An unusual quiet stole over the afternoon air after the bells of the morning, as if the world were sleeping. I walked to the end of the lane and saw no one – the few gardens I passed were deserted, although the north wind had dropped and a warmer wind from the west had blown some of the clouds away. I turned for home before reaching the end of the lane even though the road ahead seemed quieter than usual.
When the house came into view a bent figure appeared at the gate of a field, her silver hair a halo around her wizened face. I’d never seen her before, but she must have been about ninety, if not older, and looked as though she had always been there, like the earth. She gestured to a caravan, partly camouflaged behind the hedge, and took my hand in her bony one, drawing me towards it and pushing me up the steps before climbing in behind me and shutting the door.
All this time she’d spoken not a word, yet I recognized in her some sort of kindred spirit. Perhaps she was a woodland sprite or one of the Fey or Sidhe residing temporarily in her battered caravan in order to perform some task.
Once inside she pointed to a seat by a small table and put a tin kettle on the stove. In a few moments a gingham cloth, a brown teapot, a jug and two cups appeared, and suddenly I felt at home. Pouring the tea, she reached out and turned on a small television, and the most extraordinary pageant met my eyes.
There was the tall and beautiful building I’d seen in my dream, and the living trees forming an avenue either side of a red carpet. We watched together as the pictures unfolded soundlessly like the pages of a story book.
There were magic hats galore and wizards with strange golden crowns and long embroidered robes, their lips moving in some silent spellcasting. There were small boys singing like angels. And there was a soldier, and a princess in a beautiful dress, and horses and carriages and many people and all manner of wondrous things. I remembered the Princess and the pea and Cinderella and her unkind sisters, just two among the many strange stories Grannie used to tell me when I was young.
When the film had finished the old woman reached across and turned the television off. Then she got up, and taking a long stem of Solomon’s Seal from a milk bottle, waved it over my head in a circular movement and spoke some silent words before handing it to me.
I wandered home wondering about the old woman and the silent film. I feel sure there is a message for me in today’s events – perhaps I will throw some cards later to see what Spiritual Insights Hermaphroditey has to impart.
Till when, Aisselle