Doubling up

Towards the end of last year, I had the opportunity to officiate weddings on consecutive days, which felt pretty awesome, especially as they were both along the water’s edge. On Tuesday I got to top that, even, with two weddings on the same day, thanks to the auspicious date (2/2/22 if you weren’t paying attention). The first couple had reached out a few months ago, and had a space booked at City Hall, where I have performed a couple of ceremonies; the other couple contacted me less than two weeks ago, and they wanted the ceremony to begin at 2:00, just to complete the numbers, down at the Palace of Fine Arts (where I have also had a couple of weddings, including my first ever more than ten years ago).

The forecast had been a bit iffy with a chance of showers – the heatwave has long since blown away, though last week was sunny – but in the end, the weather was bright and breezy. The breeze, mind you, was pretty stiff from the north, so it felt chilly. The two grooms showed up at City Hall in matching tuxes and shiny shoes, looking very dapper, and we had a lovely time up on the fourth floor. The bride of the afternoon couple kept her fuzzy coat on until the last minute and shivered through the outdoor ceremony, though her groom produced a hot water bottle for her as soon as we were done, which bodes well for the relationship, I think. I was glad for all my layers of robes for once. It really was heartwarming to be able to be present for, and participate in, such happy times.

A little less consequentially, I also doubled up on roams last week, with an extra offering on Friday to add to the previously scheduled one on Sunday. They were both in Golden Gate Park, and on a warm Wednesday morning last week I rode over there to remind myself of some of the lesser-travelled paths. It took a bit of untangling to remember what was going to go with which roam, though they took in different segments of the park. The first was from Stow Lake west, taking in the quieter Elk Glen and Metson lakes, the polo field and the anglers’ casting ponds, before returning via Spreckels Lake and the buffalo enclosure. The second was the chance to catch the magnolias in the botanical garden, which had bloomed early after all the warm dry weather we have been having, and then meandering by Stow Lake, the redwood grove, the new oak woodlands trail and the AIDS memorial grove.

As it happened, the smaller group on Friday skewed a little older, so we didn’t get as far west as I had intended, skipping the Chain of Lakes, and the Prayerbook Cross at the end. So I added the latter to the itinerary on Sunday, and managed to get everyone round that loop in good time, though I would have preferred a longer contemplative stop in the memorial grove. It was a little on the chilly side as well, with a foggy morning half-cleared by the northerly wind. In places the ground was thick with magnolia petals. You have to move fast to catch the moment.

I love the oak groves in the north-east corner of the park.
A magnolia in the park, though not in the Botanical Garden.
Not the first time I have seen a heron by Elk Glen lake.
Oaks in softer light on Sunday.
Bright morning outside City Hall on Tuesday, waiting for the grooms.
Another San Francisco marvel, albeit exposed to the wind, the Palace of Fine Arts.

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