Unexpected Joy Received Today

Today was a long day for me. Make that a very long day. I shot my second wedding today, and I have to say that it would take me a while to really get the hang of this to where I don’t feel like I just finished a marathon! I did surmise that taking photos of a wedding is similar to an athlete performing during an important do-or-die game. You only get one chance to get it right. Lots of pressure, and the opportunities really go quickly. Like, say, the kiss at the end of the ceremony. That only happens once!!! But that all is beside the point to this entry…

This morning I showed up at the grooms house to document some of the action of the guys getting ready for the day, attempting to tie ties when they’ve never worn one, etc. It was a good time. The coolest thing happened at the end as we left the house to go to where the ceremony was being held. All the groomsmen loaded up in a traditional wedding car and where whisked away to the hotel. As soon as they left, I grabbed my gear, got in the car, and set out to follow them. Now, the house itself is really neat. It’s registered as the oldest inhabited house in Connemara dating back to 1552 when it was originally built. To get to this house, essentially you have to drive from one end of the village to the other, and wind down a long stretch of road that’s two way, yet barely wide enough to fit a single car. All down this lane, there are houses lining the road…probably about 30 in all. As I’m driving, I began to see smoke, and lots of it. I quickly realized what was happening. You see, in Ireland, the bonfire for ages has been a way the people have marked celebrations, major events and even the changing of seasons; a tradition that lives on today. On our own road into the city, for instance, if the local team wins a match, there’s places along the road where fires are lit to show the support for the team. There’s bonfires lit every Halloween night, and every Summer Solstice. You get the idea. Well, as I drove along, I noticed that every house had a fire lit next to the road. And not just a measly little camp-fire, I mean a fire. Hot enough I could feel it through the car as I zipped past. I was stunned at the symbolism of what this meant. Here’s two people that have been living in this little village for several years getting married, and as a show of support, they light the fires. I know the fires in themselves weren’t much, but the show of support, the “we’re behind you in your new life” statement really touched me. I think they may have caught a glimpse of what “community” truly means.

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