The Dew Gatherer
Light from the full moon shown down between the trees making stark contrasts of light and shadow. Still, she wove between them with ease, hardly needing to see the details of the path. She had gone this way so many times. More than she could count. Most often on the nights surrounding the full moon. That was when the flowers opened their petals in the chill night air, when their dew must be harvested. Soon she had reached the higher regions of the valley, where the flowers grew in certain meadows. She departed the main path, steering between rowans and pines before emerging in one such a meadow. Here she didn’t waste moment but stooped and swiftly began harvesting the dew from the blue-petalled moon-flowers. The process was simple. She delicately shook the dew off of the flowers into a large silver spoon, then carefully poured the contents of the spoon into a bottle made of swirling glass. She moved from bush to bush, stooping, rising, crouching. Once she had covered the whole meadow she returned to the path and continued up the valley for a hundred yards. Then she again departed the trail, this time on the left, and made her way through trees to another meadow, wider than the previous. Here she uncorked the jar and repeated the routine. The process was painstaking. Each flower yielded only a drop or two of dew. But she could not slow down. The flowers only blossomed for several hours, a few nights a month. She continued to work tirelessly, moving from meadow to meadow. And soon the moon was setting, becoming a golden thumbnail over far-off mountains. With the moon’s departure the flowers began to close, almost as one. She had filled the bottle about two thirds of the way. She rose, groaned, and started back down the trail, still hastening. The dew must be inside before sunrise or it’s potency would be ruined. The sky was already beginning to lighten.