Friday, April 04, 2008

Lovers Lane - May 2008

Lovers' Lanes

We have two lovers' lanes that I know about on the estate. Most likely there are more. Probably lovers walk through a forest. Perhaps some ramble along the stream. But these two paths I know about directly from lovers who used them.

Any physical indication of the first lane is long gone, but my friend who walked this with her husband-to-be has explained exactly where it was. A double alley of oak trees went from just behind our garden, across a field to a meadow between two ponds to a road to another village. That alley is where they walked, exchanging secrets and caresses. Wildlife was plentiful here. Grouse ran, hares frisked, pheasants stalked. The walk was especially lovely through the meadow between the two ponds. Sometimes they saw a deer with her fawn.

Later in the 1970's and 1980's the regime proceeded to turn the typical small Czech fields into giant rolling fields like countries further east have. What to do with that oak alley? The head of the farm collective knew what he wanted. After he had the oaks chopped down, he had furniture for his house made with the wood.

Just the other day my friend told me again how lovely that oak alley was where they ambled and courted. She's sad that it was all cut down, but its beauty lives on in her heart and her husband's.

You may still go on the other lovers' lane, as it's a small rocky dirt road which is occasionally driven on and often walked upon. Down below it splits, one branch leading to the old brick yard and the other to a meadow and stream. Over the stream is a small wooden bridge.

In 1996 we were preparing for our Fourth of July party. My neighbor at the time, Joan, was making three-bean salad; our son David was getting fires started; my husband was entertaining early arrivals; one daughter was putting up red, white, and blue decorations; another daughter, Alice, was mowing the lawn. She had to stop for awhile to converse with her grandmother. Finally finishing the lawn, her friend Christian took her away for a walk.

They walked through the village, down to the meadow, and onto the bridge. They became engaged. Christian gave Alice a ring set with family diamonds and in the center a garnet he'd purchased. The garnet is because garnets are Czech stones, and Alice is half-Czech. The following summer they were married here in the Zamek chapel.

My artist friend, Edna, once visited us for a month. Afterwards she did a painting of a small bridge which we bought Alice and Christian for Christmas several years later. It hangs in their room, and is a keepsake of their engagement on the Fourth of July.