Basket Ritual

The woods are sort of creepy in the fading daylight, but I try not to let the fear win as I make my way through the trees. With my basket of breads and baked strudel, I pushed aside a drooping tree branch. It snapped back behind me, making a soft slapping sound against the tree truck behind it. I soon realized that I strayed a bit too far from the path when looking for berries to add to my basket on the way home, but there appeared to be no way back to it. The trees turned into a forever winding, twisting, turning labyrinth that whispered for me to find the middle. My thin Converse hated being off the little paved path my dad told me to keep to. I never listened to him, and I was regretting it. With the setting sun came the chilling breeze of shadow creeping through my jacket. Shivering, I used my free hand to put up my hood and then zip up my hoodie.

It had been 3 years since mom passed away, but every few months, I was sent to go to her little house in the woods. My ritual was to bring my basket to her place and cook for her. I cleaned the house, which included more dusting than anything, baked for her, and left some bread and strudel on the fireplace mantle. After kissing her picture next to her offering, I headed home with the baked goods she wanted me to take. But this time, I was lost.

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