“but isn’t it remarkable?” the old woman mutters to no one in particular, as she carefully turns over to the next page. Walking the thin line between being present and being lost in thought, she considers the pressed flowers that are carefully stitched onto the pages of the tome that lays heavy in her lap.
The wind rustles the ancient oak outside her window, and immediately the shadows on the yellowed paper fall into a frenzied dance. The sun already hangs low in the afternoon sky, seemingly turning its back on a world that again failed to catch its interest enough as to make it stay.
“Huh” the woman mouths as she ponders if shadows can dance at all, them just being the absence of the golden rays scintillating through the dull window panes. Her gnarled fingers trace the stem of the corn flower that once was rooted in the soil but now just ends in a clean cut near the bottom of the page, like a magic trick gone wrong.
She wonders if the present tense is actually applicable to this thing she so casually considered a corn flower. Is it? Or was it? And if the latter is true, what does this book actually do but to deny entropy to close the circle for this matter that once belonged to some specimens of her local flora?
Suddenly the leather bound volume seems so much heavier to her, as if the molecules of the supposed plant matter have just now fully succumbed to gravity as the pretense of their simulacrum was lifted.
The woman reminisces about her mother, who crafted this compendium at her kitchen table, when the woman was but a child. Some of the flowers she had even plucked herself on these long summer days out in the meadow, gifting them to her mother when she returned home in the evening. Oh, how she had marveled at the beautiful palette of pastel colors, wanting nothing more than to conserve them through the harsh winters that hit the countryside whenever the sun got particularly bored with the world of the living again.
Her fingers gingerly brush the petals that still radiate from the center of the blossom like an exploding star, frozen in time.
When did the flowers cease to be and when did they start to have been, she wonders. Had she herself been the perpetrator, when in her youthful glee she curated the most delightful daisies, buttercups and lilies for her mother to press, so that they could warm her heart whenever frost arrived to claim his tribute?
For a moment she just sits there, her tired eyes fixed on the playful banter of light and darkness unfolding in front of her. Loneliness comes knocking and the woman answers.
Oh, where have the years gone? Or rather, were have I gone, she reflects. Despite the wave of profound sadness tearing at her core, she can’t help but smile at her silliness of her chiding time for its restless forward motion, for was it not she who tumbled into existence and now fails to halt her fall back towards oblivion?
As quickly as the sadness rushed in, it wanes again. But like the surf on the sandy beach she loved during her childhood holidays, it has washed away her poor attempt at erecting a castle for her princess self to inhabit. She shakes her head as her entitled self predictably mourns the fact that after all this effort, she again is left with nothing but wet sand to build her illusion of safety anew.
Outside the wind picks up again and the oak sways along with it, never tiring of this game of soft resistance that it has been playing for as long as any of the womans ancestors could have remembered. For a moment the woman is struck by the premonition that the oak might decide to avenge its colorful kin right then and there, toppling onto the old farmhouse, crushing it and its single resident under its enormous bulk.
But as the breeze passes, its long limbs settle back into their serene pose of stretching towards the sky, as if patiently asking for salvation. The princess remains safe in her little castle, as she stirs to turn the page again.
“Oh death”, she mumbles, “how is it that you don’t seem to care at all?”

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