I walk through the forest hunting stories in the fold of old bark, the twist of a leaf. That old beetled undergrowth.
Stumps rot away into miniature castles, old galls whisper of dark magics, and scars turn into doorways at the base of a tree. These doorways captivate me. Tucked away yet plentiful, turning entire forests into magic hidden villages.
If I knock, will someone answer? Who are they? How do they live their lives? Their stories weave themselves in and around my imagination.
If I don’t knock, if I just step inside, will I find myself outside of time? Will the world be changed around me? Will I be different when I return? Will you know me? Will you notice it in my eyes, in the way I wear my hair?
But then again, I couldn’t. I couldn’t walk inside without a knock, catching some poor dryad mid-shower, shocked and reaching for a towel.
Come on, then, knock. Let’s go.
I hesitate. If I don’t knock, the stories rule the day. If I do knock, then my imagination is limited to what it finds. My knuckles tingle. I shove them in my pocket and move on. My children need me. I need them. Mothers must tread careful with the risk of getting whisked away to other worlds. I’m hunting stories, not adventure. For now.