The invisible path through this devil's swamp proved to be a meandering one. A few steps of progress were often followed by a turning back upon the progress, sometimes leaving us seemingly further away from where we going while, paradoxically, still being further away from whence we came. Yet we did make it through, catching sight of the far off cabin after we cleared a peninsula edged with a line of tall firs.
The cabin was tucked in among a cluster of weeping willows, five to the left of the cabin, three to the right, one in the front, and the tops of two in the rear. As we neared, the cabin took on the character of the willows around it, its logged walls not constructed of straight, sturdy logs stacked in well-ordered lines, but rather more like a weaving of long branches, twisting and turning, but somehow creating a tidy house out of a turmoil of twigs.
Smoke trickled out the chimney and yellow curtains could be seen behind the tiny windows. Hanging from the eaves were flower baskets, now waiting empty in the midst of winter. One the porch rail two cats were balanced, face to face, both washing their faces with wettened paws. The cats were the color of marmalade.
The Padre let out a whistle, a rather high-pitched song of a whistle, heralding, I presumed, our approach. The cats took notice, rising from their crouch. Then the door of the cabin opened, revealing nothing more than a black shadow. Our last few steps sent the cats off to other places.
Squire sprinted ahead, up the three steps, across the porch into the shadowy cabin door. The Padre then called out, "Miss Willow, Peace be with you." His call was answered by the appearance of a lady, a wisp of a feminine aged one dressed in long grey hair, and even longer layers of fox furs. She looked ancient but yet her smile, her eyes, had the look of a far more youthful soul.
"Padre, welcome," she offered with open arms. After their embrace, the old woman looked over at Granddad and me and added, "Padre, I see you've brought to me the Old Man from across the river. And with him, the Young One."
I did not or could not understand the meaning of greeting, but the Padre did and seemingly my Grandfather did.
Blue-eyed Squire poked his head out the door wondering if we would ever come in.
After a few more words of welcome and a round of hugs or two, we accepting the old woman's invitation to enter in. Inside I found a tiny world of magic, a a few square feet of space in a few, lost moments in time that had somehow slipped away into some other realm comprised of mystic charm.