But the silence did end. It ended with Miss Willow suddenly slapping my knee as she jumped to her feet, and saying, "I have something here for you, my new young friend."
"Yes, a peddler travelling by left it here for you awhile back."
As she made her way to a pile of clutter stacked in the far corner, she answered, "Oh, he always does when it comes time for the next young pilgrim to come this way." She dug through a pile of papers, moved a wooden basket filled with balls of yarn, and then digging a little deeper. she pulled out what appeared to be a book.
As she approached, she gave it a gentle kiss before laying it in my lap. It was a book bound in rugged leather, and when I touched it, the dark brown leather was so soft, it felt like velvet. The book was tied with some gnarly, rope-like twine. Within the leather sheaths, I could see pages of rough cut parchment., creamy white.
Miss Willow made the slight gesture that indicates that one should open something. And as I struggled to untie the knot, I could sense the others in the room, each retrieving something on their own. Granddad took something from behind his chair, the Pare from his pack, the Willow Woman from beneath the balls of yarn.
Finally the knot gave way, allowing me to open the leather cover. I was expecting something other than I found. Page after page of empty parchment, pure and pristine paper waiting for something more. I looked up and in their hands, each one there was holding their leather sheaths filled with pages of cream.
All that day and late into that night, they read their pages one by one, the pages of their lives, preparing me for the time when I would lay my days upon the empty pages.
It was like an excursion into timelessness, an excursion into wonder.