Cernd took a huge breath, filling his lungs with the vibrant air. It was good to be outside again after the little death that was winter. All around him, the woods fairly hummed with the signs of new life. He closed his eyes blissfully. Though my body may roam, my spirit shall always rest here.
“Can we go home now?”
Annoyed, Cernd opened his eyes. “Not yet, Ahsdale.”
Ahsdale heaved an exaggerated sigh and trundled off to kick a rock. Cernd shook his head. He had tried not to think about it, but this parenting thing was really driving him up the wall. You just didn’t get a break. Perhaps it would be easier for someone living in a city, surrounded by the press of humanity day in and day out, but even being with one person was starting to wear on his nerves. In some ways, it was even worse than being on the farm with Galia. He could wander off for a few hours when it got to be too much, but Ahsdale was only seven. He couldn’t leave him alone.
Cernd looked around at the trees again, trying to recapture his earlier exhilaration, but the feeling was gone. He would have worked off his annoyance with a good ramble, but there was the boy to consider. Perhaps we should just go home. But… wait a moment. He listened carefully. It is too quiet. What has Ahsdale gotten into now? He craned his head, trying to see where the boy had gone.
It took a few minutes to find him. Ahsdale was sitting under a willow tree, hidden by the drooping branches. He was reaching out to pick a dusky blue flower that grew in a shadowy spot near the roots.
Cernd sprinted over and slapped the boy’s hand away. Ahsdale looked up, surprised. “What did you do that for?” he whined, rubbing his hand.
“That was a dusklily,” said Cernd, squatting next to his son. “It is not a good flower to touch.”
Miracle of miracles, Ahsdale obeyed and closed his mouth. They watched in silence for a minute. A bee flew in lazy circles around them. It finally seemed to tire of the game and sagged down to rest on the flower. A moment later, the buzzing stopped, and the bee fell to the ground.
“Why did it do that?”
“The petals contain a potent toxin. Perhaps not enough to kill one of your size, but enough to make you quite uncomfortable.”
Ahsdale's eyes gleamed in the shadow. “Neat. Can you use it for anything?”
Cernd frowned at the boy. Why does he show such an unhealthy interest in these things? Does he have a death wish? “Perhaps, in a poisonous draught or some other scourge for the unwary. It has no medicinal use that I know of.”
“Can we take it home?”
Cernd searched his mind for an excuse, any excuse. “I would rather not have it in the house,” he said finally. “Even the most agile deer will brush against the leaves.”
“I said, no!”
Cernd just sighed and hauled Ahsdale to his feet. He pulled the boy back along the trail, ignoring his loud protests. Perhaps Soris is right. Perhaps I should allow the others of the Grove to have a chance to take Ahsdale in hand. It is high time for the boy to learn something about the natural world. And it might just keep him out of trouble.
No replies to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users