River Mist Tales: The Butterflies

Come in, come in, the river mist will be gone soon enough, but here you’ll find some tales, some warmth so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

Please sit by the window, you’ll have the best view, and easy 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.

butterflies_cwm

 The Butterflies

“Your aunt is touched, or maybe I am,” said Sorcha.

“She’s different, and yeah, she’s visited with the other crowd,” said Devan ignoring the heavy sighs billowing around Sorcha’s head. “Besides she’s not really my aunt, as you well know.”

“Right, I thought she said a short walk in the woods. It’s been two hours, my feet hurt and these shoes are ruined,” said Sorcha.

“Come on, we can rest for a few,” said Devan moving off the dusty woods road toward a fallen tree trunk.

Dropping her knapsack onto the ground, placing one leg on either side of the massive trunk so her feet dangled, Sorcha said, “Maybe we misunderstood the directions, I’ve never heard of a kaleidoscope of butterflies, never seen more than one at a time, well close together anyway.”

Devan smiled as he sat beside his girlfriend, a born and bred urbanite who was proving more country girl, more of a believer, than he had hoped for.

“You’re loving all this, aren’t you?”

“Yes I am, all those stories your aunt tells, all these trees, the birds, the unknown, so much unknown, so much space, and, I guess, I really want to believe in magic and more,” said Sorcha, “except these shoes, shouldn’t have listened to your sister.”

“Look,” said Devan pointing back towards the road, “look, there’s your kaleidoscope of butterflies.”

Jumping down from her resting place, grabbing her knapsack at she stepped, Sorcha said, “Let’s go, don’t want to lose those guides.”

 

 

©2017 Catherine W McKinney

 

River Mist Tales: The Beach Hut

Come in, come in, the river mist will be gone soon enough, but here you’ll find some tales, some warmth so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

Please sit by the window, you’ll have the best view, and easy 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.

beachhut_cwm

The Beach Hut

“Are you sure we shouldn’t be bringing some gift or offering or something?”

“No, no it’s a game isn’t it, just tea on the beach by that old driftwood hut, besides she said just bring a friend, and you’re the friend,” said Bryony rushing through the deep sand.

Candace picked up her pace staying close behind her friend, wondering this time if Byrony’s imagination had finally left all realms of accessibility.

The beach was empty except for the hut, a cobbled collection of smooth driftwood stacked and leaning, piece upon piece, strange shaped, all bony looking.

“She’ll be here,” said Bryony anticipating the question forming upon the lips of the nervous Candace.

“Hello Bryony, welcome Candace, shall we go,” said a voice as melodious and sweet as bird song, coming from a fair haired wisp of a girl awash in flowing watercolor blues, walking with ease and grace across the shale, deep sand, and into the hut.

With eagerness Bryony followed her new friend pulling her old friend whose hesitation brought a pleading exchange of glances between the two girls.

Candace, wondering how anyone could walk into that dark pick-up stick opening, allowed her curiosity, and loyalty, full reign, taking a deep breath and boldly following Bryony.

One shuffling step, stooping, almost crouching upon the sand, and Bryony and Candace emerged onto another beach, in one direction caressing white sands flowed into a calm blue green sea, in another direction a vast stretch of green lawn swept away until it reached a brooding dense tree line of pine and spruce.

Their hostess was already seated at a table covered with a mint green cloth embroidered with falling red rose petals and curving vines with sharp thorns around the hem, a table whose surface was covered with ivory plates so thin you could almost see through them, with matching tea cups and saucers also decorated with roses, delicate petals and pointed thorns, and there were all sorts of tiny sandwiches filled with cucumber, pickles and cheese, smoked salmon, and tiny cakes frosted with smooth pale pink and yellow topped with sparkling roses and pansies, there were scones, fruited cake slices, sausage rolls, tiny curd tarts all sitting like jewels upon tiered and pedestaled serving dishes.

Sitting down Byrony’s thoughts turned upon warnings her mother had given, warnings following the faery tales her mother always read a bedtime, warnings about eating or drinking, something about names, well it was too late about that warning, Bryony had already revealed her name.

And it was too late for the warning about eating, for Candace was reaching for a second cucumber sandwich, smiling, speaking, but all Bryony heard was the thunderous sound of sun bleached, water smoothed logs falling, tumbling away.

River Mist Tales: Red Ribbons

Come in, come in, the river mist will be gone soon enough, but here you’ll find some tales, some warmth so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

Please sit by the window, you’ll have the best view, and easy 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.

ribbon_tree_cwm

Red Ribbons

Maggie O’Brien sat on the edge of her bed swinging her legs back and forth, her hands resting upon the quilted covering, her fingers tracing the hand-stitched lines between the kaleidoscopic misshapen pieces of fabric.

The house and every other creature inside it were still asleep, slumbering in the early morning twilight more dark than bright dawn.

Beside Maggie, laid out in straight lines, were two pale red ribbons, tightly woven, strong and sure, edges untattered, their satin finish catching the rising light.

It had been exactly three hundred and sixty-two days since Maggie had asked her aunt Rita if she too, could knot ribbons onto the hawthorn tree on May Day, giving both petition and thanks with the weaving of branch and ribbon.

For years Maggie had watched her older cousins, the aunts, their friends, gather in the back meadow in the dew kissed dawn on the first day of May, cheerful, sharing very particular gifts received from the wild wood.

She spied as the women, dressed in vibrant hues of yellow, blues, greens and purples, gather the low growing violets, the trailing ivy, the tiny wild daisies and blossoming thyme, weaving flower and leaf into circlets for hair and neck.

She spied, moving with soft footstep and quiet breath, amidst the dark blue shade of the yellow green leaves, the pink and white petals of the spring dressed cherry and apple trees, the woody thickset hedges forming the border between sunny meadow and shadowed wood.

From her green haven, Maggie never heard complete the chants whispered, the petitions given, until the women’s melodic voices joined together into a raucous chorus of joyful thanksgiving.

And she never saw the annual celebration in its entirety, for Maggie always crept back to the house, arriving in the warm kitchen long before her mother, who was wary and critical of the old ways practiced by her sisters and nieces, could discover her daughter’s interest, her daughter’s desire, her daughter’s yearning for the mysterious fellowship of ribbon and blooming hawthorn.

The bedroom door, which Maggie had left unlatched and just opened enough for a mouse to slip through, was pushed with a strong and sure hand as an invitation to join the revelry.

Maggie, finishing her silent invocation, her memorizing of petition and thanksgiving as instructed by her cousin a mere one year older, smiled at her retreating aunt, grabbed the ribbons, jumped down from the bed and ran with lilting footsteps down the front stairs and through the opened front door.

Falling into step behind her youngest cousin, Maggie walked solemnly even as her heart was skipping, her mind joyous, her face beaming with anticipation, giving thanks with each step, and wondering where her place would be in the circle around the hawthorn, wondering how the celebrations end, wondering if she too, on the next May Day morn, would hold dear a gift from the wild wood.