The natural world often inspires me to write, below is a children's short story I wrote a while ago which I am aiming to get published. I am working on a few others exploring similar themes.

The tree that would not let go of its leaves. oak leaves

Ollie was a young oak tree. He lived in the middle of a big forest with lots of woodland animals and flowers.

Life was good as an oak tree. Until one autumn…

As the sun slowly rose later in the sky and the air began to cool, Ollie noticed that his big green leaves were turning different shades of yellow, red and brown. Ollie felt very happy and he stood tall and proud.

For a few months all the trees in the forest blazed their fiery autumal colours. It was a time of great joy as children ran around laughing and playing and the animals busied themselves collecting food for winter.

But then, as the winds blew stronger from the north, Ollie saw that the trees around him were starting to loose their leaves. At first just the occasional leaf floated to the ground but gradually more and more fell from the trees and turned and tumbled down.

Ollie was very worried by what he saw. He certainly did not want to lose his colourful coat and so he held on tightly to every leaf on every branch. The other trees noticed what was happening and laughed at Ollie. “Oh Ollie,” they said, “you are an oak tree, you have to let go of your leaves.” But Ollie would not let go.

The frosty nights of winter slowly crept in. All the other trees were bare and the forest was quiet. But Ollie held on tighter than ever. By now, news of the tree that would not let go of its leaves had spread far and wide and many people came to gaze and wonder at such a strange sight.

Months passed and the first delicate flowers pushed through the hard earth and whispered of spring. The wind carried a sweet warm scent and the woodland animals began to wake. Ollie still held on but by now his branches bowed low with the strain and his leaves were curled up and rotten.

As he looked around, Ollie noticed that the trees around him were starting to change. On the tips of their bare branches were shiny little buds and from these shiny little buds, tiny green leaves were starting to unfurl, slowly at first but gathering pace as the sun became warmer.

As the trees stirred from their silent sleep they were surprised to see that Ollie still had his old leaves. “Can’t you see that spring is here and now our nature is to grow fresh new leaves to drink in the summer sunshine and grow?” they said.

 “Then when autumn comes we must let go of our leaves in order to nourish the earth and make way for next year’s growth. We do so with joy because we know that we can never truly hold on to anything.” 

Suddenly Ollie understood. In a moment he saw that it was sometimes necessary to let go of something, in order to grow stronger. And with that, he let out a huge sigh of relief so that even the squirrels and rabbits and deer stopped what they were doing and pricked up their ears.

In a big brown cloud Ollie’s leaves tumbled happily to the ground. “Thank you,” cried the bare forest floor beneath Ollie, “in time these leaves will turn into earth and your big roots will absorb their goodness. By letting go you will truly become a wise and mighty tree.”

A murmur spread through the forest as the trees swayed in agreement. And as for Ollie? Well he spread his branches to the sun and stood taller than ever.


© W.Newitt, 2011. Strictly not to be reproduced for any purpose without prior permission.