Beth’s plan will work, eventually but for now they wait. Between whistle and shouts summoning the dogs mother and daughter listen in strained silence for the sound of excited canine breaking a way through the bush. Scarlet is cold and thirsty but keeps quiet. She can tell her mother is embarrassed by their predicament. It is apparent by Beth’s constant reassurance also by the quivering lack of conviction behind her words. The thing is, despite being uncomfortable, Scarlet has faith in her mother. This feeling of optimism is new to her, not at all usual for Scarlet, but something is telling her to just go with it. So she is, waiting quietly for the rescue she knows is on the way.
As the day darkens the low slung moon brightens. From her seat on the decaying beech Scarlett’s gaze is captivated by the silver globe. How easy it would be to reach out and drag her fingertips along its surface. So close yet this pie in the eye moon goes unnoticed by her mother whose agitation is opposite to Scarlett’s calm. A strange turn-about because for the past year Scar had been the one in distress. So many worried nights listening to her parents argue and then trying not to hear them, existing in a constant state of anxiety. Until now. Lately something new has been hanging around in the back of her mind. Poking through the stress and negativity an inkling of something new has cropped up. She can’t say for sure but it might be hope. Usually Scar does not to believe in such promises, but now, beneath glow of this astronomical sphere, she finds herself considering the possibilities.
Beth, on the other hand, can no longer sit neither can she stay silent. She has taken to pacing and muttering. Between shouts and whistle the woman pleads (to who knows who) to please show her the way. When that doesn’t work she hums distractedly. It is a tune Scar does not recognize and does not inquire, only listens. Her mom begins to sing:
If you are in the woods – when the moon is bright
and the day of thanks is late
On outstretched branches – in exaltation
Aurora’s brilliance dances
If you’re in the woods – under frozen sky
to witness bow and streamer
from roots of pine and pulp – Scarlet blooms unfold
the prophesy retold
far and wide – but it’s here in Juniper Valley
where the original grace resides
What a pretty tune. When Scarlet says so Beth answers with a dismissive wave. “Silly old song my Grandpops used to sing. I don’t know what made me think of it” and resumes her pacing and pleading
Observing her mother Scarlet wonders what’s the difference between a spell and a prayer? As far as she can tell both are nothing more than words weaved into poems or chants, sometimes a song. Is the power in the words or in the belief? No matter the name, no matter a persons notion, combined or alone, on bended knee or standing and pacing, there is power in the idea. Beliefs practiced in groups and gatherings, coven and congregations whether casted or prayed all are heard… and sometimes answered.
It is huge relief when Buffy and Boots scamper towards them. Beth laughs and hugs the dogs already forgetting the deals she’d been making with the universe. “Whose a good dog?” Patting each furry head before commanding “Go Home.”
Tiny snow begins to fall, so light with wide gap between flakes it’s enough to excite the pups. Mother and daughter follow the animated animals as they scamper homeward. Between the fresh snow and full moon the dogs are frisky and in no hurry to get back. The path they blaze is an indirect one, full of loops and zig zag, Beth miust repeatedly remind them of their task. The ground has become frozen and crunchy. Tree branches are dusted with snow and the silvery moon gives the woods the appearance of an old black and white film. Again Beth takes no notice of things beyond her begging Boots and Buffy to “GO HOME.” Lifting her arm she points in a direction she hopes will get her point across. Boots bounds up to her playfully wagging his tail and nudging her leg. He then returns to Buffy and the two begin to sing .
Scarlet is stunned. “wow, dogs really do that?”
The hounds have brought them to the farthest end of the property, coming to a halt in front of a giant balsam tree, where they began to howl.
This particular evergreen has been allowed to grow in abundance. Both tall and wide without competition or crowding. Majestic green, its needles a vivid contrast to the black and white back drop. Basking beneath swirls of silver spotlight from a moon so low it appears to rest upon the trees pinnacle. “Mom” Scarlett whispers “what kind of tree is this?” From the branch end Scar plucks a small red bud. Peering upward the two behold blooms. Not large but long and thin, much like ribbon, like red ribbon. Beth’s sight continues to travel up, nearer to the top but not all the way, she sees it. Faded and worn with letters of gold, half a sash which once read “2nd runner-up.”