Friday, August 7, 2015


AUGUST 1, 2015
The clear blue skies that blanket Madison most summer days had embraced the first day of August. There is a clarity in taking a deep fearless breath on these crystal clear days. The three of us: Rick, Emmy and I left our luggage for the trip at home and headed off to the eighth oldest temple remaining in the United States, The Gates of Heaven, a small sandstone and cream brick building built in 1863 by German immigrants. The refurbished temple sits to the side of a city park on the shores of Lake Mendota.
Two teenagers handed out the parchment programs for the wedding of Rene Robinson and Michelle Reints. It would be our first gay wedding where a legal document verified the legitimacy of the marriage between two women. It was to be the beginning of a purging of decades of personal stress and eons of second-class citizenship for a marginalized segment of society. There wasn't any rice to be thrown but the mantle of repression and failure was tossed to the wind as we started our personal and travel adventures in the warmth of the August of 2015.
We drove back home and packed the car with our five pieces of luggage: two large and three carry-ons all of them the new four-wheel versions that seem to glide through airport gateways. It was now dusk as we turned onto the ramp leading to I-94 our link to Milwaukee and our first stop on the road back to a month in Europe. July thirty-first was a blue moon day, but August first saw the moon rise over the eastern horizon the size of a silver dollar and the color of a bar of gold. It rose right in front of us like the bright light people say they see with near death experiences.
They say it appears as the light leading to the gates of heaven. It was our beacon. It was what pierced our psyches and drew us onward with excitement towards a journey we had every expectation would be wonderful and if that wasn't enough just as the moon rose over the tree line a spectacular fireworks exhibition burst to our side cascading the embers of wonder as a talisman for the trip ahead.

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