Under the Old Apple Tree ~ a Love Story


We awoke before dawn this day, whispered our good mornings, entwined our fingers with leg thrown over leg; our sleepy minds slowly giving thought to the day ahead.

Shapes emerged in the window’s view as the dawn began to rise, rows of dark spires, mostly young redwood peaks, swathed in grey velvet scarves. Shifting, thinning, the morning fog slowly rolled around and down our coastal canyon.

Silently, we rose and dressed.

Outside, the damp fog swaddled us close; we held hands tightly and began the trek down the road. Our faces glowed with anticipation of this day as our feet crunched on gravelly remains of the mostly dirt road.

At the sprawling blackberry hedge on the far edge of the property, we turned left, starting down the steep hill, our mutual silence accompanying us as third.

Foggy tendrils swirled at the bottom of the road as we crossed to the redwood stump that marked our trail. Shadowy recesses, hand-chiseled notches, marched up the trunk: hundred year-old signatures of the loggers gone by. I placed my hand in one, giving my usual small caress before moving on.

The trail downhill curved, then narrowed; we fell into familiar single-file, narrow wedges of steps cut into the steep bank requiring full attention in the hazy grey dawn. A skyward glance assured the grey would soon transform into robin’s egg blue.

Huge fern fronds slapped our shins leaving wet splashes as we brushed past, this way and that as the trail demanded, until we reached the rocky, sandy, edge of the creek. The water roiled, tossing and foaming around boulders — more river than creek — crisp, clean snow-melt riotously tumbling down to the sea.

Sinking to our knees by water’s edge now highlighted with morning’s rays, we sat in silent meditation for long minutes.

In unison we dipped our hands in the icy flow.

We scooped ablutions to our foreheads, our faces, our throats, our hearts. Prayers deep and peaceful, hopeful …grateful… were offered to the day.

We turned, faced each other, held out our icy hands, then grasped. Silent vows passed between us.

We smiled, and in our silence, my heart sang.

~

In the afternoon, we stepped into a circle of loving family and friends, all gathered under our old apple tree, the promised blue sky overhead.

Two retrievers led, one golden, one black, then our two boys in suits (one wearing surf booties, one wearing water shoes). They scattered rose petals for our entrance. Two friends sang heartsongs while playing the guitar, wishes for our happiness were spoken around the circle.

Then, with two dogs and two children at our feet, we turned our gaze to each other again.

This time, our vows we spoke out loud.