The Old Woman, the Willow Woman, pulled the sprig of small white flowers from her hair, then began her story. "Young pilgrim, there are some mornings, especially those misty mornings, when the clouds seem to have come upon the earth at sometime in the middle of night, and then are caught lingering too long by the first light of the new day's dawn, that I go and gather my Angel Lace." As she slowed to make sure that my soul was coming with her on her story, she delicately and ever so slowly spun the flowers before my eyes.
She waited a moment, a moment in which she took the time to grace my eyes with ever so gently created smile. She then went on.
"You see, there are some nights when angels come down to play upon the earth, they dance to music of the nightingales and in the starlight as it falls upon the open meadows. They dance in ever spinning circles, round and round, bringing the tears of earth upward into heaven and the laughter of heaven down upon the earth. Their dance is so joyful that when it comes time for the angels to return to their heavenly places, the earth reaches up to keep them here. But the angels, they must return, but the earth snatches a bit of lace from their lacy robes."
"And that is why it is called Angel Lace."
"Indeed." The Willow Woman then took my hand, first kissed its palm, then ever so lightly rubbed its back across her cheek. She took the bit of Angel Lace and folded my fingers around it, leaned over and whispered in my ear, "You've danced with the angels, haven't you?"
Without giving it much thought I nodded, "Yes."
She confirmed my answer with her eyes. They smiled and then misted up and then they closed in a quiet look of thankful peace.
She held my hand as we returned to the world about us.
"How is the honey tea, my gentleman callers. Is it to your liking?"
My grandfather was the first to answer, "It is exquisite, dear lady. Just exquisite, much like the honey tea my dear departed wife used to make on winter days like this."
"I am so glad you like it. And my Friar of the Forest?"
The Padre gave a smile, almost a chuckle at her name for him, "As always, Miss Willow, it is as perfect as perfect can be."
He then decided to turn the course of the conversation, "Is it true that the War has finally ended?"
"Yes, that is what I hear on the Wind, the war has fought itself out. They have all gone home and I do sense that this time, they have gone home forever."
Both Willow and the Padre looked within themselves for a time, as if they were both gazing upon some old photographs being turned within their souls.
There was an air of unspoken reverence in that moment. While the two old friends remembered, grandfather and I honored the silence, allowing it to find its own amen.