Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.
The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.
I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.
Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.
“Where are you taking those?”
The voice was deep, resin filled, slow, full of the east wind and short sunlit days.
Connra placed her willow basket on the ground, stood tall and looked around.
She saw no one, only the pine, spruce, and western hemlock, her gaze moving along a patch of cedars leading toward the river.
Shrugging her shoulders, taking one more glance around her, Connra bent over and resumed picking up the fallen cones scattered about the ground.
“Where are you taking those which are not yours?” came the resonant voice, again slow, filled with patience and understanding.
Connra stood, again looked around, moved so she could see along the narrow woods path before saying, “Home, taking them home. Who’s there?”
“What will you do with them?” asked the voice speaking with rooted strength.
With a slow turn Connra answered, “I use them in the hearth, and for the arrangements we sell at the next Yule markets.”
“I would like to see those arrangements, can you bring one to me?”
Bewildered, Connra stared at a tall pine a few feet away, stared at the barked face returning her gaze.
She had heard many old tales about the creatures who live in the forests, in the trees, creatures who can bless and curse, creatures who can teach and destroy, now, finally, Connra had met just such a creature, and she was eager to befriend the inquisitive tree spirit.