satin, with a flowered crown, read her favorite poem I'd have to guess it was, The Walrus and The Carpenter, leaving out the end where the oysters were eaten, as we'd had a lot of them the night before.
The Night Before: the rehearsal dinner, to which everyone was invited, family or no, and the father of the Bride, a munificent soul, semi-lamented that he was useless, which is the last thing he was and is. They are a most unusual couple, Walter and Emily Mead, gifted, generous, imaginative and affluent in the best sense: what they have they rejoice in spreading around. The spread that night was beneath a white tent strung with lights as the next day would be strung with orchids, and every chair a bride. That is, the chairs were covered with white, a great royal blue bow in the center of their backs where their asses would have been, had they been Bette Davis at her grandest.
Outside the tent lightning flashed and thunder more than roared: it snarled and ripped and crackled and threatened, challenged and argued there was no way it would be kept out, invitation or no. The positive people who were in attendance, almost everybody, negativiity not being a part of the menu, were sure that was Nature's way of clearing any possibility of storm the next day. Filled with drama, the night was, as it should have been according to all who know Megan, the bride.
The next day dawned sort of promising, hoping, really, that the skies would clear, as they did for the time the wedding was scheduled: 2:45. But things got a little behind, so by the time the actual ceremony began, the clouds let go. But present along with neuropaths and homeopaths and naturepaths and all manner of paths except for, to the best of my observation, psycho or socio, was Ali, who works with Megan in the Pilates studio, and told us the Italian saying that the bride who is rained on is blessed, which sounds better in Italian as almost everything does.
The children, who were many of all ages and sizes, were entertained through the afternoon by Cirque-de-Soleil-in-training young people, dressed as brightly as though they'd already gotten the job, twirling and tight-rope walking and stilt-dancing, though they might better have been called, for the moment, Cirque de Pluie.
But then everyone went into the ballroom, which outsplendored splendor, each table set with a brilliant and different colored cloth, every chair, again, a contrasting colored bride, bow on butt, every centerpiece a topiary cut into the shape of a circus animal, sprayed with gold and strung with tasteful glitter and the assurance that no topiary had been harmed in the production. Oh, it was so splendid. I mean splendid. I have never seen such flowers as there were there, even when the richly pompous football team owner took over the Bel-Air for his daughter and larded it with flora that would have funded another season of David Beckham.
Fitzgerald said "The very rich are different from you and me," But these very rich are different from the very rich because you can feel their hearts in everything they do. It was all so loving and generous one could have wept, and perhaps some did, but no one out of sadness. Modigliani, (probably present in reincarnated form) said there are those who have, and those who don't have, and those who know, and those who don't know, (hanno e non hanno, sanno and non sanno--see, I told you it sounds better in Italian.) But this was about those who have and know. And as for the guests, as far as I could tell, there were no phonies. Oh, maybe one.
I stayed for an extra day or two, so I could have a body treatment from Ali, who stretched me back to where I could once again do my yoga, and so I could drink in a little more of the clear New Mexico air. Greeted last might by Mimi, who was still sort of miffed, as whether or not dogs have long-term memories, she knows she missed out on something special.
Then this morning I got up to my regular life, with a NYTimes at my doorstep. And besides the Iraq scandals and Bush vetoing a child health bill there's the headline about Hillary out fund-raising Obama, and I wonder if the Star Spangled Banner shouldn't have its last lines changed to
THE LAND OF THE FUND RAISER
AND THE HOME OF THOSE WHO USED TO BE BRAVE.
Maybe we should all give it up and move to New Mexico.