Monday, September 23, 2013

Kismet and the Square Dancing Trees

"I love those square dancing trees," I'd say each Sunday during the summers of 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1980, when my first husband and I would drive to the summer camp that he directed. I would point up into the mountains and comment on a pair of trees that looked exactly like they were square dancing and say with certainty, "One day, I am going to live there."

My first husband was not very communicative, usually ignoring my comments, but one time he said, "How would you ever find them? We'd never be able to afford it. You would hate living in the mountains." "No," I replied, "I will love it. It will be the happiest time of my life."

Fast forward to the summer of 1981. Gordon and I had been together a little more than six months. Once when we were going over the same highway that my first husband and I drove each summer, I showed Gordon the square dancing trees and told him that one day I was going to live there. He burst out laughing, a delighted laugh, but would not tell me why he was laughing.

Jumping ahead to 1983,  Gordon's ex-wife decided not to live in their mountain home, and she moved to the city with her boyfriend. That meant that Gordon and I were going to live in the mountain home because that is where Gordon's dad lived and where Gordon's former father-in-law lived, and we were now responsible for taking care of them along with our baby daughter Amy.

One day soon after we moved up on the mountain, a gloriously sunny fall day with the wind blowing, dramatic clouds scudding across the sky, and Amy giggling with delight from her seat on her daddy's shoulders, Gordon took me to the sheep's pasture for the first time and smiled. He gave me a big hug and then pointed. Right before my eyes were the square dancing trees. I was speechless, which made Gordon laugh out loud. He gave me a big hug and told me that he hadn't mentioned them before because he wasn't sure if we'd get to live on his mountain. When he knew we'd be living there, he wanted it to be a magical moment when he showed me the trees, and magical it most certainly was. 

When the children were young, I would show them the square dancing trees from the highway, and we were always thrilled and delighted to see our two trees dancing on our property.

This morning in the shower while fondly remembering my square dancing trees, I also remembered the day that Gordon had to cut one of the trees down because it was diseased. It was the tree that was the male partner, the one holding his hand up so the lady dancer could twirl her skirts. I had no presentiment about the future the day that tree was cut down, but, now, looking back, it seems to have been a harbinger of our future.

But one thing I know for certain--the words I said long ago to my first husband about living on the mountain: "I will love it. It will be the happiest time of my life" most definitely came true, only it came true with Gordon, my second husband, who just happened to own the square dancing trees. What were the odds? 'Twas kismet.

Take care,


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  2. Hi Kate,

    This entry made me think about how happiness and sadness comes and go in life (specifically towards the end of the second paragraph). I have yet to experience the magnitude of difference many people feel, but your words gave me a bit of insight into what impact it might have.

    That's not the only thing I got out of the entry. The warmth of your story and words had a radiant touch to it. To be able to see those square-dancing trees again while living in the mountains... it must have been wonderful! Thanks for the read!

    - Matthew

  3. Hi Kathleen…
    I have to say, that was a lovely story. Thanks for sharing!

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