Barb and I took a break one weekend and spent a day on the coast. We saw two bald eagles. We learned about a coastal flower called “pearly everlasting,” tufts of green with clusters of small, white flowers.
Above the tidal pools at the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse we saw a mother whale and her calf surfacing, a dozen times, and also harbor seals and pelicans.
It was bright and sunny in the afternoon, after a day of clouds.
The next weekend we drove up near Independence for our nephew’s wedding. We found the address and parked behind a barn. There were rows of folding chairs set out and garlands of flowers, so we sat down and waited.
We didn’t expect to see my brother and his wife beforehand because they were part of the wedding.
Then the music started and the bridal party started processing in, and we were getting more and more confused, until finally the bride came down between the rows of folding chairs, smiling broadly, and we didn’t recognize her.
She was blonde. Petite.
We were at the wrong wedding.
The real wedding was across the highway in a garden—the same address, even the same name, just with “garden” in the title. Just across the highway.
So we had to get up and leave, in front of everybody, and we had to remove the wedding present we’d put on the table with the other wedding presents, and we had to run across the highway, and race into the garden, and sit down at the back, in the last row of the folding chairs set up there, trying not to attract too much attention. Trying not to laugh too hard.
Afterwards I was sitting at a table in the shade of the maple and the oak, chatting with my brothers, all of us heavier now, and graying, or bald. And everything seemed fine. Relaxed. Good. OK.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like the wedding feast and it’s like the wedding and it’s taking place along the road, on the way to Independence. On both sides.
It’s always taking place, everywhere.
All we have to do is come. All we have to do is get there.