This is a tale told in the clawprints of a crow hopping on fresh morning snow . . .

After Epiphany had past, folk came once again to the Chapel-in-the-Sands for stories.

‘Here’s one from the Pennines where the winter snow falls on old mills and barren moors,’ The Pilgrim said. ‘Where folk from many countries come for a new beginning.’

On a cold January day after Tomás had gone, Lina found this list. He had left an inventory of longings, of things wanted from her and yet unspoken. She traced the dance of the ink with her fingertips as she read:

Draw  for me the shapes of your dreams.

Spell them in words or song or paint.

Make icons of what is in your spirit.

Ask and I will bring whatever you need.

Let there be hues from the blooms and fruits of the forest.

Request blacks and whites and greys from the plumage of the magpie and I will beg them from her.

Recite the prayers of your heart – silently if you wish –

then lay them in the hands of the wind, light as thistle silk.

Send for the scents and the tastes of your cravings; let me know but their names and I will bring bottles and vials, punnets and platefuls.

Tell me the ways your visions wander and I will make a map.

Are there rivers to limn in azure, mountains needing sepia-brown contours, cities’ names to dab with beaten gold?

Let me know what creatures dwell in your imaginings.

I will search out  makers for their portraits, give word to miniaturists and the embrioderers of gloves.

Carve for me the pathways of your desires and I will walk beside you in your dreams.

The paper trembled in her hand. Her skin tingled from following the looping script of his pleadings. She breathed in the old vanilla of the treasured paper, and fondled its deckled edge.

Was she ready now to do what he wanted?

She sat at her desk in front of the window. Outside, snow fell. Eyes open, gazeless and between worlds, she did not need to smile. Those clouds would hold her reverie long enough to start her pursuit.


Header image by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash


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