Except for the body of someone you love,
Including all its expressions
In privacy and in public,
Trees, I think,
Are the most beautiful forms on earth.
Though, admittedly, if this were a contest,
The trees would come in an extremely distant second.
— Mary Oliver
The rainforest opens her verdant doors to us today
Graciously hosting our joyful celebration
Baptising the tops of our guileless heads
Immersing us in the here and now
Bringing us back to ourselves
Under the weight of water
The grasses and ferns are bowing their heads to the love and commitment of these two winter rabbits.
Let’s listen to the poem the forest has prepared for us.
Earth element without, earth element within.
Just earth element.
Being made of the same muddy stuff, the forest reflects your love and affirms your choosing one another in partnership.
The trust you have built in one another is reflected in the intricate root systems of these trees. They explore the ground softly and relentlessly, probing ever more deeply into the earth, knowing support and stability.
This trust gives way to the effortless ease of their bodies, shooting upwards toward the sun.
May the trunks of your own bodies sway together with joyful ease, rooted in the soft and solid foundation of your trust.
The ferns are uncurling their fronds, bending under the weight of the rain and springing upwards in a playful call-and-response. They love the way you wrestle and dance with each other, stretching one another’s limbs, improvising new shapes in the interplay of your delight. May the places where your lives and bodies and hearts touch be infused with lightness and play, naturally unfurling expressions of your delight in one another.
The mushrooms are whispering to us of integration—fine and threadlike, their mycelium spreads throughout the soil, connecting the fruiting bodies of fungi to one another, and integrating them with the plants and trees which sustain them. The plant obtains phosphate and other minerals through the fungus, while the fungus obtains sugars from the plant root. May your own symbiosis give rise to the fruiting bodies of your contentment and growth.
As we move headlong into deep autumn, the forest is preparing for sleep. While many plants ready themselves for dormancy or death, the mosses are tangling their soft leaves together, weaving their threadlike rhizoids into the substrate, and preparing to thrive together under a wintry blanket. Fragile and hardy both, the mosses are battening down their hatches, choosing their bryophytic lovers as you are choosing one another now, to enter into this time of rest and repose.
May you stoke the hearths of your hearts in refuge this winter.
May you tangle your sweet soft leaves together into a brilliant felted tapestry to hang from your branches when the sun returns to warm your faces in the spring.
The trees, the earth, the mushrooms, ferns, mosses, rain and sky— All of us here who you have chosen to celebrate and witness you—
Is there anything you’d like to say to one another now while we hold you with our care?
I take you to be my hubsband/wife, my partner, and my forever love. I entrust to you my heart and my life. I promise to support and encourage you in all your endeavors, to delight in your good fortunes, and to share your burdens, because your family is now my family and our fates are one. We are full of light and love and luck and will be forever. You are my dearest friend. Whatever comes our way, we will endure with tender hearts.
We belong to each other now. As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you my life to hold from this day forward.