New Year Update

January 2012 update: Welcome to a new year and some new posts! I hope to reward my readers with regular updates now that the holidays are over. Keep reading and enjoy! Please leave a comment or two, if you feel inspired ;o)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When the Willow Whispers - Page 13

     "How much longer before it's ready?" Asked Piper.
     "Not long. Two, maybe three days." Lina replied.
     Sera piped up, "She has no idea about us or that she belongs here?"
     "She doesn't seem to." Sighed Lina. "I'm not surprised. She was very young when she crossed through. But you'd think her mother would have told her something about where she comes from by now."
     "Di left for a reason. Maybe she didn't want Amelia to drag her back." Piper suggested as she gathered herbs to add to the welcome home dinner she was planning.
     Lina was collecting flowers for center pieces. "It's Amelia's choice, not her mother's. She should have been given the option once she was an adult, not fifteen years later, when we need her."
     "She'll need a lot of training. I hope we can get her ready in time."
     "Me too, Sera. Me too." Was all that Lina could reply.

     Maia had dropped Emmy off at home an hour ago. Currently Emmy was sitting on the couch staring at a blank tv screen, with a book lying closed on the couch next to her, and unfinished knitting sitting in a basket at her feet with Othello chewing on one of the knitting needles. She had tried to keep herself busy to keep her mind off of the tree and her mother's inevitable reaction. She couldn't help but replay Dave's observations through her head. It wasn't only she who could hear the music. So it must mean that it wasn't just a coincidence. Someone else could hear it when they touched the tree, too. Emmy couldn't get her thoughts in order. It was all so impossible. She decided to take an early evening jog, to work off some of her mother's cooking and then call it an early night and try to get some sleep before work the next day.
     Oh great, work. She'd completely forgotten about the girls at work. She hoped they'd all had busy weekends and wouldn't remember Friday afternoon and her strange gift. She had too much on her mind to deal with their snickering. Othello, seeming to sense her need to get her mind off of things took the opportunity to remind her that he was hungry and in need of feeding. He jumped up in her lap and wouldn't leave her be until she got up and headed for the kitchen where the cat food was housed. She decided there was nothing she could do about things at the moment, so she fed the cat and headed out on her jog. When she came home she was too worried to eat so she skipped dinner, showered, and headed straight to bed.
     She wasn't sure she would be able to sleep, but she decided she would count sheep, or Othellos, or even willow trees if it would help. As she drifted off a noise outside suddenly woke her. Damn! I was just dozing. If I don't get back to sleep tonight, I'll never fogive whoever just woke me up... She crawled out of bed slipped on her robe and checked the clock as she headed outside. It was 1 a.m. so she had gotten some sleep after all. The cat, disturbed from his sleep, padded after her. She stepped outside into her roof garden. Othello ran ahead and started winding himself around the trunk of an aged old willow tree growing from the center of the garden. It was early morning and the light from the rising sun in the east danced through the leaves and branches gently billowing in the breeze. It was a beautiful morning. Birdsong filled the garden and Othello left the base of the tree to stalk a squirrel running across the brick path. He pounced it as it raced into a thicket of grass and a shower of butterflies flew up and fluttered to safer ground as the squirrel eluded the cat. Frustrated, the cat flopped down in the thicket and promptly pretended to fall asleep.
     Emmy laughed at her silly cat and then stared at the willow. It was beautiful. Magnificent, even, but how on earth was it growing in her garden and not taking the building down with it. She looked over the side of the low roof wall and was amazed to find huge, thick roots that had pushed their way through the windows and doors of the building and were running right through the paved street and into the earth. She turned around to run back inside and call Maia, but the doors leading into her apartment were no longer there. Her apartment wall had been replaced by a low wall with a wrought iron gate in the middle and a  green hillside beyond. She turned back to the willow and realized she was no longer standing on a roof top in the city, but in the back garden of a big estate, not much unlike her parents.
     "You made it." Came a familiar voice. "We were beginning to worry that you would never find you way through." She turned back to see the man from her office standing by the iron gate. He unlatched it and held it open for her to walk through, green eyes twinkling at her as he bowed his head to her. She started to worry about her pj's when she looked down a found that she was wearing the prettiest flowing dress she had ever seen. She was sure she should remember owning something like it, but she racked her brains and could not remember ever buying such a lovely dress. Nor could she remember changing her clothes.
     She looked up at the young man showing her so much respect. "You speak to me as if we're old friends, but I don't recall you ever saying 'hi' to me in the elevator. Or even looking my way. How is it that you are suddenly so familiar with me?"
     The young man looked taken back. "I've known you your whole life, Amelia. As you have known me." He sighed. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you don't remember. Rest assured, all will be resolved and you will remember me and the rest of us, once more!" He lifted his hand as if to usher her through the gate.
     Emmy walked towards the wall. "My name is Emmy, not Amelia. Where are we going?"
     "Forgive me Amelia...Emmy. We are going to a party. It's supposed to be a surprise, though, so do act surprised once we get there, won't you?"
     "I won't be acting." Came her reply. Emmy walked though the gate...
     ...and right into her living room. She turned around and looked through her french doors out to her roof garden. It was just as it was before she had gone to bed. Garden swing, fountain, flowers, vegetables, cat lying in the middle of it all staring back at her, but no willow tree. She looked down at her robe and pj's and slippers. She must have been sleep walking. She hadn't done that since she was a child. She was suddenly aware of sirens. She went back outside and looked over the garden wall at the street below. She was half relieved and half saddened to see that there were no big roots forcing their way out of the building, only fire escapes and the occasional curtain billowing out someone's window in the night breeze. At the end of her street she saw what had caused the noise that she had gotten out of bed for. Someone had wrapped their green sedan around a fire hydrant. Water was gushing into the street as a police car pulled around the corner and shut it's siren off, but left it's lights flashing. An ambulance was already there with a man sitting on the tailgate answering the EMT's questions. Emmy turned back inside, headed for her bedroom, closed the curtains against the blinding emergency vehicle lights, and slipped back into bed to fall back asleep.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When the Willow Whispers - Page 12

     Maia happily chatted away to Dave and Diana, while Emmy pushed food around her plate in silence, at the breakfast table. Emmy's parents were excited to show off the new improvements around the grounds, and couldn't wait to see how the new willow fit into the landscape. They all finished breakfast and took tea and coffee into the family room and the women chatted the day away while Dave read the paper until the fog lifted. Finally, around one in the afternoon, the sun started to peek into the world below.
     "Looks like the fog will be gone soon." Dave smiled at them. "You girls get your coats. It'll still be pretty chilly out." Maia jumped up and quickly left the room to head upstairs. Emmy apprehensively dragged her feet and followed.
    Once the girls had closed the door to their room, Emmy hissed, "I can't believe you told them we'd stay to look at that tree! If I didn't think you cared about me, I'd almost think you were enjoying this."
     "Well, I don't mean to be ambivalent to your crisis, but I'm kind of curious to see their reaction when they see your tree." Maia pulled on her coat and shoes and put her hand out to open the door. "You know, your mom may be more supportive than you think. She may even have some answers." With that she left the room and bounced down the stairs, leaving Emmy to stare after her. Emmy quickly shoved on her shoes and gathered up her coat and followed.
     When everyone was bundled up they all trudged through the kitchen and out the back sun porch and into the back yard. Everyone's eyes were focused in the direction of the garden swing next to the brook. As they walked closer they started to see the true size of the willow.
     "Hmm. It looks bigger than I thought it was when I saw it in your truck last evening." Diana mused. "How did you girls ever manage to carry it all the way back here by yourselves?"
     Emmy released a sigh of relief for her mother's failing eyesight. "Oh, well, just good old determination, I guess."
     She caught her friends's side long glance as Maia whispered, "She's gonna notice tomorrow."
     Well, there was nothing they could do about that now. They couldn't very well tell her that she had not been mistaken, but that it was indeed bigger than she remembered the night before. She would never believe it until she saw it, so Emmy would just have to wait for the inevitable phone call tomorrow.
     "This is a beautiful addition to our garden. I can't wait to see it once it's had time to take root." Just then Dave tripped over a rock and started to fall forward. He stretched his arm out and caught himself on the trunk of the tree. Everyone held their breath and waited for the young, newly planted tree to collapse under his weight. It didn't. He gathered himself up and looked at everyone. "What? I'm fine. Why are you all looking so shocked? Lucky this tree was there to catch my fall, eh?" Distracted, he put his hand back up to touch the tree and stared a minute before pulling it away. "Yes, this will be a majestic tree to swing under in a few more years."
     Diana held Dave's hand as they took the girls on a tour of the rest of the property. They were both very proud of the new greenhouse, which was full of plant life including the herbs used to season last nights lamb. "This is beautiful, mom. So much bigger than the other one. Are you guys going to tear the other one down?"
     "No. I can never have too much green house space. I think I'll just use the old one for flowers."
     The couple took the girls to the barn to show them the latest addition, a new calf that was to replace the old heifer as their new milk cow. They stopped by the chicken coup and collected the day's eggs, and strolled down to the pond to feed the ducks and the swans some old homemade bread. Dave took the opportunity to pull Emmy aside.
     "Have you noticed anything weird about that tree of yours?" He asked.
     Emmy started. "Wh, what do you mean, Dave?"
     "I'm not sure, exactly. It just seemed to vibrate under my hand. I chalked it up to the fall, but when I rested my hand back on the trunk, after I caught myself, I thought I still felt it. I could have sworn I heard faint music, too." Dave shook his head. "Maybe I'm going senile in my old age." They joined back up with her mother and Maia. Finally it was time for them to return to the warmth of the house and for the girls to head back into the city.
     "You should come by and visit more often, Emmy. We miss you around here." Her mother enveloped her in a hug.
     "Really you should, darling. It gets lonely with just the two of us pottering around here alone all the time." Dave said as he gave her another hug.
     "Oh, I'm sure." Emmy replied with a grin. "When you two aren't busy hosting a neighborhood dinner, or popping over to another house for lunch and a chat."
     Diana ignored her daughter. "You too, Maia. You're like a second daughter to me. You're always welcome. Even if Emmy doesn't want to join you." She said giving Maia a hug, too.
     "I may take you up on that. I do love it out here." With that the girls climbed into the truck and headed back off to the city, and Emmy caught Maia up on Dave's experience with the mystery willow.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

When the Willow Whispers - Page 11

     They laughed and danced around inside a circle of ancient trees, while the fog gathered outside the circle and mist swirled about their feet. This was very different from the somber scene they made just a few days earlier.
     "She's coming! It's almost ready! She'll be here soon!" Said one.
     "How can you be sure she'll follow it? Perhaps she'll be so frightened she'll turn away before she gets to us." Worried another
     "Oh, she'll come through. She's heard the music. She'll be far to curious not to come." Confirmed the third. “If all else fails, we've sent Daniel. He'll guide her in the right direction.”
     They danced and giggled some more before falling down in fits of laughter as the fog rolled through the trees...

     Emmy and Maia had been back in their beds curled up in warm duvets and brainstorming for about forty minutes when they heard Emmy's parents stirring on the landing. They had come up with a number of mediocre plans, before deciding that they would just have to let this thing play out. Her mom was bound to notice, sooner than later, that this tree was a miracle tree. Even if the fog held out and her mom avoided that corner of the garden, how long would that last? Today? Maybe tomorrow? Three days from now that tree was going to be a fully grown, established tree in her mother's garden. There was no way Diana was not going to notice and they decided there was no logical explanation. Even the truth wasn't logical, but what else did they have?
     There was a soft knock on the door. "You girls awake in there?" Came her mother's voice through the door.
     "Yeah mom." Diana opened the door and stood in the doorway as her daughter continued. "We decided it was warmer under the covers than anywhere else in the house, so we've just been hanging out and chatting. It's a dreary morning isn't it?"
     "The mornings have been foggy for the last few days. It should lift by midday, hopefully." Her mother smiled at them. "Then I'll be able to take a look at your willow and how it looks in the back garden."
     Emmy and Maia exchanged looks. "We should probably get going before then. Want to get back to the city before traffic hits."
     "I don't think you should have much traffic on a Sunday, but you're the expert. Dave should have started the fire in the wood stove by now, if you girls want to head down to the family room in a few minutes. I'll get some breakfast on to cook before you go." With that her mother left to go downstairs, closing the door behind her.
     Maia gave Emmy a sidelong look. "You know, you can't avoid it forever. She's gonna see it, and when she notices it she's gonna call you anyway. We might as well just stay and see what she says."
     "I'll think about it. Right now I want to head down and get some tea by the fire."
     "Good plan. I'm right behind you" They grabbed robes that had been left hanging on the back of the door and padded downstairs to the family room.
     Dave was downstairs waiting for them. "G'morning girls. Sleep well? Not too cold, I hope. Sometimes I wish we'd get some central heating installed."
     "Slept like babies." Maia piped up. "Those hot water bottles are amazing inventions. Wish I'd discovered them sooner!"
     "That's good hear. Diana tells me you girls are leaving after breakfast?"
     "Yeah." Replied Emmy. "We want to try to miss the traffic into the city."
     "Sure you don't want to wait for the fog to lift? I built your mom another green house. I thought you might want to check it out before you left."
     "I'd love to see the new greenhouse." Emmy shot her friend a look. Ignoring it, Maia continued, "I'm sure we could stay a bit longer. It is Sunday after all. Shouldn't be too much traffic on a Sunday, right?"
     Dave grinned. "Excellent. It's been a while since you two have been out here. We'll take a walk around the grounds after it warms up, so you can see all the upgrades."