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: Lake Mist

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.

laketree_cwm

Lake Mist

November 21st will the be the tenth anniversary of two disappearances, the first is Fintan, who is missed, and the second, Terrell, who is not.

Fern arrives a few days early, making allowances for weather conditions and the phase of the moon.

There is a routine Fern follows, a ritual of activities Fintan created, activities which must be adhered to with exacting precision.

It is not only the weather, the air temperature, the cloud coverage, the fog which Fern monitors, there is the lunar complication, and the whimsical nature of the hunt itself.

This year, the tenth year, is proving particularly hopeful.

It’s late afternoon and the tree, the lake, the heavy cloud coverage, even the flowing mist, resembles that day ten long years ago.

Fern stands motionless, she watches the mist wander around the trees, dance in front of the far mountainside along the far shore of the lake, she watches as it floats over the surface of the lake itself, bringing trees, water, and sky in and out of obscurity.

Before she is completely mesmerized by the shifting dull light, Fern walks exactly ten steps south of the tree, moves aside a flat marking rock, digs in the dirt finding once more the iron shards where Fintan had buried them, so too, is the leather ring, partially encased in the thread bare remains of what once was a midnight blue velvet pouch.

Fern adds another piece of iron to the site, she sprinkles salt upon the path and places several ribboned bundles of oak, ash and thorn twigs on the ground and along the wet side near the water’s edge, forming a circle which includes the tree and the shore of the lake.

Satisfied with her preparations, Fern returns to the dry, warm comfort of her solid black Jeep, waiting for the hour of revelation, promising herself this time, this time Terrell will remain with his people and Fintan will return to his.

Loud voices, dogs barking, rope slapping against wood startle Fern awake, she tumbles from the Jeep, scanning the faces of the strangely dressed crowd of revelers along the shore, and in boats close by, seeing Fintan she throws a horseshoe on the ground, steps upon it and pulls at his arms wrestling him onto the ground beside her, rolling them both inside her marked circle.

“How long, how long was I gone?” asks Fintan looking around, seeing Fern, the tree, the night enhancing mist hiding the lake, and nothing else, not even a glance of that roaming hunt of faery revelers.

River Mist Tales: The Woods Road

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.

woodspath_cwm

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.