Half a mile into autumn color
cousins and children trek.
Crossing the foot-bridge spanning
the mountain lake celebrants are scolded
by visiting mallards as they pass
along barely visible trails
to Forest Chapel.
woman waits; witnesses prepare,
arrange themselves on log pews.
The solemn man takes position.
Breezes ruffle foliage;
late afternoon sun illuminates
the stone altar;
trees whisper -- the ceremony begins.
within the woods
beside the lakes they both love
Bill and Peggy
affirm faith in a hope
usually found once in youth.
Conviction borne of contentment gives voice
to their proclamation of happiness.