River Mist Tales: The Wood Carver

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, where the afghans are piled, 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.

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The Wood Carver

For all the activity, the early morning walkers, the after work runners, the children climbing the wide branches of oak and elms, or chasing dogs and peeking over the back fence, Edmund missed his friends who lived deep in the wildness beyond the end of the road.

Seven decades spent in the deep woods gave the gnarled-handed gardener generations of friends among the foxes, the deer, the other folks and even the elusive wolf, and Edmund missed their visits, their stories, their counsel.

The squirrels, suburbanites exemplar, were too busy toppling bird feeders and teasing well-behaved neighborhood cats and dogs, never stopping for a chat, as caring hands planted bulbs, filled feeders, clipped branches, taming the suburban oak and elm and rhododendron from their wild natures.

Edmund missed the bounty of mushrooms, berries, wild sorrel, of travelers both two and four-footed and the bits of branches and logs the forest itself offered as a reward for the caring human heart.

He particularly missed the rabbits.

Edmund, always grateful for the gifts of the forest, missed most of all putting his carving knife to the lost and found bits of wood revealing images of rabbits, bears and the traveling hedgehogs.

Here in this small plot surrounded by fences, paved roads and cement sidewalks, it was a rare joy finding a bit of wood willing to go under his carving knife.

Lately, as the winter solstice approached, abandoned on sidewalks, or along the side of the wide boulevards, Edmund had been finding more and more bits of wood in all shapes and sizes, and the pile was growing inside his tiny garden shed, so too, an idea was growing inside his heart.

Shapes of rabbits and bears and staff wielding hedgehogs began moving out of the wood pile, appearing from the touch of Edmund’s carving knives out the found pieces of wood.

As the collection of sitting, jumping, running creatures increased, Edmund grew impatient for the coming full moon, the long night’s moon bestowing her shape shifting energies.

While his neighbors closed doors, sat beneath harsh electric lights warmed by hot dry air, Edmund was busy placing the lovingly carved rabbits and bears and hedgehogs under bushes, near rocks and among roots as he could find in the dusting of fresh snow, then, dragging his chair out through the door of the garden shed, he sat and waited upon the rise of the long night’s moon.

While the moon, full and sporting her glowing temperament toured the night sky, her long tapering rays, silverbright and fiery, caressed the tiny wooden carvings, awakening the animal spirits resting inside, and Edmund smiled, greeting each new friend in turn.

 

The handmade, found wood carvings shown in the photograph are by a local artisan Vlad Husarovski, Ukrainian Roots. The first piece I purchased was a standing hedgehog holding a walking stick. Slowly my collection has increased to include a running rabbit, a fox, a swan, a bear and a pair of mice. I am looking forward to the stories these wondrous carvings tell me.

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