(Originally written: December 13, 2019)

The Forest had been under the Night for long enough. Its luscious greenery was striking in the dark, hinting at the life that the Night was concealing. Through the spots in the canopy the Moon’s light managed to shine through, the life glowed with pride. 

Yara put on her cloak with the hood pulled over her red hair, grabbed her staff of pine, hung her basket on her elbow, and set out into the Forest. Her pale, bare feet played in the moist soil of the Forest floor as she walked, occasionally stepping on a fallen leaf but never stepping on a flower. Whenever she spotted a fruit, she’d hold a hand out to see if it would call to her. If it did, she’d feel a tug on her wrist and she’d pick it up to put into her basket. If she felt nothing but the chill on her skin, she’d continue her walk. Fruits that didn’t call to her were meant for the Forest and she did not take what wasn’t hers. The ignorant called this Yara’s Forest. The wise called her The Forest’s Yara. 

She came to the River in which the Day had gone to slumber. The clear, dark water flowed quietly over the stony riverbed so that it would not awaken its occupant. Yara set her basket full of fruit on a boulder and sat by the River, taking care to not let even her toes touch the water. She spoke the Day’s True Name. Nothing. Not even an increase in the River’s speed. She smiled. No one liked sleeping more than the Day. She waited a moment, then spoke the Day’s True Name once again. This time, she knew the Day had heard. The River began to make itself known, a soft rippling sound filling the cold air of the Forest. 

She gripped her staff of pine at its base and slowly pushed the other end into the River. The River began flowing faster but it did not get any louder, wanting to keep peace in the Forest. Yara’s staff began to grow warmer. When it became uncomfortable, she pulled the staff out. The Day blazed at her in greeting, sitting smugly at the top of her staff. She returned the greeting with a laugh before raising her staff. The Day took a moment to stretch then flew into the Forest. 

It greeted the trees, the bushes, the vines, the flowers, the fruits, the animals, and lastly the soil. Then it soared straight up through the canopy, apologizing to the trees for pushing their branches aside. The Forest erupted into light and was finally able to revel in the life it had come into through the long Night. Dewdrops were glistening, more flowers were blooming, and trees were stretching their branches farther. Animals called out to still hibernating friends so that they could feast upon the fruit awaiting them on the Forest’s floor. 

The Night slowly came to a rest on Yara’s staff. She addressed the Night by its True Name and bowed her head. The Night returned the gesture but did not speak her True Name. The Night did not know it. Nor did the Day. Only the Forest knew Yara’s True Name. 

Yara pushed her staff into the River so that the Night could sleep. The River once again grew mute. Yara picked up her basket, said thank you to the River, and returned to her cave. 

The lands surrounding the Forest celebrated the arrival of the Day with hours upon hours of festivites. As always, they placed a sack of harvested grains at the Forest’s border so that Yara would know she was invited. As always, Yara accepted the gift but remained away. She could hear the music and laughter just fine. For Yara that was enough.