The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Off to the Courthouse

Mural at the marriage registryYesterday was the big day no one but me and Mark knew about --- we ran off and got married at city hall!  For weeks, I've been holding my tongue whenever I talked to anyone I care about, dying to spill the beans but knowing I'd better not.  At night, I fought off nightmares where my friends and family forced me into dresses and veils and churches.

I'm the one woman in a thousand who never dreamed of her wedding day, who disavowed the notion of a church and state sanctioned relationship.  But after three and a half years living in each other's pockets, we decided to throw a big party for our friends and family --- kind of a commitment ceremony.  And that got me thinking, so I took a look at our taxes and realized we'd save $500 by signing the sheet of paper.

We set the date for the day after the solstice so that even I could remember when our anniversaries roll around.  I also like the symbolism of the light returning to the earth.  And, of course, there's the fact that we had to get married before the end of the year to get the tax break. 

Yesterday we set out, picture IDs in hand, to the county courthouse.  But ten minutes from home, Mark got cold feet.  After all, the temperature here has dropped into the teens.  So we turned the hot air in the car to blow down instead of up onto the windshield and continued on our way to the court house in the next county over --- our county doesn't have anyone on hand to perform marriages.

We wandered into a vast office room with a science fiction mural on the wall.  There, a young clerk took down our information and printed out a marriage certificate, then sent us out into the hall to wait for another person to show up who was able to perform the ceremony.  There we sat for ten more minutes, facing a memorial to all of the people from the county who had died in recent wars, until we were ushered right back in front of the spaceships to pledge our troth.

To my dismay, God was invoked, but I held my peace and looked into Mark's blue eyes and held his hands.  And, to be honest, even though it was just a piece of paper saying what we've already said to each other hundreds of times, my stomach fluttered a little.  No rings --- I'm not into jewelry any more than I'm into white dresses --- just our word and a slip of paper, and we headed together back out into the cold, hand in hand.

A party is in the works --- set for September so that I'll have time to grow the food.  If you haven't gotten an email invitation yet and would like one, drop me an email and I'll give you far more information than you'd ever want.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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