Hera’s Orchard by Bryanna Cloney

Our children bought us a padded swinging seat for our 45th wedding anniversary. They kindly put it together for us, but took for granted how hard it was to pop a tight champagne cork. After two attempts, we resorted to our default tipple – Cointreau. I hate the stuff, but it never stopped him. We christened every life event with it – all on the back of one free tipple plunked down on our table during our honeymoon. Unnecessary nostalgia like that has become our necessity.

They deliberately hung the swinging chair facing our apple tree. That tree preceded us; it predicted our arrival, our union. We have spent 43 years under its watchful eye. Every year, I was elated with the shiny, plump fruit it bore. I think I wasted so much time waiting for the apples to grow that I never took time to appreciate the rest of the tree. Its gnarled trunk, painfully contorted at times, bore the scars of hard winters and summer droughts; forever having to visibly display its own temporary weakness. The clean, straight branches always took for granted the wear and tear below.


Find the rest of this short and sweet piece by Bryanna Cloney in SN11: Collect Rocks, coming out 9/16!