As Coda and I stand on the fringe of the sands of Killiecrankie Bay Beach, the gentle crash of waves helps soothe the nervous feeling that has crept up on me. Staring into the distance I am look for signs of people gathering at the far end of the beach which is approximately 2.5 km’s away. At that distance there is no hope of finding what I am looking for, but I look on anyway.
A quick look at my watch tells me it is time to mount up and begin the journey to where the ceremony will begin. You see today is a very special day, a day where my greatest adventure yet will begin.
As I climb into the saddle, I feel the sudden excitement of what is to come. Coda no doubt can sense my excitement and to demonstrate this point, Coda systematically moves forward onto the beach, heading toward the base of the Killiecrankie Mountain where I will meet the woman who will soon become my wife.
The sun is out in all its glory and the wind too has decided to join us - increasing the sound of the crashing waves to our left. Although Coda continues on at a gentle pace, I can feel her apprehension and her ears tell me she does not really care much for the waves, I think preferring a path much further from the waves.
As we cross Killiecrankie Creek and pass the remnants of what looks to be the hull of an old boat embedded in the sand, Coda’s ears move forward telling me that there is movement ahead. In the distance there are several people congregating together, the first signs of where our ceremony will be.
We cannot arrive before the bride walks onto the beach, but it is almost 5 o’clock, the time we had agreed to meet and no sign of my bride. A family of 4 stops us along our journey asking what we are up to. With a smile I say, 'I am getting married; don’t suppose you have seen my bride?'. A young lady who I assume is the mother smiles and says not to worry, I am sure she is not far away.
We have arrived at our destination but there is no sign of my beautiful bride. Has there
been a change of mind? Has something happened? These thoughts have come from nowhere and serve no purpose other than to unsettle oneself. To remove these thoughts from my mind, I trot Coda for a spell, back the way we had come and continue moving in circles to keep ourselves occupied.
As we turn toward the gathered group one last time, I am met with the most beautiful and stunning of sights of my bride walking down the sand path towards the beach. A moment in time that will be blissfully etched within the depths of my mind forever.
Coda in true style moves in alongside my bride, who with the grace of a Queen is a true vision of beauty. As one, we walk together briefly, stop and I dismount. I am truly left speechless and can feel my face grow hot. I really do love this woman; This is my Wonder Woman.
As I take Tahnee’s arm, we walk toward Nat our cheery and vibrant Celebrant who is patiently waiting for us. I can’t help but to keep sneaking a look at Tahnee, I really am mesmerised by this woman. With the sound of ‘Marry Me' by 'Train' in the background and this beautiful woman by my side I do not wish to be anywhere but here.
As the ‘fringe’ on my buckskins flow freely in the wind so too do the sacred words of our vows. The emotion within Tahnee’s words shows sincerely within her tears of joy:
“Dakota, thank you for changing my life. For showing me what it is to love and to be loved in return.
You make me want to be a better person, yet you love me for who I am, as I am.
You make me feel safe in all that we do, as we ride this crazy journey of life together.
You make me laugh every day, with your songs, your jokes and just you being you.
But most of all, I can’t believe I get to marry the real Batman.
I, Tahnee Smith, promise I will always be true to you, respect you in all that you do. Dakota Wolf, you are my person, my soulmate – we fit perfectly, and I can’t wait to love you to the end of time.”
Wow, this woman really is amazing and with a lump in my throat it is time for me to tell her of my admiration and dedication to her;
“Tahnee, my Wonder Woman and the love of my life,
With my heart within your hands, you are the light that leads me from darkness, the kindness which keeps me humble and the kindred spirit who makes me whole.
I, Dakota Wolf, today marry you Tahnee and promise to love, respect, honour and to protect you in this life and the next…..”
These vows are from the soul, from the heart and from this day forward etched in our memories and will be immortalised in our own history.
As my daughter steps forward with the responsibility as the 'Ring Bearer', there is a moment of concern when she pats her pockets looking for the rings but soon realise that it is a moment of humour.
Sealing these sacred words with that long-awaited kiss I have been waiting so patiently to experience, is a moment that continues to resonate even later as we complete the signing ceremony to finalise our vows to each other.
The ride back to the ‘Wombat Lodge’ where our reception will be held provides me with time to reflect and to enjoy the sound of a word I had never had the privilege to say with such meaning; 'Wife'.
As Coda breaks into a canter and my body moves with the ripple of her movements, I realise that I can’t wait to be by Tahnee’s side. In all honesty it is amazing how all this excitement makes a man hungry, as a matter of fact I hope there is enough food for everyone else.
As I reign in and step down from the saddle, it becomes apparent that my hunger will need to continue for a while longer as the photographer is keen to capture some immortalised moments.
We satisfy this request whilst Coda has decided to head down the dirt track and back to her paddock where Caliska can be heard calling out from the distance.
After following her, the bag full of carrots I have carried with me is a treat Coda is more than happy to devour and after stripping her saddle, I rub her down and thank her for being our 'Guard of Honour', a role that only Coda was destined to play.
As we all take our seats within the old rustic dining area of the Wombat Lodge, our host and her Chef serve up a feast of local ingredients and cuisine that boasts a quality reserved for a King and his Queen. We are not disappointed and as I look around the room at the family and friends who are here with us, I feel thankful to be able to share this meal and this moment with those amongst us.
I am a simple man and enjoy a simple life, for it is "the simple things in life which make life simple". So, only fitting that a serving of old ‘bear sign’, homemade ice cream and apple & blueberry pie with vanilla cream be part of this occasion, a desert that every horseman and his wife would enjoy and understand the significance of.
Bear sign back in the day, were a treat that every cowboy would ride miles to experience. The slang 'bear sign' came about because these doughnuts didn’t look like your modern-day doughnuts, no.... because in all honesty they looked more like a pile of bear poop. Yep, but don’t let that fool you as the taste you would swear had come from the heavens.
As the evening ends and I allow the fire to burn down we say farewell to our guests. As we look out into the night, the moonlight, mist and peaceful ambience of this piece of paradise I embrace my beautiful wife and decide that the remainder of this evening is for us both to enjoy and is best not to be shared with anyone else…...