During each golden afternoon full of swirling leaves and slantwise sunshine, Rabbit watched for signs of frost.
She knew, of course, that the afternoon of the first frosty morning would be the bees’ final salon of the season. And this year, they had all agreed to gather at the appointed hour in Rabbit’s tea shop, where they could sip at saucers filled with honey-scented mint tea and nibble on lavender shortbread and honey cakes.
Traditionally, everyone was invited to this last salon, the only stipulation being that anyone who came had to tell a story. Since the bees would be nesting all winter, and couldn’t be outside, they craved impossible-sounding tales of ice-covered branches and frost-tinged leaves, snow-covered meadows, and cold, clear nights lit by a thousand glittering stars.
(Early November 2023)