It was late winter at the little house in the woods. The snow outside had melted away, except for scattered patches in the shadows of a few trees. Lynn was starting the ritual charm.

She hadn’t known why she called it a charm, there was no manual or instruction to follow, or specify what type it was. It just felt like it fit, and she used that feeling in making this magic. She had laid out the pencil, the pine seed broken from its cone, and the feather all in a row, a line broken by a dot. She waited, listening. There it was, a wood thrush began to sing, four notes and a trill. She placed the four white pebbles around the seed to form an X.

   o           o

  ———-   ~    ----====

   o           o

She touched two fingers to her lips, the top of her head, and the back of her neck. Hakim had asked her, after seeing her do it all one morning when he woke unusually early, “What’s all that about?”

“It’s a morning magic,” she said. Hakim snorted, leaving no doubt of his opinion on the two words being together in any way. Lynn smiled, but ignored it.

“What’s it do?”

“It sets the day in place,” she said. He had shrugged and walked away. But even this vague an explanation was a lie. Not a serious one, she thought, but at least for a time she wanted to keep the truth to herself. And the truth was that the construction of the arrangement did nothing at all. It was magic for magic’s sake. She brought it into the world to bring more into the world.

She watched over the arrangement for a few seconds. Then she went to the kitchen and reverently made a cup of tea. As she wrote, it would sit beside her, steaming, slowly cooling and untouched.