With steady hands

With steady hands
She rubbed the wood she had just planed, the smell of the cedar fragrant and sweet. A small rough spot and she applied the plane gently, shaving a near transparent curl of wood that peeled towards her. It popped out of the plane and rolled just a little and fell gently to the floor to join hundreds of others around her feet and skirt. She felt the wood again, smooth, warm and as perfect as she could get it. She looked at the stack of planks she had created. It was pleasant to see so many finished but it was also a sign of her lack of calm.
Her mind was whirling with all that had happened and the change in her responsibilities. Before, there had always been Chevreuil or Poppy and Ginny, now there was just her. She had never thought to be in this position, she was had no training for it. She sighed and rubbed the smooth cedar again. New responsibility, new faces, new problems. She …disliked new, new always had to be weighted, judged to see if it would harm or help the family, the Circle or community. She wasn’t happy about taking the council seat but she was the logical choice. Much as she loved her nephew Simon, good young man that he was, he didn’t truly represent the whole family. There had to be someone to represent the Circle, and make sure that they had a voice. It should be Chevreuil but after the Circle meeting the previous night it had to be her. Merde! And more Merde.
She picked up the finished plank and carefully set it with the others and grabbed another rough piece of wood and picked up her planer. After a quick assessment she slide the tool along the surface of the cedar and let her mind focus on the turmoil of her emotions. The Circle, she hummed as she worked the wood, was yet another responsibility she never expected, but had had to shoulder. She was more comfortable with this one, this, was at least her own people, her family that she loved. She could be sure of their support and understanding as she took on the role of Mother. Most of them already looked to her so it would not be as difficult an adjustment. They were Family, be it by birth or adoption, family supported one another.

There was another thing. With all this …new, there was a…hole. Like when she was a child and a tooth had come out and she would wiggle her tongue in the empty place, exploring, testing for the new tooth that was to come. She knew there would be no new tooth to fill this empty place because it was not a tooth that was missing but part of her heart. She had traded that part of her so she could be Mother. She no longer remembered his face, his smell or any part of him, only that he had been there and was now gone. It was a strange kind of grief, sharp but also dull. She had weighted what she could give the Spirits for the gift of Mother, it was what they all needed, and rather than a future promise that she might not be able to provide she had decided to give the Spirits a part of her past. She sighed again and looked down at the plank she had planed, smooth, she rubbed her work hardened hand along the surface. For no reason she could put a finger on, she reached for her carving knife and with a few deft cuts a fox face appeared in the whirl of a knot. She ran a finger over the engraving, just looking at it, then taking up her plane again she smooth the spot over and it was gone the curl of cedar dropping to the floor with the rest. She swept the plane along the wood one more time and satisfied, put down the plane and place the plank with the other finished one and selecting a new piece of wood returned to her work.

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