It seems that part of the fragility and brevity of life requires us to mark passages with time. The recent 60th Anniversary of D-Day, last year's 40th Anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination, everyone's periodic high school and college reunions, etc.
Now it's time for one of mine. It has been nearly ten years since this photo of Mércia and me was taken:
We had been married two weeks at that time after knowing each other for only four months. We were still working through some of the getting to know you phase, compounded by the cultural differences inherent in our relationship.
Fortunately, I was welcomed by her wonderful family when I went to Brazil the first time for the religious wedding a year to the day later (I remember remarking to a friend on our second anniversary, "This is the first June 10th in three years that I'm not getting married!"). By the time this next photo was taken, during a trip we made after her sister's wedding in 1998, I was just another member of her huge family. (By the way, if you want to learn about family values, don't listen to a politician bloviate; marry a latino or latina.)
Time moves inexorably forward, conflicts arise and are resolved, accommodations are made, bonds are strengthened, life transitions take place on both sides. If you're lucky, you get to grow old together. I hope to grow old with you, Mércia.
Thank you for ten wonderful years. Eu te amo! Muitissimo!
I'll leave the last words to Robert Browning:
In one year they sent a million fighters forth
South and North,
And they built their gods a brazen pillar high
As the sky,
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force--
Gold, of course.
Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!
Love is best.