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Mike & Willow's Wedding

Mendocino County
Aug. 24-25, 2002

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Willow & Mike threw a terrific party for about 150 of their friends and family this weekend, up at Shenoa, the retreat in the hills of Mendocino where they met while both lived and worked there, some years ago. In the midst of it, they got married, in the organic garden where they once toiled. It was a beautiful, creative, wedding, perfectly tailored by their personalities and experiences. They signed a beautiful drawn katuba, the contract for Jewish weddings, and read promises to each other that included, from Willow, back rubs, and from Michael, a promise to bring his breakfast dishes to the sink. Before he stomped on the glass at the end of the ceremony, the rabbi told him, "This is the last time you get to put your foot down."

For many groups of their friends -- those from Shenoa, from their wild youths, or the one that brought me there, the Web Review crew -- it was a pretty wonderful place and time to get reconnected. Shawn, Bruce, Kindy, Arlo and Shawn's mom Norma were there, and the Komans and Jeffrey. Bruce held Arlo through some of the ceremony, wearing a shirt that "I don't get to wear to weddings very often." Richard and Amy found themselves in a massage chain with Carolyn and Jeffrey -- who, interestingly, is in the process of expanding his life's work from massage and yoga to rural real estate. :)

Willow's a caterer, and her crew of friends kept us well watered and fed throughout the weekend -- on food that satisfied without leaving us bloated. There was a sparkling, chlorine-free pool and jacuzzi with a million-dollar view, where the daughters spent many hours with new friends. Some of the folks there -- most, when I think about it -- were pretty fascinating, whether they had dedicated their lives to organic gardening or travel or family. For example, we met a guy who had lived in Changmai for seven years and had walked the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos as a tourist, and we met a woman who was walking the pilgrimage to Santo Compostela in southern France and northern Spain, a few dozen kilometers each year on her trips home to France.

Maybe my favorite shot: at the end of it all, after throwing a once-in-a-lifetime party for all her friends and getting hitched along the way, with most of the guests gone, we spotted the bride, looking relaxed and fantastic in her wedding dress, munching on a cold lamb chop and swigging chardonnay right out of the bottle. Here's to you, Willow; you earned it.