Getting to the Elm (a preview)

More spirit than body, the dead leaves barely crinkled under the weight of her mocassined feet, and the rain drops fell more through her than onto her outstretched arms. A small tan rabbit peeked up from its burrow, perking up a single ear to find the source of the steady hum of her melodious voice. A badger glanced out from behind a towering oak tree and caught a glimpse of magnificent iridescent fabric, majestically shedding water like its own coat, dry in the rainstorm, cloaking sienna skin. The pine trees whispered as their needles fell, placing straight green strands amongst the coppery curls dancing behind her ears as this would-be intruder floated her way through their woods. A specific elm was her destination, and the small door that grew with her each visit of her life would let her know she’d reached it. She wondered if the piano stairs would still be there, thinking that they might jar her after the calming rain and forest sounds. This was the first time she’d visited in wet weather, but also the first time as a full adult. What would be inside?

Ne’orah took a deep breath and forged ahead, resuming her steady, drawn out hum to match the music of the raindrops and rustling leaves. The path was a carpet underneath her feet, made up of five-pointed maple leaves, crumbled pine cones, fallen brown elm leaves, and tiny blankets from the hickory trees. Blades of grass poked through, thirsting for each bead of water that fell through the branches’ grasps. She couldn’t pause to look around, but her eyes scanned the trail ahead, taking in the muted greens and hearty browns, plus the occasional dash of bright orange or purple where patches of flowers had sprouted up along the way. Her mind wandered to thoughts ignored…

Where was that river? I love how it flows. The rocks in the bed, and the way the water travels over and around each one, and it creates its own ridge, making the flow climb and drop. I wonder how far that fall feels to each molecule of H2O, or if water even feels at all. There’ve been so many experiments about the way that emotional energy effects water, even in another part of the world, if it’s directed at it. I can’t imagine water wouldn’t feel, and that my soul isn’t joined up with the water’s soul at all. I’d love to dip my ha—

This selection is from Getting to the Elm, Part 1 of a 3-part short story mini-series. It is available for purchase in full here. All profits from the Ne’orah series, today through Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in honor of Tu B’Shevat (basically the Jewish Arbor Day; it’s the New Year for the Trees) will be given to an arboreal cause. After Feb. 19, 2015, all profits will benefit HypheNation. Please support us!

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