Two Conferences and a Wedding

Got back from my cousin’s wedding just a few hours ago, the weekend itself a blur of travel, conversation, food, and art. My sense of time and space is now completely confused after three consecutive weekends of plane travel. The weekend itself was pretty cool, though I wish, as always, that I’d had more time in New York City. On Friday, my family and I did manage to go into Manhattan long enough to grab a cheese slice and to tour the construction area around Ground Zero. Then, Sunday morning, while traveling to the airport, my mom, sister, and I decided to dodge the crowds at MoMA and spent the morning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art–more on that later, perhaps.

The rest of the weekend, as I mentioned, is a total blur. Travelling with my family seems to make things exponentially more difficult, and after two plane flights and a two-hour drive north into upstate New York and back, I was ready for some time alone. My father, especially, can be exhausting; he talks incessantly, nervously, enthusiastically, a constant stream of conversation with friends, family, complete strangers, anyone really, about most any topic, often making things up, usually about his family, just for the sake of a story. At some point I’d like to figure out the source of all this nervous energy, this need to talk (inabily to be silent?), but right now, I’m too tired.

The wedding itself, held in a small Episcopal church near Ghent, NY, was cool. The ceremony, the reception, and the rehearsal dinner all seemed very personalized and very much reflected the personalities of the bride and groom. My cousin, Maria, also an English teacher, chose a really cool artists’ retreat, Art Omi, to house all of the wedding guests. The groom, a big Boston Red Sox fan, chose to have guests sign a home plate from a baseball diamond rather than the standard guest book. I particularly enjoyed wandering the Sculpture Park at Art Omi, with 50-60 sculptures set off in the woods and fields of the campus. There were some cool sculptures, some visible from the road, but most hidden deep in the woods. While wandering along one of the trails early one morning (well, around 10:30 AM–early for me), we saw a doe run across a field, dodging and leaping across sculptures as it ran.

The other highlight: immediately after the wedding, my family and I stopped off at an apple orchard and stepped into the store in front. As I walked inside the store, I stmbled briefly into a giant poster for Terminator 3 somehwat incongruously hanging on one of the walls. After commenting on the strangeness of seeing such a poster several months after the movie had hit video, one of the clerks reported that the daughter of the owner had played the Terminatrix, the villainous female terminator that stalks the kinder, gentler Arnie. Naturally with such a celebrity connection, we were complelled to buy countless apples and other fruits, jams, and assorted goodies. I can say with absolute confidence that the Terminatrix’s father makes a solid apple cider. Perhaps now that I’ve consumed the apple cider, I’ll even watch the movie.

There were many other events this weekend that I ought to write about, such as the cultural mix of the groom’s Jersey family with my southern family. Or finally finishing Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude, which I quite liked. But I’m not ready yet to make sense of everything that happened this weekend. Right now, it just feels like a jumble of events, of constant motion, non-stop activity, conversation, and noise.

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