the wind that stole the pretty leaves

The goblin child sat on a tree root and pouted. “That wasn’t very nice!” he shouted at the wind.

The wind whooshed a little.

“It was greedy you know! You stole all of the pretty leaves and now there isn’t any left for anyone else!”

The wind gave a mournful whistle.

“Of course I forgive you.” The goblin child sighed. “But you have to learn to control your temper.”


memories of winter


The temperatures fell and the wind grew harsh. Trees shivered off their leaves, ready for their wintry slumber. Half-waking memories of thick, white blankets settling onto their boughs with a comforting weight returned. With them came dreams of doing things a rooted tree cannot: of traveling, hugging friends, and having dinner parties where the tables overflowed with bowls of liquid sunshine and pools of warmish water lapped at their feet.

the spoils of autumn


The leaf looked around, bewildered. One moment he was wafting on the breeze at the end of his favorite branch, the next he tumbled down into some sort of wet impressionist painting. Sure, he had a few friends with him, but still. He didn’t imagine the painter would be glad to see a bunch of renegade leaves stuck in his painting after it dried. Arms and legs would come in handy at a time like this.

who’s the crabbiest of them all?

Today’s post is an excerpt from my book The Incredibly Truthful Diary of Nature Girl. If you’d like to know more about it, you can click here or here. Enjoy!


I had the whole day to myself so I wandered near and far.  I discovered a gnarled old crab apple tree standing alone in a tiny clearing.  Her boughs were drooping heavily beneath the weight of her fruits, and the sun shone upon her like a halo.  It was all I could do to settle into the wild grasses and write of her.

A glow of happiness hangs about her and the birds have come from near and far to bathe in her ancient wisdom and sample her delicious fare.  She greets them stoically, lilting a little in cool breeze.  Her crab apples are almost ripe and I am tempted to gather a few to make jelly.

“What did you write?” she suddenly hissed as she sent a broken twig whirling at my diary.

I could only look at her aghast.  I should never have written that bit about the jelly.

“I know what it is!  I can hear it humming in the air while your scribble with your girl script.  You wrote me beautiful and kind!”

I nodded silently.

“I am not beautiful and kind!  I am terrible to behold, heartless, and cruel!”

“You don’t want to be beautiful and kind?”

“No,” her ancient boughs tossed about in indignation and perhaps a little bit of wind, sending the birds to wing.  “I must be terrible and vengeful or else these awful birds will eat all the fruit I’ve spent all summer bearing.  Greedy fools!  All they want is my fruit but my seeds need it to grow into good strong trees!  What good do they do me?”

“They do eat your fruit, but when they…um, excrete your seeds are scattered near and far, and many of them fall in excellent places to grow.”


“Well, they don’t eat sunlight like you, but they can’t store everything they’ve ever eaten either – they would explode!  So instead they keep what they need and excrete the rest,” I fumbled to explain.

“That’s disgusting.”

“Perhaps, but it offers as good a growing place as the fruit you’ve made for them, and they can travel within the bird a very long distance before they find the ground again.”

“Harrumph!  And I suppose you think that it’s a good thing that I don’t get to watch them grow, do you?”

“Well, I never thought of it that way,” I conceded.

She grew quiet and distraught.

“Would you like me to write you terrible and ferocious, then?” I asked gently.

“Yes, if you don’t mind.”

The crab apple tree grew into a twisted monstrosity out of the earth.  Her bark was thick and gnarly like something dead and dried up in the sun.  The fruits she offered were as sour and spiteful as humiliation and defeat.  Even the Wind was frightened to tickle her leaves, so they, too, grew bitter and lifeless in their stillness.  Sun-worshipping clouds shielded the sun from her ugliness day after day for fear that the sight of her would pain that glowing orb of life.

Only the most foolish of birds or deer would dare to eat her vengeful fruits, for as soon as they were in their gullets, the fruit would twist the stomach into terrible cramps of agony.  Not until the animal wished for death would they be well again.

Her early flowers were not the gay blossoms of spring, but rather a veil of tears from a funeral; full of the essence of despair.  In autumn her leaves did not turn into beautiful crimsons or yellows, but merely crumbled into ashy dust in the absence of the Wind.  A clearing lay about her in the forest, for no tree could find any peace as her neighbour and the forest itself drew back in horror of what they had discovered in her heart.  She threatened them with fire if their boughs got too close, and poisoned the soil for their offspring.  The whole of the forest was frightened of her, and no living creature ventured near.

“Is that better?” I asked her.

“Muchly, now be off with you before that song in your heart brings the chickadees along.”

The crabby apple now satisfied, I picked up my diary, but not before a sparrow lit upon her branches and helped himself to her fruit.  I could hear her grumbling long after she was out of sight, and I tried very hard not to smile.


just a quick winter’s nap


Summer left them ragged, tattered, and tired. A flush crept into their cheeks, their eyelids growing bothersome and heavy. “It isn’t anything personal,” they say, their mumbles descending into snores, “a quick winter’s nap and I’ll be good as new.”

The rest of us smile and prepare for our leafless, snowy futures with mugs of hot drinks, stacks of worthy books, woolly mittens, and fuzzy slippers, knowing as we do a winter’s nap is anything but quick.

just an old worker bee


Frederik sensed the seasons changing. He knew he didn’t have much longer before the frosts came and the cooler temperatures brought an end to his life. If he found himself a new hive in time he might stand a chance, but he would have to leave his best friend.

The same best friend who offered him the shelter of her petals when his old hive cast him out. He was just another worker bee who got too old and too slow. The flower didn’t think so. She loved him, and she appreciated all the pollen he’d brought her over the summer. He didn’t know it, but she had saved her sweetest nectar for his daily visits.

She didn’t have much more than a month to go herself before the winter took over and scattered her seeds to the wind. He hugged her close. He would never leave.

a squish of rotten apples


It isn’t easy being an apple, employed again and again as a deliverer of fairy tale poison, forbidden fruit, pressed into ciderhood, and baked alive inside a pie. Yet in the first fine summer of innocence, growing content upon a loving mother tree, there is no better life than that of an apple. Born from a flower into a cloud of buzzing bees, growing in the heat of a hot summer sun, ripening to cool autumn kisses, oh, there is a reason they taste so sweet.

Wait, no, that one’s tart! So tart!

“That’s right, you monster! Stay away from my babies!” said the apple tree, pelting down a rain of bruising fruit.

I tried to run but I slipped in a squish of rotten fruit, smearing myself with startled worms and brownish goop. I won’t soon forget the sound of her laughter as it shredded the last of my dignity.

the return of the autumn monster


The autumn monster has awoken. Hungry after three long seasons of hibernation, she stretches and gets to work without delay. First, she chooses a maple, her favorite, to begin, and puts her lips to the bottom of a leaf where it meets the stem. She takes one last look around to make sure no one is watching and – she sucks out all the green. SLURP!