I step into the bracing chill of the blue pre-dawn, letting the pure scents of pine and earth fill my senses. The river tumbling down the mountain provides a gentle roar, an accompaniment for the first chirps of the birds. I look out to the neighboring peaks as they slowly separate themselves from the lightening grey sky, breathing a deep, peaceful sigh of delight. He is here. My heart quickens as I sense it.
“Good morning, my love.”
He smells like rain over the mountains. His voice rumbles at just the dark baritone that makes my spine tingle. I turn toward him, already clasped in his arms, and bury my face in his chest. The tension of life eases out of my muscles as he takes my weight against him, leaving me with nothing to do but rest.
“It’s been a long time since I have seen you here, dear one.”
My face heats with shame as I nod. “I’ve been busy. And with everything going on in my family right now…”
“You didn’t think I would understand?”
There is no rebuke in his voice, only sadness. I push away to look up into his face. “But we’ve been together. You’ve been there through all the drama lately.”
He mirrors my motion, stepping back a pace and grasping my hands. “Yes, but never here.”
It’s true. The wonder and beauty of this place has been a distant memory for many months. I’ve stolen a few moments to visit, barely long enough to get a lungful of mountaintop air before I plunge into the steady grind of petty disagreements and heart-bruising that has comprised my life of late.
He moves closer, slipping a hand under my arm to rest on my back. “Dance with me.”
His lead is firm but restrained. He’s waiting for me to follow. I hesitate. It has been a long time since we have danced. I’ve never overcome my natural clumsiness – it clashes so with his unceasing grace. I look up at him, let my breath out slowly, and follow his step.
The birds and the wind are our accompaniment. The symphony of nature swirls around us as we glide and turn, the pink light of dawn warming our backs. I release myself to him, basking in his joy as he tenderly guides me through the steps. As my resistance fades, he adds more intricacy to the steps, spinning me with a skill that leaves me breathless.
“I’ve waited a long time to show you these steps.”
A question forms in my mind and I speak before I have time to check it. “Why? Why all the pain? Why did we have to go through it?”
He smiles, drawing me close. “Dear one, think back before it began. Picture yourself.” I obey, conjuring the image of the dutifully faithful girl who knew the simplistic faith of a structured life. “Were you happy?”
“Happier than I have been.”
He shakes his head as we rotate once more. Without warning, he leans me into a deep dip, eliciting a giggle of delight. “And would you have done that with me?”
The understanding seeps into my soul like the slow saturation of water in hardened ground. No. I would never have dreamt of dancing with him like that. Not then.
“You mean… it was all…”
“I never said everything would be good while you go through it, dear one. Only that it will work for your good as long as you love me.”
“Ohh…” It sounds so simple when he says it. Finally, I understand.
“I’ve missed you.”
The words thrill me. From the deepest, hidden recesses of my soul, a laugh blossoms. He smiles as it tumbles out of my chest, twining with the sounds of water and birds, becoming a part of our song. We spin together, rocks, clouds and trees swirling into a mass of beauty. I put my head on his chest again as the dance slows, tears of unrestrained joy soaking both of us.
My hand instinctively moves to brush them away. “I’m not normally a crier, you know.”
He takes my hand, pulling it away from my face. “You should be. You were created to experience moments such as this to the full. Don’t deny it.”
The tears are gentle but numerous. My heart feels as if it is breaking, the joy runs so deep.
“Thank you,” I murmur, incapable of more words as beautiful, incomprehensible peace fills me.
“I love you, dear one.”
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