Been a while since I had a chance to sit down and write. Meant to do it more often than this, but well, autumn is a busy time, what with getting ready for winter and all that. I’d intended to pick up where I left off last time, but well, the poppets displayed a new behavior the other day, so I suppose I should write that down first.
I was in the workroom, measuring out ingredients for an herbal tonic I keep around for winter colds, when it occurred to me that I’d been hearing a single low tone ringing outside for some time. Setting the measuring things down, I went to the window to see what was going on.
The poppets were in the trees and along the fenceline all on one side of the property, looking fixed down the road, and chiming a single long note together in a chorus. They’d chime the tone, it would ring unchecked and just as it would start to fade out of hearing, they’d chime again. The same tone, over and over. One of the poppets closer to the window saw me watching them, and bowed its head at the tilted angle that signifies sadness for them, before looking back down the road and rejoining the chiming.
I left the window and got my boots. Something was going on, and I didn’t have a good enough angle to see where they were looking properly.
When I stepped out onto the porch, I could see clear what they were looking at, and understood.
The house down the road is a good ways through the trees, but close enough to be seen from ours. Usually there was a light on by this time, but that night it was dark and no smoke came from the chimney. The old man who owned it had passed away earlier that morning, and so there was no one to light the fire or turn on the lamp anymore. The poppets were mourning their friend, who had been the inspiration behind their chiming voices, in a ritual they were creating just for him.
I bowed my head, and grieved with them. He’d been a good neighbor, sweet and friendly, easy to laugh, and the windchimes he’d hung on his porch had been what had given me the idea to use the small, poppet-sized chimes to allow the poppets to “speak” and expand their vocabulary beyond clicking and postures. He’d always been kind to them and sometimes I think he taught them some of the mischief they get into from time to time. We are all going to miss him, though it’s a comfort that he’ll always be remembered wherever my little poppets go.
* * * * * *
This was not the next installment I’d planned for the Poppet Witch’s journal or her poppets. Really, it wasn’t a post I was planning to write at all, but well, Life happens and sorrows, too.
My next door neighbor, Dan, was the original inspiration for the poppets. Or rather, the windchimes on his porch were. I’d hear them ringing softly in the distance at night, when the neighborhood was quiet, and well, one night a small poppet story wandered into the room and it turned into a bit of ambient microfiction and then one thing led to another and here we are.
Dan passed away this past weekend. As I write this, his family are in his house, working on the next steps to deal with the stupid, mundane details of life and death and what to do with the things we leave behind when we leave the world.
I can’t do anything to help them, but I can write a bit of a world that he helped inspire and make sure that he is remembered in my own small way.
(Originally posted on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/riversdaughter.)