[image description: Smiling Black girl in stands outside on a sunny day. An Oread? a Dryad? In any case, she has bright green foliage where humans would have hair – and it’s been fashioned into the shape of a rubber duck. A leaf pattern winds around the neck of her tunic. Text reads, “112, Laurel Bay, the Small God of Topiary”]
• • • • •
Her portfolio serves no purpose beyond making people smile, and she’s perfectly content with that. Let other gods control fate, or time, or love, or war, even down to its smallest attributes; she will conjure the laughter of children and the delight of lovers, the joy of gardeners and yes, even the fear of those whose automatonophobia has been stirred to terrible heights by unkind horror movies. She delights in them all, for she is a joyful god, and she sees no reason to be anything other than who she is.
Sculpt a rabbit or a robot, and she’ll be standing gladly by your side, clapping her hands and exalting in your skill. She has inspired her own Pygmalions, although she lacks the gifts of Aphrodite, to bring their glorious creations further into life than the green growth of their limbs, the healthy splendor of their branches. She can inspire life. She can shape life. She can encourage life. She cannot give it, much as she might wish she could.
But she can, upon occasion, move it from one place unto another. The starving child whose family has been lost to the wilds may find themselves reborn in growth and glory; the beloved dog whose people bring them beneath the branches to soothe their passing may find that they have not gone, simply relocated. And Laurel finds her own joy in tears, on those occasions, in the pain she cannot prevent but can at least reduce a bit as the future moves forward, and carries, as always, a bright new spring.
For that is the one truth she carries above all others: that always, no matter what else happens, there will be another spring, and as long as the green endures, she will be there with it, glorying in the growth of that which lives for joy.
• • • • •
Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world: