I had two consecutive days of wearing my full ceremonial robes at the end of last week; one of them was wet, since it seems to have been raining every other day recently.
I had been asked to officiate a wedding on Friday. It was always going to be a small wedding, as others I have performed recently have been: the couple, the witness (also taking photographs), and me. The initial wish had been to have it by the water, and we had agreed that Marshall Beach would be a perfect location – since the tides were favourable. The weather had other plans, though, so with the heavy skies, we ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts – as it happens, the first place I ever officiated a wedding.
The proceedings began with some meditation, which is always a good way to start a ceremony, because the rest of it inevitably goes by in a flash. This we were able to do outside, but when I got up to speak, the rain started, so we ducked under the main rotunda, and ended up signing the licence in the car. I am still a little ashamed at my attempt to remove my okesa while sitting in the back seat, which left it far from neatly folded – it went into my bag and I had to sort it out when I got home.
The following day was bright enough that I could walk over to Michael’s shuso ceremony in my robes. It was interesting being back at Zen Center among many venerables just a few weeks after the Mountain Seat, but this was an altogether more intimate affair – not just in terms of numbers, but also content. Michael’s smoothly flowing answers to the students on the east side took a more personal and emotional turn following Bai’s question, and the former shusos focused on that aspect, with the congratulations reflecting on his courage in being so open on the seat, in a way that revealed the authenticity that is hoped for in this ceremony.
Friday’s bride and groom check photos from the ceremony.
Paul and Michael come out for photos in the courtyard after the ceremony.