Matt White was born on this day in Rockford, Illinois (1967). He has performed in the Nutcracker, earned gold medals diving for Columbia, searched for rare flowers in the desert, traveled the world, ridden in a parade limo with Ralph Malph of Happy Days fame, made lunch for Ralph Nader, nearly burned down his apartment, laughed with glee while watching countless people fall down on America’s Funniest Videos, learned to make Osso Bucco after I read about it in a poem, and become a national expert on quantifying the problem of homelessness and efforts to decrease it.
Here are the vows I read to him during our civil union ceremony in Stowe, Vermont on February 7, 2003. We held our private ceremony in the home of Justice of the Peace Elizabeth Campbell who was baking cookies when we arrived.
Being born into this world is a mystery. There is no way for us to take credit for even one of the infinite number of steps that lead to the initial spark of our lives. Our lives are gifts to us and I want to be wide awake for mine. I want to live it fully and honestly.
I did not go searching for you. You were a complete surprise. If I had known that such a phenomenon as Matt White existed, I would have set out to find you. You were like a pond hidden in the mountains of New Mexico that I accidently happened upon—your surface completely still, your water crystal clear, the sun shining in the clear blue sky above you. Breathtaking. I continue to be amazed by the endless discoveries I’ve made in you.
How lucky are those who have been given a glimpse of the brightly colored fish living inside you. But I am the luckiest of all, having learned that contained in your depths is a treasure chest overflowing with riches and magic beyond my wildest dreams. I will never tire of swimming in you as long as I live.
Considering what stood between where we were when we first met and where we are these ten years later, I am profoundly humbled by the impossibility of our union which I know as sacred and which is now being recognized as civil.
It is in awe of these miracles of life and love which are so easily taken for granted that I enter into this vow of commitment to you by the choices I make every day. By practicing paying attention to the holiness hidden inside each moment—in private and in public, in pleasure and in suffering, alone and together—may our love continue its slow, unrepeatable blooming.
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For What Binds Us
by Jane Hirschfield
There are names for what binds us: strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them: the skin that forms in a half-
empty cup, nails rusting into the places they join, joints
dovetailed on their own weight, the way things stay so solidly
wherever they’ve been set down—and gravity, scientists say, is
And see how the flesh grows back across a wound, with a great
vehemence, more strong than the simple, untested surface
There’s a name for it on horses, when it comes back darker and
raised: proud flesh, as all flesh is proud of its wounds, wears
them as honors given out after battle, small triumphs pinned to
And when two people have loved each other see how it is like a
scar between their bodies, stronger, darker, proud; how the
black cord makes of them a single fabric that nothing can tear or
- Gordon and Bertica sent “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved” by Nakim Hikmet