Just beyond the road that led to the Wood, I passed a man dressed as if he were truly a woodland Elf, soft worn leather hanging jagged about his strong hips, a peculiarly round red velvet hat framing his ginger beard, and most curious of all--a large threadbare sack slung over his shoulder, giving him, along with the red hat, the appearance of some sort of Santa Clause. We greeted each other, sincerely, in passing.
As I got close to The Place I Was Going, a sly Cat watched me from its perch, fencetop, but was too absorbed in watching its prey to follow, despite my urging.
Continuing on, four Hounds, appeared out of nowhere at the base of the Hill. Two of them I knew from Summer's evening walks. After surrounding me with snow-wet fur and warm pink tongues lapping at my Foxtails, they faithfully followed me as I made my way up the hill, tugging at my long black skirt, alternately bounding forward and slipping back in the unsure-snow in their doggy way. Their names were Osha, Pumpkin, Chase, and the fourth dog--wary of me, then and now--would not let me close enough to see his tag.
I made my offering to The Roots beneath my feet and asked that the Rose Quartz might help me to hear their Song more clearly from a distance--as They had told me that it would last time I was near. The dogs were still now, watching me in my silence and concentration. I stood there, content and surprised by the warmth of the air around me, my back against a young tree.
When at last we made our way carefully back down the hill, the I thanked the Hounds for their protection and companionship, knowing that they not mere than Hounds. Emerging from the glade and back onto the road, it began to snow--fat white flakes that collected on the front of my skirt and my lashes. I walked homeward and the dogs followed me, against my urging, to where the soil met the asphalt of the highway and then I continued on alone.
Across the road was yet another Wood-worn looking fellow. Strong-jawed with blond hair brushing his shoulders. We wondered at one another without a word and I continued along the side of the highway. It was all very magical, like a fairytale. Arriving home, the temperature had fallen, and I could hear the Ravens making their way to roost, the snow being not to their liking. Preparing my lunch of pumpkin soup and black coffee, the large black birds were gathered about on the dirt corner by my kitchen, wings spread, hopping about.
Narrative, I'd somehow forgotten, gives rise to the magic and wonder of life and its many coincidences and blessings.
May I never forget again.