To say that the weather is beautiful today hardly does it justice. The sun is brilliant, making the dewdrops on grass and leaves sparkle like crystal. The sky is a deep, deep blue. The air is crisp and clean and sweet. And the instant my still-sleepy eyes were dazzled by sunshine, I was caught in one of those unexpected, unremarkable moments that is going to stand out in my memory for a long time. The day was full to bursting with possibility.
On this day last year, I spent the morning laying on my parent's couch, watching the Royal Wedding. I remember when Kate Middleton stepped out of the car -- her veil fluttering in the wind, the satin folds of her dress falling perfectly, the swelling roar of the crowd. She looked gorgeous, but more importantly, she looked incredibly happy.
It was, in a word, thrilling.
When the organ began booming and the boy's choir broke into the opening of "I Was Glad," I had tears in my eyes.
1:25 in, should you care to watch (you should care indeed!)
I think what I, and many others, loved so much about the royal wedding was the chance to share in a celebration at once common and extraordinary. Millions of people get married each year, so it's not like a coronation (thrilling in its own way) -- it isn't a ceremony reserved for the chosen few. It's a ceremony for people in love, for people building a life together.
Rarely are these ceremonies witnessed by two billion people around the world, of course. But the fact that theirs was spectacularly public meant that it became a collective swell of optimism and pageantry and love.
My brother is going through his commencement ceremony today at Pitt. While he still must finish a summer internship rotation as the final requirement of his major, he has already secured a full-time job in computer engineering next fall and is -- for all intents and purposes -- finished with his undergraduate studies, a newly minted adult.
So today is a momentous occasion in his life.
But while I watched my BBC Royal Wedding DVD this morning, I realized that my favorite part of that day was the beginning, the time before the actual ceremony kicked off... when the anticipation and excitement was palpable, when the air was electric with energy.
I also realized that there is nowhere I'd rather be today then here, on my back patio, under the chilly Pittsburgh sunlight -- or on the front porch with Kyle, drinking coffee in our sweatpants -- or driving out to my parent's house to pick up Daniel and several bottles of champagne, ready to celebrate Matthew's achievement and eat some delicious food tonight.
And I'm not sure that I'm making the point of this post clear at all, but I'm going to keep plowing ahead anyway...
People laugh at sentimental advice like "Savor the small stuff," but that saying has a little heart of gold. Last week when I was writing about my spring fever, I said:
My day to day life is delightful, but things like weddings and babies -- they come once in a lifetime, and they are pure magic.
That's true. Huge events are so precious because they are so few -- a graduation, a wedding, a birth, a home, retirement.
But it's the cold, sunny, blue-sky Sunday mornings and it's the dreams of our lives' next big events that enrich us. If our lives are like rings, then the magical, stand-out moments are diamonds -- but the small, quiet, happy hours are the gold that holds the stones together, giving their glittering brilliance warmth and strength and continuity.
So here's to those stretches of happiness and hard work and humor in between the brilliance, those good-as-gold days and weeks that make a life worthy of diamonds scattered here and there.
Here's to the royal couple, to the end of their newlywed year and to a lifetime of joy together.
Here's to my brother, to the end of four years of hard work and fun play, to the career I know he'll excel in, to the life he's setting out to build.
And here's to you, whoever you are out there, because we all deserve a toast now and then -- hoping your diamonds stand out, but especially that your gold is bright and strong.