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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)

TITLE: In the Circle of Trees
By Yvonne Blake
02/09/11


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One warm spring morning, as I peeked into my mailbox, I spied a tiny birch bark envelope, all creamy white with dark lines etched upon it. Inside the interesting envelope was a beautiful card, with roses and bunnies and ribbons drawn all around the edges. The card said,

You are invited to a tea party
At four o’clock,
At the end of the lane,
In the circle of trees,
Where the rock wall
Meets the bubbly stream.

Love,
Tasha and Chickhominy



What a treat to be invited to a tea party! Tasha Tudor’s home was a special place –a place far away from the hurry and noise of the day—a place where time moved slowly—a place where friends could sit and chat!

So I put on my hat and my knitted shawl and tucked some ginger cookies into my basket. The sun warmed my back, and a breeze cooled my face. I heard birds chirping in the trees as I walked along …

to the end of the lane,
in the circle of trees,
where the rock wall
meets the bubbly stream.



There was Tasha, working in her garden. Her bonnet shaded her face, and a pink apron covered her long dark green dress, which came down to the tops of her toes. Her Corgi dog barked a greeting, and Tasha waved.


“It’s a perfect day for a tea party on the back porch,” she said as I followed her inside. Dried herbs hung from the rafters. Soup simmered on the woodstove. A spinning wheel and butter churn stood nearby. My nose twitched with the mixture of spices and earthy scents. It felt like home.

Tasha used the hem of her apron to take a hot kettle from a crane in the fireplace. As she poured the steaming water into a blue teapot, she said, “I don’t understand how modern women get along without aprons.” She opened a tin container. “Would you like Welsh tea?”

I nodded, although I had never tasted Welsh tea.

She capped the teapot with a pink quilted cozy and led the way to the back porch, a tray full of food in her arms. An orange striped cat joined us.

Hand-painted china cups posed on a white eyelet tablecloth. A bouquet of pink sweet pea blossoms filled a vase. We settled on the wicker chairs with our cups of tea, flavored with honey, and nibbled on chicken sandwiches, lemon tarts, and ginger cookies.

A rooster fluttered to the porch railing. “Meet Chickhominy,” said Tasha. “Chickhominy was the only egg in his brood that hatched, and his mother abandoned him; so I raised him.” We laughed as he stretched his neck and crowed for a cracker. “He thinks I’m his mother.”

Bees buzzed in the lilac bush. Apple blossoms fluttered about like scented snowflakes. Chickhominy got comfy on Tasha’s lap and closed his eyes. Goats bleated in the meadow. Robins searched for earthworms. Butterflies flitted, and chickens clucked. The stream gurgled, and the circle of trees closed us in.

“Tasha, do you ever get lonely?”

She took a sip of tea and smiled. “I’m not lonely. I enjoy solitude ... Life is much too important to be taken seriously … Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish ... And what a privilege even to be alive … Supposing you only saw the stars once every year—think of what you would think. The wonder of it!”

We chatted of gardens and pets and friends and the weather…and time passed by. I put on my hat and my knitted shawl. I patted the cat and the Corgi dog and gave Chickhominy another cracker. I must come back to this wonderful place…

at the end of the lane,
in the circle of trees,
where the rock wall
meets the bubbly stream.







Tasha Tudor (August 28, 1915-June 18, 2008) is one of America’s best-known illustrators. Almost 30 years ago, Tasha moved to Vermont. She chose to live as one in another era of time, back in the 1830’s. Living in these surroundings, Tasha enjoyed milking her goats, making her own cheese and butter, spinning and weaving cloth from her own flax, painting, and above all else, working in her beloved gardens.


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This article has been read 482 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Henry Clemmons02/10/11
You had me hooked from the start. Very unique presentation; a poetic feel, a positive energy. I enjoyed the note at the end, but I believe the piece could have stood on its own. A great work. I enjoyed it. Thank you.
Lynda Schultz 02/11/11
I absolutely LOVE this story—top-notch writing in my book.
Virgil Youngblood 02/11/11
A captivating read. Well done.
Bonnie Bowden02/12/11
I am also a big fan of Tasha's stories and illustrations for children's books.
Kimberly Russell02/13/11
I've never heard of Tasha but I really enjoyed this story even BEFORE I found out she was famous. Very well done.
Sunny Loomis 02/16/11
Very nicely done. I could picture the scene. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/17/11
Congratulations for placing 10th in Masters and 13th overall!