The Ghost Veil


A picture speaks a thousand words, does it not? But hell, a few words here nor there won’t hurt.

Indeed, words, for people like you and I, reverse the desiccation of days spent writing reports for money.

So: here is Picture The First: the wedding in the Tuileries.

If you can tear yourself away from the Louvre and stroll down to the Place De La Concorde in Paris, you can bask in a very peculiar beauty. This is such well trodden territory: I doubt if there are many of you who have not been there. A wide sandy tree-lined avenue infused with romance.

This day, I was there with my daughter, escaping from the horror of Eurodisney. We had seen the Mona Lisa, gaped at the glass pyramid and bought sun hats because it was baking, dry heat. The street artists sketched and the street vendors sold, but lazily today.

And as we walked, it clouded over: a heat haze. And with complete serendipity, we happened upon a bride.

Sometimes we are granted a snapshot of someone else’s life, and here we were, taken aback by a gust of wind which lifted the ghostly veil and offered it to the air and the groom and the bridesmaid and any bystander.

I lifted the camera and captured the soul of a bride, so that here in this little cyberchamber, dimly lit with candles and thickly scented with jasmine, I could open the box and the wedding would play out for you, standing there in the Tuileries, as I did once.

I wonder if she is happy, this bride? How the dress and the gorgeous venue worked out for her, and who her friend was, and whether she and her husband are now four, not two, or even more, and indeed whether each of the small additions to the family is a prodigy or a pestilence?

It’s just a picture. A snapshot of a gust of wind claiming the foreground.



25 thoughts on “The Ghost Veil

  1. A picture like that certainly can bring a place alive again in the memory. He looks as if he is examining the quality of the veil, doesn’t he? Bride looks startled; pink lady amused.

    1. Hi Helen, I’m going for dress design- I think it was a short skirt blown very hard. It was lovely: I think it is the only wedding I have ever taken photographs of.

  2. There’s inspiration in this photo. There is so much hope in the moment when a young woman puts on that beautiful dress and launches into the future. You have me wondering about her now, too!

    1. It is a beginning, Debra, like all beginnings. The Celt urges me not to colour the past with its future, but to allow the moment to be just what it was. He has a point.
      Thinking of you at this time. To use a cliche, words don’t say adequately what I would like to. May you wake every day in peace.

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  4. btw – Re the other picture I was wondering about as per question in ‘The Fountainous Pen’, it is of ‘The Stapley Family of Hickstead House’ and a cousin in UK thinks she saw it at Marble Hall but isn’t sure.

  5. I don’t know how windy it really is..If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million ~ words ~ (We could find out the wind velocity if audio was included… and if anyone did actually say anything to give more meaning to the moment

  6. What an intriguing post, dear Kate. Wouldn’t this be an interesting creative writing assignment? I wonder if they man in the chair is part of the wedding party – or has any idea of what is going on behind his back. The bride seems to be looking at him. Is she wondering if her father will ever accept her marriage.
    I love these moments.
    Last May, on our anniversary, we took a walk at the arboretum. We happened upon a bridal couple and their photographer. We congratulated them and said it was anniversary. As we walked away, the photographer called us back, wanting to take a picture of the four of us.

    1. Hi Debra, what goes around comeso around, and it is wonderful to hear of a photographer honouring a marriage which has joyfully stood the test of time. The man in the wheelchair….we will never know….

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