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.
I haven’t learned the language of the trees, not fluently, not for lack of trying, but all that is going to change, and very soon.
Trees speak in a slow, soft voice, full of poetry with an acceptance we humans find hard to hear.
During the day, no matter where I roam, there is an old gnarled woman, her feet rooting in the soil, her hair growing lush as the summer progresses.
She says I must learn the language of the trees if I am ever to hear the stories the crows tell, if I am ever to understand the truth about who I am.
She says the crows, gossiping creatures that they are, don’t like telling their stories to humans, preferring conversations with the trees.
I have seen crows talking with trees, and I have seen the old woman listening, her ancient voice asking questions of both tree and crow.
She cackles, deep and lovely when I approach, the crows fly away allowing the trees alone to offer me both instruction and solace.
During the night, no matter where I roam, there is a young woman, lithe, a fair maiden, her skin glows in the echoed radiance of the moon, her voice is as sweet and soothing as a shaded creek on a hot summer’s day.
The maiden knows where the crows sleep, chiding them even as she beckons the crows to tell her their tales, and answer my questions.
Tonight the maiden has promised an introduction, a man who could help me learn the language of the trees, help me understand the crows when they talk with the trees, since that is the only time crows are full of truth.
She says I have simply forgotten how to hear.
I have been sitting in the heart of the forest, kept company by a single crow and a solemn red fox as night dances into the forest, listening as the maiden approaches, catching her smile, transfixed as she waves the crow down to the forest floor, watching as the crow shakes, unfolds and grows into a man, tall with long black hair, wearing black leather and black feathers, a crooked grin spreading across his bony face, and I, I tumble backwards.