Photography, The Wall, by Annette Marie Hyder
Advice the Autumn Crone Gave Me On Climbing the Wall
By Annette Marie Hyder
(from the Night Fairytales series)
There are golden leaves pressed like secrets into the cracks. There are footholds and handholds from the way kudzu tacks it sway over the face of the wall. A lizard runs, like Ratatoskr, between the Dragon of Change at the foot of the wall on the other side and the Eagle of Actuality that perches right at the top.
The Autumn Crone told me, “There are spider web stories — don’t be the fly. A rivulet of cold clear water courses down the right side of the wall. Drink cleanly and hands free lest you get your hands wet and them slick you swift to your fall. Kick off your high button boots — but tie them by their laces to your belt. That way you will have them when you get to the other side. But mind me, you wont need them at first, they’ll only get in the way of your feet if you wear them to climb. Take the spider webs you find and wrap them around your neck like scarves. The golden leaves — you’ll want those too so tie them in your hair. Here are worsted wool threads I have for you.
Now when you get to the top you’ll sit beside the eagle, she of the piercing eye, just give her one of your spider web stories and she will let you by. Just be sure it’s the right one else you will die.
The dragon will be on the other side and he’ll want your gold, of course and certain he will. Let him nibble the leaves straight from your hair, the strings of wool and all — he’s likely to eat a hair or two as well. Don’t let him eat more of those than four or he’ll be able to trade places with you and you’ll be cursed to wear his beastly form while he goes on in your place.”
So I kicked my boots off and secured them with twine. I climbed up the wall while the lizard of time meandered crazily with no rhythm or rhyme. I ignored the lizard, followed all of the crone’s good advice with the addition of having my iron hand knife tucked into a garter tight against my thigh — the garter woven of dreams and the color of sky…