As most of you know, the Daily Post is shutting down. I will miss the weekly photo prompts and community I found therein. For the final edition, we’ve been encouraged to share our all-time favourite photo. Here’s mine:
The fairy’s graceful lines and colourful foliage are famous throughout the province. If you whisper, you can ask her anything you like, but be warned: any disrespect and she’ll turn the creek against you. She is no stranger to cruelty and prejudice. She bears her scars. Young folk of marginalized sexualities can call on her for help and kinship. She turns none away.
There is a ramshackle garage, not far from here, tucked into a fortress of overgrown weeds. Its roof is slanted, the paint crumbling. The garage door is painted with an artist’s imaginary car. It waits like an old friend, cheering passerby. Lines bisect it, the slats of its canvas, but the effect is unchanged. It could rumble to life at a moment’s notice with the tiniest dusting of magic.
The ghosts of old summers linger within the slumbering trees as they hold their naked vigil against the frigid length of winter. They haunt me from my window, whispering of a riot of green and a lullaby of peepers. Fireflies. Flowers. A slick of sweat above my lip. The scent of soil as I pull a carrot from the garden. The buzz of a bee. The shriek of cicada. The scurry of some small creature in the undergrowth.
A rush of bracing wind scatters my ghosts. The cold austerity of a winter morning holding fast. For now. But not for long.
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.