Olivia & Claire's story
squirrel, gymnast, sunshine, leaves
Birds started singing as the moon disappeared behind the trees of the forest. Squirrels began coming out of their holes in the trees and stretching their tails up, down, and all around. Their little teeth caught the first peek of the sun as they yawned and started thinking about how they were going to spend their day.
Winter was coming. The leaves still clinging to the trees were bright reds, and yellows. Many had already fallen and were covering the ground in a bright, thick carpet. The squirrels knew their time for collecting nuts was running out and if they didn’t want their bellies to be rumbling and empty before spring they had to stay busy.
Olivia marched to the end of a long branch and flicked her tail at her best friend, who stood at the opening of her den while rubbing at her eyes.
“Time to get moving Claire,” she chattered, her tail still flicking back and forth. “The early bird catches the worm you know.”
Claire shivered, but not from the cool morning air. “I don’t like worms. How late can I sleep and still get nuts.”
The sun climbed higher in the sky. Soon the warm sunshine made everything bright. All of the animals in the forest were out at work or play except for Mr. Owl. He sat on his perch, deep in the branches of a very tall tree. His big eyes were tightly shut against the bright sun and his ear flaps were pinched closed against the noises of the other animals as they scampered, twittered, and barked.
He’d managed to sleep past the other animals’ lunch time. It was quieter while they ate and he had slipped deeper into sleep until suddenly an acorn bounced off the end of his beak. His eyes flipped open. His large wings reached out and flapped as he jumped with surprise.
As he settled back down he saw a reddish brown blur leaping and bouncing from branch to branch, hurrying downwards. Despite the still bright sun, his sharp eyes focused on Olivia as she chased the acorn which had so rudely awakened Mr. Owl. Refolding his wings he chuckled as the young squirrel made a final leap and caught the acorn in her small, sharp teeth. Landing on the next branch she whipped her tail a few times before turning and looking back up the tree.
“I’m sorry Mr. Owl,” a small voice spoke from the branch above and behind the big owl. Turning his head completely around, Mr. Owl looked up at Claire. “Who?” he asked.
“I’m Claire,” she answered.
Mr. Owl relaxed his neck and faced forward again. “And who is that amazing gymnast who just tumbled by in such an impressive hurry?”
“I’m Olivia,” the acrobatic squirrel answered as she landed on a nearby branch and took the acorn out of her mouth. “I’m sorry I woke you but I saw this nut falling and if it had gotten into all the leaves on the ground we’d have never found it.”
Mr. Owl nodded wisely. “No need for apologies my dear. It was worth disturbing my sleep to see the spectacle of your pursuit. I could not have moved as swift and gracefully, and I have wings.” As he finished he stretched his wings which were very large indeed.
The small squirrels’ eyes widened in wonder. They knew that despite his words, Mr. Owl was very swift and graceful when he flew.
“I wish you well with your gathering,” Mr. Owl added, his eyes already closing again. “This bright sun and my late hours are pulling me back toward my dreams. I hope you find many more of your little round edibles.” He smiled and turned his head backwards again as he looked up toward Claire, “And I hope you don’t have to resort to eating any worms.”
Claire’s eyes grew nearly as wide as Mr. Owl’s as Olivia laughed out loud.
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