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.
Ignore the cats, don’t open the windows 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.
On Monday, Matilda, wandering aimlessly along the river bank, found three flat river stones stacked one on top of the other, on the largest stone was a black inked drawing resembling the far bank, almost, on the middle sized stone another inked drawing of the railroad bridge a few hundred feet down river, and strange symbols ran across the third and smallest stone, the masterful illustrations focused her drifting thoughts, of Seamus, his leaving, his weaving unraveling, her paintings fading, their studio abandoned, locked shut.
Although the stones lay near the edge of the flowing river, threatened by the slightest surge in the water, they lay dry, surrounded by settled dust after weeks of cloudless skies, the endless sun browning, and, like the stones, Matilda was dry and dusty, living deep within her grief, the loss of her husband, her planned life, blaming her rabid focus upon an imagined covenant, her pursuit of the realm she had glimpsed in his eyes, heard in his stories, witnessed in his weaving, chased in her dreaming.
On Tuesday Matilda could not find the illustrated stones, she searched north and south from the spot where she knew the stones had laid, it was the view of the bridge which held her in place, the changing view of the far river bank, and as she searched she realized an unknown artist had given her a marker, revealed a thread, strong, inspiring.
I should have taken the stones Matilda told herself, they held the answer, they showed the way.
Sitting on a fallen tree trunk, Matilda, quieting her mind, turned her attention towards the river rushing over rising rocks, fallen trees, observing how the river, stilling itself, gently pushed against the smaller stones along the bank, and becoming still herself, Matilda softened, tears fell from dry eyes, spinning into twisting river flows, twining into the living tapestry before her.
A gentle breeze, slow, mischievous, rustled the leaves overhead, bird song drifted from the dense canopy dissolving into the flow of open air spinning above the interlaces of light and water forming the river.
With her thoughts flowing through time, today, yesterday, pushing against stilled moments, Matilda closed her eyes, conjuring up the memory of where she had stood, trying to see what lived unseen.
Another sound rose above the roar of shuttling water and fading bird song, a sound of squeaking, of dull plodding, rhythmic, familiar, a sound braiding into her heart, coiling around her memories, when Matilda opened her eyes, silence.
On Wednesday Matilda found tufts of silken fibers, glistening white and gold, collecting at the edge of the river as if the river herself was plucking and carding the course foam splashing over jutting rock and fallen trunk.
She gathered the soft damp tufts, draping them over the fallen tree trunk where she had sat the day before.
The more she gathered, the more appeared, and as she gathered she heard the click, the squeak, the dull whoosh of, of some knowledge her mind did not grasp, all the while the humble rhythms grew louder and louder and louder.
Clouds shifted the fall of sunlight, shadows deepened, moved, the tufts drying upon the log vanished, the river grew silent as the air grew thick, sweet, Matilda, straining to know, was rewarded, stepping away from the river into the trees, Matilda saw the bark encrusted loom, and the leaf hidden weaver, a voice weaving itself into the trees, “You have done me a great service Matilda, come tomorrow and you will find what you seek.”