Friday, January 21, 2011

Another bit of symbolism

 Botanical symbolism is my venture into the realm of the romantic with my husband. My husband is not one to adhere to tradition simply for tradition's sake, so when we began planning our wedding we closely examined the origins of practices commonly used in modern-day weddings. The tradition that amused us the most was that of freezing the top of the wedding cake and eating it together on the first anniversary. Can you think of anything quite so unappealing? The wedding cake, in my experience, is easily the least tasty part of wedding reception fare. I admit there are exceptions, but I've found a delicious wedding cake to be an unexpected surprise rather than a fulfilled expectation. So imagining how an arguably edible cake would taste after being in the freezer for a year... not appealing. Plus the tradition seemed to be a wistful hearkening back to that perfectly orchestrated first day of matrimony rather than looking at the progress of the relationship.

So we adjusted the tradition to meet our hopes for our future life together. What if we could eat something together on our first anniversary that symbolized the fruits of our attempts to take two separate people - with striking differences and backgrounds - and mesh them into one family united by common values and goals? And what better representation of the fruits of our labors than actual fruit? So originated our central theme of trees and their fruit.

I designed our wedding announcements using ink, and drew two separate trees with their branches growing together (in a celtic knot design - a nod to my irish heritage, and reference to the eternal nature of the family we would form) and laden with fruit.
The culmination of this idea was a matrimonial tree planting the day after our wedding. We planted two apple trees, hoping to someday eat the fruit they produced.
 It's funny how all this symbolism was so important to us, and yet we now only occasionally remember the trees maturing in my parents' backyard. But when we go to visit and see them, it is a poignant reminder of what we hope to accomplish. And our daughters are getting old enough to perhaps appreciate their meaning and see how they themselves fit integrally into our relationship.

My mom will sometimes pass along a report on the health and progress of our trees. Both are still alive but only one has produced fruit thus far - some years only a piddly apple or two, but others a bumper crop. I take comfort in knowing whose tree that obviously must be as I waddle into my seventh month of pregnancy.


  1. Those trees in my backyard are reflected by way of the wonderful mosaic you created on the great room wall. Just yesterday, a friend, seeing the wall for the first time, gazed at it longingly, saying she wished she could take it with her. I'm so grateful to be on the receiving end of your creativity!

  2. Thanks, Mom! I'm grateful to have a mom that is so welcoming of my many projects.