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Russia

The Lock Tree of Love

After leaving the Tretyakov Gallery of Russian Art in Moscow, we had to walk on Luzhov Bridge over a canal that connects to the Volga River to our Tauck World Discovery coach parked on the other side. We had just finished seeing the world class Russian art works in the Gallery, so we had no idea that we were going to see another creative Russian art exhibit. That surprise was waiting for us on that bridge.

On that pedestrian bridge were three 9×5-foot trees made of iron and full of locks. These were no ordinary locks because they were placed on these trees by newlyweds on their wedding day and perhaps lovers showing their forever faith in their relationship. The locks were all shapes, sizes and colors on the many triangular-shaped branches.  And each lock had an inscription on it of the couple’s names and a comment of their love for each other. The inscriptions were written in every kind of permanent medium from paint to fingernail polish to engraving. The couple on their wedding day would go to a tree and place their lock on the tree and lock it and throw the key in the canal.

Without the key, the lock could not be removed by either one of the couple. Therefore, they agreed, the marriage could only be ended if the key could be found in that canal.  And, if the key was found, the lock could then be unlocked and removed and the marriage could then be terminated. And if the key could not be found, the marriage shall be forever.

But, the three trees were loaded with so many locks that there was no room for any more.  Luckily, two more lock trees were on one side of the canal but they also were loaded with locks of all shapes sizes and colors. So to help alleviate the overload problem, the unknown “tree keepers” periodically added more trees and removed locks so that more can be added. Now the permanent romance promise can continue and married couples and those in a relationship can continue to show their forever love for each other.

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