flax-golden tales: a persistent turtle possibly having an existential crisis

persistent turtlea persistent turtle possibly having an existential crisis

The turtle keeps trying to get into the house.

Sometimes it even manages to sneak inside despite the fact that we lock all the windows and doors and rigged a fancy mesh over the air vents.

It just appears, like magic. Tucked amongst the mangoes in the fruit bowl or hidden behind the gin in the liquor cabinet.

Once I found it on a bookshelf in the library. It pulled its head into its shell when it saw me but I think it had been reading Kafka. I put it out in the garden and asked it politely to stay outside like we always do, but it doesn’t understand or it just doesn’t listen.

We tried leaving it in the park once and for a few days that seemed to work but then the turtle was back, scratching plaintively at the windows.

Lately it’s taken to sitting very still next to the river rocks near the koi pond and sobbing quietly.

We haven’t discussed what to do about it but we did take the mesh off of the air vents.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: preservation


The new things, once found, are immediately placed in glass. Carefully captured in jars or frames depending on their nature and size.

Then they are catalogued and organized for preservation.

Before they have a chance to grow wild.

With time they will harden and dry and become extremely delicate.

(More so than they were before, but such matters are not discussed.)

So delicate they must remain contained.

To free them after glass is all they’ve ever known would be disaster.

It’s safer this way.

They would agree, if they could understand.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: buy love here

buy love herebuy love here

It appears to be a store and not a test, because they find people are more comfortable thinking about it as a transaction rather than a judgement.

The numbers listed are not the true prices, the paper money is mostly for administrative fees and processing.

The real costs are paid in secrets and wishes, unspoken desires and buried emotions.

Step up to the window, empty your pockets and show your soul and make your promises.

They’ll know which ones are true.

Which ones you only wish were true and how much you’re willing to give.

They take all this from you and close the window and debate if what you have to offer is acceptable.

They calculate passions and fears and weigh needs against wants.

Once they’ve decided, the window will open again and if you’ve met their approvals they will stamp a heart on the back of your hand and send you on your way.

But only if they’ve determined that you’re ready for love.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: happily


He says he’ll build us a castle somewhere.

And our castle will be guarded by a dragon.

A dragon who plays the mandolin.

And eats unwelcome visitors.

And in this castle, guarded by its carnivorous, mandolin-playing dragon, we will live happily ever after.

I tell him that I don’t need a castle.

And I already have my own mandolin and he knows that because he gave it to me.

And someday I will learn to play it properly, for love song serenades.

And we are already living happily right here and right now, and we will continue to do so ever after, whatever that means, regardless of location, because that’s how this story goes.

But if he actually knows where to get a dragon, especially one who plays the mandolin better than I can, that might be nice.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: untested paths obscured by snow

untested pathsuntested paths obscured by snow

It’s clear to see from the impressions in the snow

That you were walking in someone else’s footsteps,

Wearing someone else’s shoes.

Maybe because it was easier to take steps already taken

Or maybe because of outside expectations that were not your own.

It doesn’t matter.

Now, here, looking back, aware,

You can decide.

If you wish to continue in this fashion

Or if the time has come for you to forge your own untested path.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: brief conversation with a traveling cat

brief conversationbrief conversation with a traveling cat

There’s a cat walking in the road alongside me and after it keeps pace with me for a bit I ask if it can talk, a habit I developed with all cats from a young age (though none of them ever could).

“That’s mostly Japanese cats,” this cat answers in a deep voice that sounds the way sandpaper feels.

“Like Siamese cats?” I ask, thinking I might have misheard him.

“No, like cats who live in Japan.”

“Oh,” I say, and he doesn’t say anything else and I wonder if I’ve only ever asked Canadian cats if they can talk before and had thought the muteness a quality of cats in general and not Canadian ones in particular.

The cat and I walk together in silence down the street until we reach an intersection and when I stop to wait for the walk signal he stops as well, sitting by my feet.

“This is where I leave you,” he informs me, warmly, as though we had been chatting companionably and not walking quietly and then he adds: “You may pet me on the head if you would like.”

I pet him on the head and he purrs, a short but approving sort of purr.

“Later you will wonder if you actually talked to a cat or not,” the cat says, “because that is how your mind works, so do please remember that we had this conversation.”

“I will,” I tell the cat, hoping that it’s true, and he tells me that not all cats can talk and not all the ones that do have anything to say that’s worth listening to, and that he likes my scarf, and before I can say thank you he turns and walks away.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: don’t


I spun the wheel even though it had a sign that said “don’t.”

I’m sorry.

In my defense, it didn’t say “don’t spin” or even “don’t turn.”

It just said “don’t” which isn’t terribly specific.

And it was there with its vague warning all wheel-shaped with curved spokes looking like it was supposed to be spun, like it wanted to be spinning and like remaining static was all wrong for it and so I gave it a twirl.

I didn’t think anything would happen, really.

I thought the wheel would spin for a bit and that would be that.

But once it started spinning it just kept going.

The letters of the “don’t” sign turned into an illegible blur.

I can’t figure out how to make it stop.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: another world next door

another world next dooranother world next door

There is another world that is quite like this one but you can’t really see it, even though it’s right next door.

At some points it comes close enough that you could almost see it but the reflections through skys and seas create an optical illusion and everything disappears into the blue.

At night it is no more than a shadow blocking out the stars.

And we look the same to them.

There’s someone just like you only different there.

And someone just like me but not quite, too.

Maybe the other you and that other me wonder themselves about the other world they can’t quite see, obscured by their own clouds and the shadowed stars.

Or maybe they don’t.

Maybe they don’t question missing stars and shades of blue or maybe they accept them as emptiness and mystery.

Maybe they’re content spinning alongside the unknown.

About flax-golden tales
. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.


flax-golden tales: simple steps

simple stepssimple steps

Take simple steps.

Do not complicate things any more than necessary.

Do not preoccupy yourself with step 3 while you are still on step 1.

(That way madness lies.)

One step. Then the next.

Each step can take as long as it needs, each step is different and unique to the step-taker.

Try your best. Begin when you’re ready, but begin now.

(A secret to carry: you can always start over if you wish.)


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

flax-golden tales: guardian of the new world

guardian of the new worldguardian of the new world

The path in front of me is surrounded by green leaves and sunshine, sudden and shocking. I glance over my shoulder and the snow is still there, the impressions of my bootsteps slowly filling in with fresh flakes.

In the sunshine by the side of the path stands a robed figure, stern and serious.

I say Hello and the figure nods at me but says nothing.

Who are you, and what is this? I ask as I unbutton my coat, already uncomfortably warm, rogue snowflakes falling from my eyelashes and melting on my cheeks

I am the guardian, and this is where you leave the Old world for the New, the figure says in a low voice that is only slightly patronizing. You will have to leave your things behind.

The guardian shakes its head when I move to put down my bag and as I start to ask what it means the guardian reaches a hand into my chest and pulls out my heart.

But before I can react the still-beating heart in the guardian’s hand becomes a feather, and then the feather floats up and over my shoulder and back into the wind and the snow.

The guardian gives me a small, satisfied nod and leads me onward, my new heartbeat pounding in my ears, hard and fierce and light.


About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.