River Mist Tales: The Teacup

Welcome traveler, no need for names here. River folk have a way of knowing what needs to be known.

There’s tea in the pot, slices of spice cake, fresh apples and cheddar.

Don’t open the window when the crow taps, nor let the cats out, no matter what they tell you.

I’ll be working in the far alcove if you have any needs or she knocks upon the door with her basket of tales.

Enjoy her photographs and her 12-line tales, though she’s a bit loose with her truths.

Please come again. You’ll always find comfort, refreshment and a bit of magic.

Until next time, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

teacuprasp_cwm

The Teacup

Arabella jumped out of bed and ran to the arching bedroom window.

It was there, the mist moving with the river as if the river itself had flowed into the sky and was continuing on its way meandering through tree tops and along cloud canyons.

Knowing she must hurry, Arabella pulled up the blankets over the pillows, dressed with haste, being as silent as a swiftly moving cloud.

She had already packed the teacups, the forks and spoons, the rose flowered plates, her grandmother’s blue trimmed linen napkins into the old woven picnic basket.

The tiny tea sandwiches she made fresh each night were hidden from her brothers at the back of the refrigerator, along with two small applesauce cakes she had baked alongside her mother.

Arabella had been watching the signs like the old woman had taught her, the change in the night temperature, the return of the stellar jays from their summer roosts, the changing colors of the elm, maple and oak leaves, all these signs of the coming autumn gathering.

And most importantly, the mist on the river, not a static melting mist, but a rising floating mist following the course of the river below it.

She had found the remains of the gathering last year, and the year before, and the year before that, she had tried to join in the festivities, especially what she considered tea time, arriving without treats to share, without tea or cups, without being invited.

Obtaining an invitation, the old woman said, requires a bit of bravery, them folk don’t allow just any daughter to sit with them, and they won’t ask ya, ya got to find them, be as if you’d already been invited, and they’d be expectin’ you, and don’t forget treats and tea.

Today would be Arabella’s third attempt in joining the tea time revels with the woods folk as the old woman called them, as she said they called themselves, not caring for any other of the human names, not revealing the sparkling language of their own.

Arabella slipped out the kitchen door, the picnic basket heavy with delights both sweet and savory, a flask of tea, a pot for serving, teacups for drinking, and walked quickly, confidently towards the river.

The mist changed the world, hiding, revealing river, tree and footpath, changing what is seen, pulling Arabella further from home, further from what was known, until she found the sign she was looking for, a teacup turned on its side into its saucer, keeping a few feet away Arabella set her tree trunk table with cloth and napkins, cups and saucers, plates and piles of sandwiches, scones and cakes, and waited, knowing today they would come, for she heard the soft foot fall, the tinkling laughter flowing out of the mist.

River Mist Tales: The Rose Invitation

Don’t be shy. Come in, the mist is settling over the river, the dark will be upon the forest any time now.

Here you’ll find some small comforts, a pot of tea, some spice cookies, a soft pillowed chair tucked between the window and the fire.

Ignore the cats, gossip mongers all of them.

I’ll be working at the desk tucked into the far corner if your any needs or she knocks upon the door.

Enjoy her photographs and her 12-line tales. She’s a bit loose with the truth, a bit too revealing with her magic.

Until you come again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

roseinvite_cwm

The Rose Invitation

Glancing out her office window towards the older campus buildings, the older paths overgrown and shadowed, Evelyn paused, looked back towards her desk, then shaking her head she retraced her steps, reaching down into the trash retrieving the silver linen envelope.

This is crazy she thought, an invite to join the legendary Society of Fey at a moonlight party with a rose for entry.

But the envelope was not in the trash basket, puzzled Evelyn stood up, reassuring herself she had crumpled up the unsigned invitation and tossed it away.

Then she saw it, only it wasn’t the same envelope, it was larger, longer, her name, written out in an enviable cursive hand with more flourish, more urgency, more beauty.

This envelope was propped up against her computer, not a crease or a crumple, sitting tall in perfect condition, luminous as a full moon on a cloudless night.

Hesitating Evelyn stared at the envelope, finally reaching out, picking it up, turning it over.

The seal, round, pale as starlight, imprinted with a three phase moon surrounded by intricate knotwork was unbroken.

It lay heavy in her hand, this new invitation, not so easy to ignore, nor crumple, nor toss.

She slowly slid her fingers under the seal dislodging it from the envelope, not wanting to destroy the waxy bit of bas relief.

The card inside was a deep midnight blue paling in hue as Evelyn drew it out, letters rising upon it, as if someone was writing the words as she watched.

The request for attendance was kinder, less formal, full of hope and compassion even as the requirement of a single rose was made explicit and nonnegotiable.

At midnight with the invitation in her pocket, a rose in her hand picked from her neighbor’s garden, Evelyn knocked upon the arching door flanked by silvered birch trees, a door with phases of the moon carved upon it, intricate knotwork flowing around it, a door she had never seen before though she had passed through these older paths of the campus almost daily, watching, waiting from her office window.

River Mist Tales: A young dragon

Welcome traveler, no need for names here. River folk have a way of knowing what needs to be known. And soon you will too.

There’s tea in the pot, slices of spice cake, fresh apples and cheddar.

Don’t open the window when the crow taps, nor let the cats out, no matter what they tell you.

I’ll be working in the far alcove if you have any needs or she knocks upon the door with her basket of tales.

Enjoy her photographs and her 12-line tales, though she’s a bit loose with her truths.

Please come again. Here, you’ll always find comfort, refreshment and a bit of magic.

Until next time, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

dragonmug_cwm

 

 A young dragon

“You can wait in here for Lady Morgan, but don’t touch anything. Do you hear?” commanded Mrs. McCurdle wagging a short sausage like finger.

“Yes, ma’am,” said Lauren sitting down on the hard couch pushing aside several layers of coverlets, the ivy and leaf designs fading, some threadbare, barely more than a collection of strings themselves, lowering her eyes until she heard the click of the door latch, certain the scowling Mrs. McCurdle has stormed into another part of the house.

Standing, Lauren turned slowly around in a full circle, taking a memorizing glance at the layout of the room, before deciding the small desk at the far end would be as good a place as any to begin her search.

Remember she told herself, it’s a notebook or a bundle of stationery, or loose papers in a file folder, not a book, not a book.

Usually Lauren ignored dares but this particular dare could not be ignored, besides, she convinced herself, knowledge should be shared, and she was only taking a peek.

The desk was a clutter of odd wooden animal figures, ancient leather covered books, stacks of loose sheets of sketch paper, vases of dried flowers, half folded maps, small travel guides for places Lauren had never studied in school, candles, stones, shells knotted onto braided ropes, a crystal ball atop dolphin fins, and one oversized blue glazed ceramic mug.

She picked up the empty mug, turned it around, taking a closer look at the brown raised design when a sudden flutter of wings startled her and something flew close, wing tips brushing her cheek.

Dropping the mug onto the unstable pile of notebooks, Lauren turned away from the chaos of papers, pens, small books and maps sliding from the desk unto the carpet below, instead she looked for the small winged creature flying about the room, landing here, landing there.

Entranced, Lauren gave no heed to lamps falling over, pillows being knocked onto the floor, paintings tilting on the wall, her eyes were on the petite creature soaring around the room.

Following first with eyes only, Lauren found her courage and began scrambling, awkward and stuttering like a baby’s first steps, stumbling over fallen objects, bumping into chairs, eager for a glimpse, a touch, of the creature that had been hidden on the desk, wondering how it could be.

With her attention flying about the room, Lauren did not hear the carved oak door open, nor the demanding quick steps, nor, at first, the commanding voice speaking words unfamiliar and unknown, as a glinting blue and brown winged beast flew over her head returning to his home aside the oversized ceramic mug.

As Lauren spun around once more, her gaze following the rush of blue and brown, she faced a tall plain woman, who was smiling, holding the ceramic mug and speaking, “After you straighten this mess, you can explain to me why you were chasing a very young Welsh dragon around my library.”

River Mist Tales: Jack in the Green

Hurry, this way, before the river mist settles upon the dooryard. It may be a while before your path home is revealed.

The seat by the window is most comfortable and there’s tea in the pot, if you haven’t brought a wee dram of your own. And please, ignore the cats, don’t open the window when the crows come calling.

I’ll be working in the darkened alcove across the room if you have any needs or she knocks upon the door.

She doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Enjoy her photographs and her 12-line tales. Though she is a bit loose with the truth and a bit too revealing with magic, as your kind calls it.

Until your next visit, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

jackgreen_cwm

 Jack in the Green

Come, come out of your houses

Come, come out into the green wood

Come, tis time for Jack in the Green

The voices flowed along the cobbled streets, perching upon door steps, tapping on windows, moving above the reach of passersby.

Snuggling in blankets, knees pulled up tight, Sophia sat alone, tucked into the curving window seat of her second floor bedroom.

Disobeying her mother, Sophia had opened the window, allowing the gathering voices entry, as well as the rush of cool May air.

Spring was taking her time coming to the northern woods, but Jack in the Green would lure her, dancing her into the fields and meadows, along the streams, and across the lake, or so the village children had told Sophia.

“And if Jack stops at your house, smiles upon your garden, a small gift must be offered or he will curse your home and all you grow,” said the village children.

Nonsense, Sophia’s father had said when she told him about the celebrations, about the village traditions, about the visiting forest sprite Jack in the Green.

The old ways were of no importance to our modern lives, Sophia was told, and having a cold, she was ordered to stay in bed away from the cool May air and the raucous wanderings of Jack in the Green.

Tall, a walking collection of green leaves resembling a tree often seen on the north side of the village green, Jack was surrounded by dancing children and vibrantly dressed adults brandishing flowering branches of apple and pear, voices rising and falling as the ever growing parade moved closer and closer, finally stopping below Sophia’s high stone-framed window.

Turning a leaf clad, green face skyward, smiling, Jack gathered the braided ribbons tethered to a single silver oak leaf Sophia lowered from her towered perch, allowing a silent exchange of gift and blessing.