The Younger and the Elder lady.
Walking through familiar woods, bound a peaceful destination, an elder woman feels pained both in joint and experience so meets at mid-day, a younger woman, supple of joint and credence. She, is town bound and busy.
Late Summer sun sends marbled blessings that slip leaf to leaf. The younger’s hat tells much: her past; future; interest and status, both business and personal but nothing of problems that truly concern. She holds life, beauty and attention but is offered small respect and lacks experience to use the power she spills. The elder holds respect, experience, cleverness and humour, her powers are limited but well employed. They fall to talking and share their lunch.
The younger has water, plums and two fresh pies spare. Two baker’s dozen baked, two dozen delivered early. The elder has a salad of herbs, goat’s cheese and her cider. With due responsibility, she allows the younger some limit.
“You’ve seen just seventy seasons with this nearing Autumn, is that right, my dear?” The younger’s wide eye shows her belief, “Then half only, even after pie or your master will concern for you.”
“My thanks, I’ve tasted only local before, is it strong?”
“It is mellowed. Not the sort that fells, if taken in moderation.”
The elder is smiling, “Talk while you taste, you’ll find it lasts longer.” The bottle lowers, “Tell me your household. Your family’s, since your hat’s apprentice-badge looks recent sewn.” The younger blushes at this respect and sits straighter to touch her hat’s floured crown, a baker’s touch.
“My mother is a baker too but you can see from my hat, her household is far from here and I’m apprenticed in town.” The elder nods, keeps her silence.
The younger speaks then of two schooling brothers, her mother’s quiet and her father, a farrier blacksmith who requires daily small handling in matters of temper and temperance. The brothers are safe she hopes and directing their school with enthusiasm but she is less sure of herself. Her rarely seen reflection startles. She stops when she catches it and views a critical stranger. True portrayal is unproved. She has been kissed but is ignorant of why suiters come, also why they go.
The elder considers the younger’s thread. She takes a draft of water from her cold stoneware bottle and watches sunlight moss-dancing by her worn boots for several moments before replying.
“It seems we have a compliment of values.”
She drinks more and follows the fluttering leaf light. The younger also drinks, mirroring the elder’s form in shadow behind.
“How so?” Says she, curious what the elder would lack in value.
The elder holds up the water,
“This is sweet and vital, life’s greatest resource after the Sun himself,” She nods to the dappling ground, “but innocent and subject to basic natural forces. It falls from bourne to sea, without will or confirmed desire and as directed by the nature of matter.” She sees the younger eyes lowering and whispers, “Despite it’s power.”
“Well yes, I suppose..,” The younger feels respectful but in darkness, doubting the elder’s direction.
“The cider you hold,” Small remained of it, “Has both more and less power, it is a philtre mixed with long intelligence for preservation, calm, respect and appreciation.” She smiled, bright, sudden as the leafed earth between them. “But the effects wane quickly and leave you aching, eh?”
“And water is the cure!”
“Truth! You’re smart and pin-point close, my dear.” The younger grinned and swigged in salute. Shimmer and shadow played hopscotch reveal across her dress.
“And see, you drink and so do I.”
Vitality and philtre both consumed, both elder and younger resume their journeys but each the way they had come. The elder woman, supple of joint and credence as an apprentice may be. The younger, bound another, more peaceful destination, pained in joint and credulity.