This time of year is perfect for curling up and reading nature stories. There are 120 books on the Nature Book Club big list at the moment, and it’s growing more each week.
However, as it’s Folklore Thursday, I’m sharing a simple story today, should you have a child to babysit. It’s based on my baby oak, which is battling valiantly through the cold weather.
Once upon a time, before you were born, there was a tree. It was a small tree. Some would call it a twig. But the tree grew more every day.
The tree was troubled by rabbits. They built burrows near its roots. The tree was troubled by deer. They nibbled its bark. The tree was troubled by autumn. Feeling its leaves fall for the first time was scary. What if they never grew back?
But they did grow back. Year after year after year. Soon (in tree years) it was big enough to grow acorns. The squirrels were happy – but they didn’t eat ALL of the acorns.
As its branches grew, insects decided to call the tree home. Then came a bird. Its nest was filled with baby birds by spring. The tree didn’t mind. The bird made it less lonely.
So did the mushrooms. They shared the tree’s stores with other trees.
The tree collected stories from the people and animals it saw. Moss covered the tree’s roots when the weather grew cold. Every year it grew taller.
The lightening strike hurt but it kept growing. The drought was annoying but the tree survived. The floods were uncomfortable but they passed. People sometimes carved their initials in its bark but still the tree grew.
Then one day it was tired of growing. It decided to do something different. And so it started shrinking. Year after year it grew smaller. But it still collected stories.
100 years had passed since it was a sapling. The world was different. Its friends were vanishing. There were fewer insects. There were fewer birds.
The mushrooms told the tree it was the same everywhere. The tree kept shrinking…. And shrinking… And the people decided it was dangerous. They chopped it down.
A carpenter turned the tree into a table. A camper used it to build a fire. A woodcarver turned it into a spoon. A baker used it to fuel his oven. A builder used it to make the frame for her house. A father made a toy for his little boy.
And in the woods, an acorn started to grow.
Soon it burst through the soil and became a tree.
Some would call it a twig but the tree grew more every day…