Saturday Symmetry

P1010889by cheri

Most marriage ceremonies concern the union of two individuals who pledge themselves to the institution of marriage–that is, they will proceed forward (and all “forward” encompasses), legally bound, until death parts them.

In new marriage, you accepted the sea unconditionally. If it was raging, you thought it romantic; if it was lazy, you thought it wise.

If the sky filled with clouds, your picnic was still grand; the sandwiches tasted soft and sweet; the wine, perfect.

Such is the beauty of young love.

P1010722The years leave their marks. The relationship grows; the rings of time crack in places, moss invades the impenetrable bark, but still, a ribbon of love reminds you of the sweet nothings of the day.

P1010569As the years advance in a marriage, if you have paid close and necessary attention, you are elated that you are not a facsimile of each other but rather, two different people.

Sometimes, the recognition of those differences is startling!

You tussle for ground, your redefine the terms, you do your best to be your best.

One of you–the one for whom aging has intensified the need for order and detail–has created this wood stack. The other of you–well, you are the one waiting to have a glass of wine in a weathered chair.

One of you photographs the detail of life.

P1010705The other of you photographs the expanse.

P1010901Your lives intersect like a complicated geometry proof. One of you heads out toward infinity on a straight line. The other swims in concentric circles.

P1010790And yet, you find symmetry in what matters most.


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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19 Responses to Saturday Symmetry

  1. shoreacres says:

    Such a lovely post, and especially nice pairings of images and words. I confess I thought you were going to focus on the seagull couple at first. Thee’s a pair that’s been on the same dock in the same marina for three years. There’s no question that they belong together, and I suspect, if we could translate your human words into the language of the gulls, they’d be in complete accord.

    • Cheri says:

      Ha! Thanks. I was going to use those two gulls to make my point but then the predictability turned me away. I had no idea that seagulls paired up.I wonder how many other birds are monogamous. Quail?

      • potsoc says:

        Loons, cardinals and some others. And, by the way, happy birthday.

        • Cheri says:

          Hi Paul!!! It is so great to hear from you after all this time. I hope you and your wife are doing well in Montreal. I did not know that loons were monogamous. Also, I don’t know how you remember my birthday. When is your birthday? Please let me know how you both are doing.

  2. Brighid says:

    This was a wonderful post, and very true to the nature of a solid foundation blessed couple. Such are treasures…

  3. Sharon says:

    Profound and thought provoking!

  4. Richard says:

    You speak of a life special to you yet strike a familiar chord.

    I wonder, though, if the differences are quite so clear cut. One day I am called to find some minor article that has been mislaid: there must be a place for everything and everything must be in its place. The next day precise comments on a newspaper article test my concentration and understanding to the limit. Sometimes I feel fault is found too readily, at other times I reflect upon the limitless toleration of my ways.

    I learn to be silent when with astonishing nonchalance hedge-clippings are scattered over my newly-mown lawn or a heavy implement is wheeled over the stripes. Then I am thankful for her toleration of me in the things that really matter.

    Dependence upon each other and our complementary skills prove that the sum is greater than the parts, though in the individual survival stakes I know I am an outsider. Thanks be I am never tested, save in the absence of my support and strength, and then I can see am a non-runner.

    The hard times are when we truly rediscover the union we felt so early on in our shared journey of self-discovery, so willingly and easily sealed with a life-long mutual pledge never regretted. Those oaths are the most challenging and comforting of all, a continuing lesson in how to deal with each other and the world at large. With age the obstacles increase and become more perplexing. When overcome they strengthen understanding and present new experience as we grow to our full height. The superficial scars reveal what together we have achieved.

    There is no time for boredom or monotony. Always we know that one day we will cross that bridge together, one of us will will watch as the other descends the steps and enters the infinite ocean, never to return. So today we cling ever closer.

  5. Cheri says:

    This comment might well be a blog post in itself. As you observe, the course of a relationship takes different turns and different times with different couples. And no, the challenges are never so black and white as I have illustrated.

    I do know that I have been largely unprepared for the full range of emotions I have felt (and expressed) throughout my long-term marriage. I was that girl at the picnic or along the shore.

    Someone once told me that she and her husband never argue. I remember thinking that never arguing means one of two things: either they are in agreement and in harmony with everything or they avoid broaching sensitive topics.

    As you might imagine, I rarely shy away from trying to live an authentic life, even if it means being uncomfortable sometimes.

    It is true that the recognition that time is slip-sliding-away allows us to forgive each other for times when we have been insensitive, selfish, or immature.

    I remember reading that more marriages break up over nagging than do over adultery.

    • Richard says:

      “………. she and he husband never argue. ………”

      What they miss!

    • Christopher says:

      You spoke of nagging. But you didn’t speak of passive aggression, which, come to think of it, nagging forms a big part of, since it has the same provenance – inchoate anger.

      • Richard says:

        Nagging? A substitute for anger? Maybe. For aggression? Perhaps. Both inside and outside marriage it can take a lot of handling. Toleration is normally the key, if you can stomach the loss of dignity. It works both ways. It’s a small price to pay and is the foundation of civilised society, acceptance of a democracy and all the benefits that ensue.

        If, however, by “inchoate anger” you mean frustrated will to physical violence, then I do not accept your hypothesis, Christopher. The line is drawn if violence is advocated or violence erupts, in which case it can only be hoped that civilisation prevails in the end.

        • Christopher says:

          As any self-respecting psychologist knows, nagging is a covert (and even not so covert) way of expressing anger, particularly by women, who also frequently engage in passive aggression (anger turned inwards) to elicit guilt from their male partners. .

          When I said “inchoate anger” I wasn’t even thinking of physical violence. I mean, one can still have inchoate anger, but not wish to bash anyone over the head.

          • Richard says:

            I long to be self-respecting, Christopher, even though I am no psychologist.

            You must admit, though, that anger can lead to violence. I thus wondered whether by inchoate anger you meant violence: clearly you do not.

            • Christopher says:

              You may have confused “inchoate” (imperfectly formed or developed; disordered or incoherent) with “choleric” (extremely irritable or easily angered; irascible).

              Could the “cho” in each word have thrown you?

              I associate “choleric” more with old retired colonels.

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