Except for the ancient oak, all the trees in and surrounding the garden had lost their leaves. As it did every year, the old tree held onto some of its leaves right through winter.
The oak leaves had positively glowed — a glossy, rich, reddish brown — in the autumn sunshine, but now they were faded and crisp, rattling in the wind that howled through the garden and whistled through the gaps in the windows of Rabbit’s tea shop.
Inside, though, everyone had gathered for the afternoon, and all was cozy. There was plenty of hot tea, of course, and there were books to read and friends to visit with. Old Possum had brought a container of the old-fashioned gingerbread cookies that he and Raccoon and Crow had made earlier in the week. And Raccoon arrived with a thermos of hot chocolate and a covered bowl that was full to the brim with peppermint whipped cream.
(Early December 2023)