This is a short and evocative story about a meeting in the woods with a witch. Our motive for seeking out the witch is never especially clear, though I think there is some small sense of defining the general gist of it in our responses to her question. This witch, by the way, is a real witch: there is also a sense of her being something more, a force of nature, an order of magnitude greater than the so-called coven back in the city. (The witches who sent us here are unceremoniously lumped with the general muggles; there's an eyerolling comment about the pretension of insisting on "widdershins" instead of "counter-clockwise".)

I admit that I found the prose annoyingly coy and non-committal, but on further thought, I'm beginning to think that it was necessary, in order to avoid giving too much focus to things that do not matter. I've mentioned the difference between the essential reality of the witch on one side, and the pretensions of the city coven -- and, by extension, our own pretensions -- on the other. Suppose that this is the heart of the story, this disparity between the real and the pretense, the magnanimous and the pusillanimous. When we tell the witch that we've sought her out because we've "tried everything else," she very slyly and perceptively asks if we're sure, implying a host of things alternatives as yet untried: when we say "everything", are we not merely indulging in a little dramatic flourish? Our lives and our language are full of these little dramatic flourishes that we half-believe in, but which, when taken absolutely at face value, mean something far more than we are prepared to confess.

Everything else is window dressing ... more dramatic flourishes. There are multiple forms that the story could take, depending on our reasons for seeking out the witch, but I think they are all representative of a journey towards metanoia. Of course the situations are described in vague terms: they're less important than that general metanoia of which they are only examples.

For breakfast: bread and wine.