Showing posts from December, 2019

The Heralds of the Bells

The bells rang once, and the world stopped. The bells rang twice, and the world went about its business. The bells rang thrice, and the world stilled in sorrow. The bells rang forth, and the world filled with joy.

A Reckoning Day

Once upon a time, long ago, and yet not so long ago as all that, a small man trudged up a hill. Snow swirled about him angrily, as though it had a grudge to bear.   And for the man, heavily bundled against the night, that grudge might have been against him.   But there was little he could do about that, for his stepmother lived atop the hill, and he was duty-bound to pay his respects. When he had entered the town that lay at the bottom of the hill only moments before, it was silence that greeted him.   It was the quiet of heavy fear; slow, steeping and tense.   But this was nothing new; he had come to expect this.   Even now, no light shown in the village that lay at the bottom of the hill up which he strove.   No person came out of any house.   He would not be surprised if some had nailed their doors shut.   And their windows, too.   That was the way of it.   It struck him that, in other circumstances, he would have done the same—though he well knew that such precautions off

The Rest of Winter's Ache

Not so long ago, trees bore leafy branches as garlands of honor, flowers wore their colors as proud vestments, and the grasses shot up from the earth and waved warmth in soft winds.             A glorious time they had; a dance of growing things.   Yet, with all its splendor and majesty and delight, it was a performance.   And like all who take a final bow when the curtain comes to claim their bodies, a great weariness falls like velvet—and then grows a deep desire for respite.   That was when it came, as surely as the sun would rise—a winter’s chill that would fill the air, touching all, and the weary performers would lay down their stunning beauties for a starker landscape. But of late, the rest has grown shorter.   And the performance lasts longer.   The beauty becomes cloying—the rhythm is thrown.   There has been little of barren wonder. Then, the voice of one calls into the darkness.   It is joined by another.   Then, many. The call to burden the earth no more.  

The Old Woman Watcher

Once upon a mid-winter, on a day when deep, dampening fog slipped into a wooded glade, an old woman set out on a day’s long journey.             The cold was bitter and bone-chilling, penetrating the skin.   It was all the old woman could do to stave off the bitter shakes that stabbed at her gnarled, swollen joints.   But her journey was one of gravest importance, for the child—and the mother—were counting on her presence.             When at last she arrived at the worn cottage with a thin thread of steam whirling limply from the chimney, she crossed the house’s threshold with words of blessing on her lips.   The fire was nothing to be proud of; only thin twigs, the sort that dry quickly, made up its tiny licking flames.   But a fire it was, and the old woman sat in a chair of wood and held her hands toward it gratefully.   She did not bother long with warmth, however, for a glance at the sky told her the night was upon them—yes, them.   For she was not alone.             In a