Juniper’s return is only brightened by the two changelings she has brought back to the Wood. In the short time they’ve been here, their haunted looks have been replaced with the healthy glow of happy sprites. I am already accustomed to their bell-like laughter echoing through our valley.
Azalea is quick to make friends with all the Fae and Forest Folk she meets. The Cottage Fairies were first to love her, and so I think they adore her best. They leave her violet candies and bits of colorful thread. Just last eve, her nimble fingers easily mended Flit’s broken wing. The red tailed hawk was most grateful, rubbing his tawny head against her small hand.
I can see the innate earth magic in Greystone. He certainly has the power to harness the Purblind’s “magic,” Eleckricity. His only belonging was a small parcel tied up in string. I recognized the flowing symbols of the Silicon Elves from the far west, but their meaning is unknown to me. It contains various rare earth metals and tiny tools. He is most interested in the wind mill, and has plans for improvements.
Juniper and I have long been the sole keepers of the Still Water Grimoire. My heart is swelling and my soul lightened by our little changelings!
The water Elements have been running a muck of late. Dark gray clouds have been slowly dragging their way across the sky, dumping heavy rain for days. Finally, today, the sun has decided to show her shining visage. Taking advantage of the good weather, we packed a picnic and headed to Woods Edge. The meadow was overtaken by Beards Tounge. The white belled wild flower swayed in the slight breeze beneath billowing clouds and brilliant blue sky.
Azalea and Greystone spied the row of mulberry trees along the field’s outer boundary. The limbs were heavy with fruit, the first berries just turning the dark purple-red of ripeness. The sun kissed berries were warm in my mouth and juice ran down our faces.
We spent the afternoon lazily snacking on berries and constructing poems. Juniper wrote this for me:
Hair as long as the river/Hands as small as a wren’s /Reaching the mulberry branches /The wind was kind to bend
On our way back to the valley, we passed our own little berry patch. The strawberries had been neglected in the rain and were drooping with large red globes. Even Juniper’s blueberry bush had the first fruit of the season. Gleefully, we added them to our bounty.
We had an impromptu jam-ing. Four extra hands made the work light and was a merry night, indeed!
Strawberry Full Moon
Joyful and most auspicious happenings today!! The time, we have so long prepared for, is at hand. After these years of preparation, it is difficult to believe, but I welcome it wholeheartedly! The way of Still Water and Santooshka will be broadcast across the land. Sowing the seed of magic and awakening the latent Purblind’s need to fit into the natural world.
After morning tea Juniper gave me a jug of honeysuckle cordial and asked me to give it to Ripple, for her most fortuitous gift of the amulet. The path is now over grown in its early summer greenery and I heard splashing long before I could see the running water.
Standing knee deep in the middle of the stream was a man. His dark curls too short to keep the sun’s reflection from dappling his face. Laughing, he was holding the largest sunfish I have ever seen. His laughter was contagious and I could not keep from giggling.
Startled, he lost his grip on the fish and what followed was nothing but comical. The fish sensing it’s last chance for freedom wiggled frantically, while the bearded man put hand over hand as if pulling an invisible rope, trying to secure the flopping fish. In the end, he lost his balance and landed in the stream with a large splash. He recovered, flourished his sopping hat and bowed most gracefully, “My lady,” he said.
“Since I am the cause of your lost breakfast and wet tumbling act, I insist that you come to the cottage and allow me to show you the hospitality entitled to any guest who makes through the veil of the Santooshka.”
He bowed again, smiling, “I am called Ironroot, a wanderer by nature and raconteur by choice. I’d happily take the company of a beautiful lady anytime over that of a fish, and I am much heartened to learn I have made it to this enchanted wood, for it is my journey’s destination.”
We walked the short way back to the cottage, between the noise of his watery squelching and shared laughter, there was little space for chatter. The changelings heard and ran to meet us on the path. Excited queries gushed from their berry stained lips.
I shushed them and told them to run tell Juniper to put the kettle on. General mayhem descended into Juni’s kitchen, dry clothing was found, wet ones hung out, cats and the Cottage Brownies ran beneath our feet, and the changelings constant questions were drowned out only by kettle’s whistle. We had just laid out thistle seed muffins when Ironroot arrived wearing –if not well fitting- a well suited tunic and breeches. Again, the children’s voices were woven into an intricate tapestry of questions and suppositions.
“Now, now, lit’ uns, let the gentleman drink his tea, and he will tell of his travels in due course, ” I cheerfully chided.
He laid his hand atop of mine; stirring up a place in my middle I had long forgotten. “Madam, it is time for me to tell you why I have come. ”
And so it was, over steaming sips of raspberry tea we learned the time has come for the magic we have held so dearly to our breasts, to spill over the boundaries of Santooshka and into the unnatural world of the Purblinds.
His tale went this way. For certain, he was an outer worldly traveler and had had many adventures, but they had all led him to this inevitable sequence. After spending the winter in the mountains, he returned to Stonestack, a northern Elvish village, bringing the enchanted Angora goats back to their spring pastures. Knowing his gypsy heart, the village elders called upon him to serve the Earth Mother Rebellion- as they were now calling it. They bade him to go from one hidden magical enclave to another, calling upon the denizens of each enchanted community. He was to be a harbinger of revolution. Spreading the word, it was now time for the Fae Folk to change the heart of Man. Time now, to show them the love they seek can only be given, not taken. To teach them that the earth, water, and sky were not resources to be used and thrown away, but our mother, father, and protector. That magic is an never ending well of heart healing. It was time to share the way of Still Water.
Ask Magnolia Magpie to sew you a tunic like Ironroot’s! Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com
We spent yesterday in Juni’s kitchen, discussing Ironroot’s plan of action further. He hoped he could spend a fortnight here before continuing south. He had followed the Cahokia ley lines to the outskirts of Santooshka, but the way to Evergreen Glade was more dangerous and there would be times when he would have to use glamour to blend in with the Purblinds.
After we had discussed our devotion to the cause, the forming of councils, supply lines and other needs must associated with what I could only think of as a magical uprising, our conversation wandered like the paths through our forest. He is a man of conviction and has spent ages on the road, opening the eyes of the Purblind, only when it was safe. It is obvious why the Northern Elves entrusted him with such a mission. We shared heart and hearth with him until the moon rose. He set up camp in the commons betwixt the cottages for the night.
This morning he appeared in his own clothes, clean shaven and bright eyed. He is truly most handsome. Out of a sack he produced a variety of packages in different sizes.
“I heard from certain armadillos that to gain the true admiration of the Ladies of Santooshka, I must bring gifts along with good tidings. Locks of curly mohair fibers for the lady Juniper,” he said handing her the first parcel. “And a bolt of the finest calico for the Lady Magnolia. And here; silk strands dyed in the rainbow river by the Northern Elven Folk.”
“Such finery!” Juniper exclaimed, running her fingers through the silken locks.
He smiled back, “…Which pale in the comparison with your hospitality.”
The changelings looked mildly rejected until he turned to them, “Don’t fret, I did not forget you littles.”
He gave Greystone two lengths of silver wire and Azalea a lovely blue ribbon. “For you both,” he laid an old tome on the table. Written in western Elvish, the symbol for changeling was engraved on the leather binding. “A beginning to discovering your past.”
Azalea eyes became dewy, but Greystone grew quite serious, “Thank you Sir Ironroot.”
Juniper and I had plans to do some spinning with the Meadowlark. The silly conceited bird believes his song sounds best when accompanied by the soft humming of Juni’s spinning wheel. Despite our insistence that we could postpone, and be perfect hosts for him, he waved us off and said he was quite good at keeping his own company.
It was such a beautiful day! The sun was especially sunny , the grass wonderfully green and for once, I completely agreed with the Meadowlark, his song was the most beautiful, yet. Juniper whirred up skeins of the Mohair, while I gave up my attempts with the drop spindle and lay down dreaming Iron Wood’s face in the clouds.
On our return, I realized (and I must add sadly) that Ironroot’s belongings were no longer assembled in the common. And after moments looking through the valley I found a small bunch of wild flowers on my doorstep with a scrawled note beside it.
“In this life, we do not make friends but recognize them”
The note said nothing else. I must admit I am surprised at my own disappointment. It seems that the wind has blown Ironwood out of our lives, just as it had brought him.
All things have meaning especially in Santooshka : Honeysuckle- psychic powers, protection Mint-love, healing, travel, protection Clematis- communication with spirit, imagination Daisy- joy, youth, family Also- Mulberry- protection, strength
Juniper and Magnolia’s Honey Basil Berry Jam