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.
The Woods Road
It was the morning of the fifth day, Tamryn woke sluggish and her feet ached.
The outside of her sleeping bag, her hiking boots, her small hung bag of food, were all damp from the continuous assault of fog.
Luckily the canvas backpack, lined with pieces of cut tarp, kept her sweater and her socks dry.
Every step of the way the dampening fog moved along with Tamryn, gathering a few yards ahead, growing thick a few yards behind, hiding the road forward and back, gathering beside her just inside the edges of the overgrown wood running along both sides of the road.
The treeline held the fog tight, collecting diamond drops of water at the tips of the evergreen boughs.
Renewed by dry socks and dry sweater, Tamryn rolled up her sleeping bag, took inventory of her food supply, and drank the last drops of water from her canteen.
First business up, refill the canteen from the the flowing stream she could hear close by, just a few feet north of her boughed shelter.
Then returning to where she left the road, she’d eat breakfast, apple and peanut butter, and wait, wait for the road to reveal itself once more.
Tamryn never considered herself a patient woman, always hurrying along towards the next adventure, always prepared for spontaneous invitations and challenges, always facing the horizon, searching for the way leading into that other realm, the realm of faery as most called it.
Four days of solitary walking allowed Tamryn ample time for reflection, asking herself, again and again, why she was following after Josh, why should she believe Josh had found the pathway, had found that other realm, that Tamryn, since childhood, knew existed but could not find herself.
She wondered why Josh believed anything she had ever told him, no one else did, not even when she presented her bountiful evidence collected on all her wanderings.
Josh had planned this journey, every detail about what she should wear, what she should carry with her, when she should leave, how she should behave on the trail so no creature or element would be offended, pages and pages of notes, rambling words of caution followed by a challenge daring her to follow him.
Five moons, five days, Tamryn was counting time as a slow wind brushed across her cheek like a lover’s caress, teasing, beckoning, finally revealing the woods road, inviting Tamryn with the promise of clarity as the fog danced away in the rising morning light, revealing not only the road but also a small curling line of smoke from a chimney a good days walk ahead.