Storytime. This felt special.
I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, I talk about it regularly and in general appreciate my rural roots. Rarely do I mention exactly where I am from, mostly because nobody will know it or perhaps they won’t actually care, but despite my assumed lack of interest from others it still comes up on occasion.
When Christina reached out to us to capture her and Ben’s wedding she mentioned where the wedding would be of course. That’s where I grew up, like not the same general area, but the VILLAGE I grew up in! I immediately tried looking them both up because I didn’t recognize their names, and while I didn’t find a connection I was excited none-the-less. “New to the area?” I wondered. I couldn't have been more wrong.
As the date got closer, we were making rain plans and addresses were getting confirmed. The rain plan was to hold the reception in a small community hall, “The address comes up wrong in google but it’s right at the end of the lane.” she says … I’m thinking “that sounds familiar” and sure enough when I looked it up it was not only sounding familiar, it was entirely familiar … It was my school bus stop for 12 years.
Immediately I looked up the address for the ceremony. Now, I’ll pause here to give you a bit of backstory.
We grew up in the woods, the woods woods … in a tiny little house, down a bendy dirt road. The kind of home where you don’t have a door key because it’s never locked and rarely even closed. Our play things were bicycles, toy cars and some old tonka dump trucks but mostly we reached for sticks, rocks and our imagination. Climbing trees was scaling cliffs, building forts covered in ferns became caves, and the mysterious house at the end of our lane was “The Yellow House”, or when we were circling it on our bicycles it was the Yellow Castle and we were the guards.
Every summer this mystifying older lady would drive back our lane, driving slowly by our home because we were wild children and were often in the middle of the road, gently making her way up the hill to the Yellow Castle. We knew when she was there to not go back that far and provide her privacy. As years passed we patrolled the Yellow Castle less and less, but there are myriads of trails back there so we would find ourselves passing by once in a while. The grandeur of this home was never lost on me. It’s beautiful. A stately perch at the end of a dirt road, surrounded by forest in the back, orchards in the front, the road like a tunnel drawing you home.
I’ve eaten countless apples from those trees, I’ve ridden horses, atvs, dirt bikes and bicycles all around this property - looking after it as much as possible, as much as a child can I suppose; concerned about and announcing every vehicle we didn’t recognize making its way close to the castle. I’ve read whole books in the tall trees at the edge of the forest, written poems and created some of my first images here. Really … it would be safe to say I found myself in those woods, lost myself too … I even peed my pants running from a black bear in those woods - admittedly a bear that was probably just as scared to see me as I was to see it, but I never turned around to see it not chasing me. In my mind it was definitely giving chase.
“I shot my very first roll of film in that orchard.” I told Kelsey Anne as we parked the car. Now, nearly 2 decades later on a rainy August day I found myself marching up to the castle once again. Only this time not to defend it from anyone or anything, but to be welcomed by it and now it’s family and friends, for a beautiful, heartfelt ceremony. Christina was getting ready inside, friends and family were spilling on to the front lawn under umbrellas, and Ben pulled up smiling and excited.
We captured the ceremony without telling anyone the connection but shortly after I found Christina’s grandmother, the matriarch of the home, and introduced myself. Word spread throughout the evening and everyone who talked to us about it was wow’d by the connection. Some people would be happy to just call it coincidence, however I’m one to believe the universe bringing pieces of it’s puzzle together like this is delightfully magical and we get to experience it!
Now, I know photography is not about the photographer, and really this blog post should be about Christina and Ben, but what happened here in this story is nothing short of magic. Like “Foxy Ben” capturing the eye of Christina and how she baked her way into his heart with muffins. Like finally meeting the Queen of the Yellow Castle and documenting her granddaughter getting married. I feel so blessed that Christina and Ben found us; of all the talented wedding photographers Nova Scotia has to offer they not only found us, chose us, but brought us “home”.
I loved how this experience shaped and informed the way we captured their wedding day. In my heart I could feel something so special happening that it outshone the rain clouds, it punctuated the importance of this moment in time. I hope that feeling of significance is forever with me in these moments - may it always feel this special.