Woods and waterfalls are like twins for me and Dave to hold hands with as we wander through creek beds. My best friend Gaylee used to guide my way to new waterfalls by way of her book, 200 Waterfalls in Western and Central New York. She died of cancer in 2019, leaving me with only the book to show me the way.

On a hot July day 2020, I find myself near Skaneateles Lake, and decide to take the plunge. In a life-guarded roped-off area I am swimming laps when a man’s head approaches me with “Hello, what a beautiful day for a swim!” and joins me with parallel strokes of arms and conversation.

That was five months ago, and I am still shocked by how we met, adding to a slow beginning of cozy conversation on the beach; then waiting three weeks for his text to arrive. Our first waterfall trek through woods was to Eternal Flame Falls: an obvious premonition.

On September 21st, we hiked 2.2 miles round trip through oaks, sycamores, and maples into creek beds to find 120-foot-high Warsaw Falls where we eat a picnic lunch of garden-fresh tomato and onion sandwiches, a Wings of Life salad, and Sun chips. Our dessert is kissing passionately as the water falls gracefully, reminding me of telling Dave, “I am falling in love with you,” at the foot of Barnes Creek Falls September 4th. (It wasn’t until October at Platts Cove Falls found in the Catskills, that I would feel safe enough to arouse Dave into a ‘woody’😊 because he especially likes kissing outdoors in nature.)

It was on our return from Warsaw Falls that we found my locked Jeep, with no keys to be found. Luckily, I had left the windows down far enough that Dave could manually unlock. I felt dismayed not only because I may have lost the keys in the woods by falling out of my backpack – but because my name, Dianea, was specially carved into the wood grain of the key ring by a craftsman. (I had six other similar key rings crafted with family members or friends’ names along with mine over a decade ago.) The extra set of car keys were in my glove compartment, so my grieving was souly sentimental.

Three months later, December 19th, (spiritually married as of Halloween), we are creating “our” apartment in Depew, buying mostly from estate sales. At one stop, I am craving grapes which I knew I had brought from Ithaca; I search the Jeep’s back floor, under the passenger seat, and then under the driver’s seat. My eyes do not believe what they see. My wooden-carved lost key ring!  Like a kid, I am extremely excited when I yell out “Look Dave what I found!”

Although I am only with Dave on weekends:

I lose my keys when with Dave.

I find my keys when with Dave.

The Universe has confirmed when our LOVE is meant to be.