Peach Orchard is a place I will remember like no other place I have ever been as a young adult. The nature's simplicity casting its beauty between every branch, every rock and every root. The crisp clear water always running steadily through curves of rock that look soft enough to slide down. The life that swims in the smallest pool at the paths entrance, they're memories that wait for me there. Where the pool turns narrow but deep there is a ledge that seems to float on top of the water. Often times we would use it as a table. Waist high in the water with dinner from the restaurant down the street where he worked. The Stonecat always has the freshest foods; greens picked upon your order and pulled pork that was to die for. And there we would stand, as if in our own little paradise, dining in the water on our table of stone. Every time I walk through I can see us there, doing nothing but passing the time and just being.
Often times we'd bring the 2 year old chocolate lab that was named Mocha, but we referred to her as our dogter. She would stay at his hip following up front waiting to reach the water. The sight of the 2 of them walking side by side is imprinted in my mind, with nothing but Peach Orchard in the background. The log that lay across the path from the ice storm the year before still lays there; just like the memories of every day we spent there. We'd take her to the first pool where she knew she would get a bath. Walking through there now I can still imagine the smell of the strawberry cheesecake shampoo I had gotten her. It was in a purple bottle, with the cap shaped like a bone and it was our favorite. I can still see her jumping in to catch the stick he had thrown to wash away the soap suds we had just lathered into her dark brown fur. The suds always left a line of bubbles trailing after her as she retrieved the stick only to bring it back to be thrown again. She would wait with such patience. She was such a good girl.
Other times he and I would head up to the first waterfall. Either we would discuss the days or if it was hot we'd jump in. To the left of the waterfall there is a massive wall, so tall you would have to lean your head to rest on the back of your shoulders just to see the top. On this wall everyone draws on a rock and leaves it there for all visitors to see. Our rock still sits there in the same place we put it before he ever left. I always think I might take it down but I can never bring myself to it. The rock that was next to ours is Mochas, hers still sits there too. The same old chair shaped rock sits directly in front of the waterfall where we often stood taking turns drying each other off because we were too unprepared to bring 2 towels and we'd keep Mocha out of the mud on the way back and simply lay it down in the back seat. Her paw prints were still visible in the fabric for so long.
There is a second waterfall. To get there we had to climb up the first one. This scared him; he didn't want me to get hurt. Like the time when Peach Orchard was all ice and I couldn't get over the step in the rocks. That's when he caught me, but I still have to scar from hitting my foot off the icy rock. I don't go that way anymore; I simply walk through the water. The rope swing still hangs at the second waterfall. I have a feeling it always will. He used to try and climb to the top, but it is always going to be too steep. The little ledge acted as a resting spot for him and me to simply take it all in, if only for a moment. We always knew the beauty of the highest waterfall but neglected to visit it too often. He was always so concerned Mocha would get hurt but she could run up and down the waterfall as if it was flat land. She always impressed us. The rope that we both hung on to on the way down is still there, that thing is never going to break.
The memories that are stuck at this place are over whelming. As I walk through now, I can play them all in my head as if they were happening at that very second. I can see him, his smile and his green eyes. I can see Mocha watching him ready to tend to his every command, kind of like I was. I remember the smells and how the plants feel on my skin. I remember the 'thistle' or so he called it and how it made me break out but only for a minute. He was right, it wouldn't last long. I can still feel the rocks on my feet if I look through the water and see the exact ones we used to stand on. I want to stand there again, but I can't do it, not without him. He'd always wait for it to be noon, so the sun would shine directly into the water and heat it up, it seems like the sun never stops shining there anymore.
This place is the most beautiful place I have been. Not because the sights, although they are breath taking. Not for the smells, although the nature just has a calming sent. Not for the rock or the fish, the water, the plants or the trees. This place is beautiful because it was ours. The memories will never leave this place; it's like natures scrapbook of what we used to be. It can't ever crumble and the ink will never run and the pages will never wear. This place is something we have forever to remember what once was although it no longer is. It's a place where love existed and thrived, where it grew so big and beautiful we could have shared it with the world. Perhaps it was too great for then. Maybe one day I'll visit there and he'll be there waist deep eating at the ledge or playing fetch with Mocha, giving her a bath, maybe he will be swimming, climbing. The options are endless, but maybe we will be there again someday, somehow but, Peach Orchard is all I have left of him right now.
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