Fall, in Love

golden leavesLast year around this time, as we scuffled through the fallen leaves covering a local park trail, my now-husband Steve recalled an article he’d seen about the process by which leaves change colors. The brilliant orange and yellow and red hues of autumn are always present in the leaves, the article asserted, though we see them only in the fall. In spring and summer they are masked by chlorophyll’s green. As the production of chlorophyll wanes, the bright, varied colors that were always underneath emerge to glow against the steel grays and robin’s egg blues of an October sky. The writer likened this process to the presence of God in everyone, using it as a metaphor for a kind of true spiritual beauty that all possess, even when it’s not readily apparent.

That’s a lovely idea, and the writer mostly got the science correct: carotenoids, the pigments that produce yellow, orange, and brown, are present in leaves year-round and revealed in autumn; the compounds called anthocyanins that make leaves turn red, however, are manufactured in the fall in response to a combination of light and an abundance of sugars. In any case, the process put me in mind of a slightly different metaphor. Continue reading

Ripples and Reflections

Wading in Great Salt Lake

brine shrimp lay eggsIMG_5995

that lie dormant through drought

ten years suspended—

a few drops of water,

and they hatch

without a hitch


no wonder they dance

in whole body jazz hands

sometimes the wait

is worth the miracle


Travel to a conference in Utah this week re-set my posting schedule along with my alarm clock. Faced with a decision between staying in and writing or seizing a new adventure, well: sometimes it’s necessary to stop and breathe the brine. My visit to this natural wonder was only too brief, maybe half an hour. But for those minutes of walking an ethereal landscape, my sense of being so baldly exposed and sized to scale left me feeling both insignificant and strangely empowered. I am small, but I am seen.

For those spending the weekend in Southwest Virginia parts, I want to give a shout out to the OneLove Wedding Expo set for today, Sunday, November 8th, at the Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center. Readers might recall my April post on the Weddings for Equality Vendor Showcase. The OneLove Expo is organized by the same great folks, and it promises to be a fun day and an excellent resource to find gay-friendly wedding vendors.

marina 2For love’s arrival, for its acceptance: so glad, for so many of us, that the wait is finally over.

To We or Not to We? — Thoughts on Couples’ Costumes

Halloween weekend is upon us, ushered in by chilly nights and a waning but still bright Hunter’s Moon. Ghosts and gremlins appear on neighborhood streets and office hallways, though the spectre that haunts many of us most this time of year is the question, what costume should I wear?

Can you guess this year's costume?

Can you guess this year’s costume?

Dressing up is no longer as simple as finding an old sheet: cut eye holes, it’s a ghost, wrap it around you, it’s a toga. These days Halloween attire requires navigating sticky questions. Why does the woman’s firefighter costume come with a mini-skirt and garter? Does dressing the dog in a tutu qualify as animal torture? And for those who are in a relationship: do we or don’t we couple up our costumes? Continue reading

Catch and Hold

If wishes were fishes…

Prior to our wedding, a number of recent brides, mothers-of, and members of the bridal business told us how grateful they were (and we would be) for beautiful pictures of the day to look back on. The day goes by so quickly, they all said, and no bride or groom can be everywhere at once; photos stop time and offer a window into those “elsewhere” moments. They were right, of course. But I never expected the day to be such an intense and surreal experience I would need photos to remind me of moments I actively participated in.

Sharing a signature cocktail

Sharing a signature cocktail

Strong drink was not the issue. Our signature cocktail threw a punch, but I had only one. (For those who wondered if my enthusiastic dancing was a sign I’d imbibed too freely—nope, that’s just what happens when you set me on a dance floor and play my favorite songs.) The only things I was high on were adrenaline and love. Continue reading

Two Little Words

Nicholas Coffee

On October 10th, 2015, a little before 2 in the afternoon on a sunny fall Saturday, I was standing at the counter of the Nicholas Coffee Company in downtown Pittsburgh, sipping a Cinnamon Maple Latte and breathing in the rich aroma of fresh ground beans and tea leaves shipped from around the world, when the proprietor asked me a question.

And after 45 years, 10 months, and 13 days of walking this earth—27 days, 20 hours, and 40-something minutes after walking down the aisle—I uttered for the first time ever the phrase, “My husband.”

As in, “The coffee is for my husband.”

Oh, sweet syllables: their shape in my mouth so wonderful, so strange.


Photo, Noah Magnifico