“Oak, Oak, come home; please come home!” Oak heard her mother’s frantic cry for her, but she was falling so quickly it was all she could do to breathe. For that matter, it was all she could do to really hear her mother’s words, for the chimes, mixed with the thunder were sounding like a giant was stomping and with every stomp, the Earth shook and at the same time it sounded like massive windows of heavy glass were being blown out into a million pieces by an iron ball being directed by a madman driving a crane. Rather than trying to listen to everything, Oak open her eyes in an effort to see if there was something she could grab onto as she was falling. She kept trying to concentrate on not being afraid and to try to figure out what was going on and where she was falling. She thought it was a good thing that she had her pajamas on, rather than a nightgown; but then…maybe not. Perhaps the nightgown would actually have been like a parachute and slow the fall down a little; just a little. Oak started looking at her whereabouts, to try to identify landmarks, like you learn in Brownies. She remembered her leader saying, “When you’re on a trail, always look for things that will stick in your mind so if you get lost, you can maybe backtrack and find your way out”. She was doing that. A birdhouse was on the right. It was painted purple, pink, yellow and white. “I have to remember this birdhouse,” Oak said to herself. “I can do this.” But before she knew it, she passed the same birdhouse again. Or was it? All of a sudden, there were so many birdhouses of all different colors that she became confused. Shutting her eyes tightly, then reopening them did not help.
Then, Oak seemed to feel like she was no longer falling, but was jumping! This was so strange. She could not stop jumping, but as she was, Oak realized something. All this time, she had not been falling down; she was falling up! Up? Can you fall up? “Oh my,” was all Oak could say as she was jumping. Every jump seemed higher than the other or the one before it. Oak was really good at jumping rope; she never ever missed a beat. But now, Oak felt sick to her stomach…really sick. That’s when it happened.
A breeze seemed to be lifting her gingerly up and out of whatever it was that she had been in. It wasn’t a hole; it wasn’t a cup and it sure wasn’t a river, for she wasn’t wet! This breeze made her feel better. Oak was able to get her wits gathered. I mean, for a ten year old girl, the gathering of wits was a feat, but then Oak never backed down from achieving a goal or completing a task. Now I know this all sounds a bit odd. Well, of course it does. Here this little girl encountered a fairy, tons of wild wind chimes, thunder out of nowhere, falling down or falling up and now riding on a breeze. There are more odd things in this world than that.
Oops! Oak fell! Not far, but enough to shake her up a little. Looking up, she saw the breeze had been distracted by a pretty little blue cloud and it decided to head over that way. “This is so strange,” Oak muttered to herself, as she stood up and brushed off her pajamas and set them straight. “What’s strange?” Oak stopped and looked around for the person who said that. There was no one. “Yikes, I must be so tired. I’m hungry too and now I’m hearing things” Oak thought. “Hello? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you answer?” Oak quickly scanned where she was. It was only now that she realized the breeze had brought her to a sweet little garden; not too big and not too little. It had a cedar tree in the back, pretty purple flowers, and all sorts of plants and such.
Do you ever get the feeling that someone is looking at you? Well, as Oak was looking around this garden, she suddenly felt someone’s eyes on her. Oh, it was strange. She slowly turned around, but no one was there! There was only a little spider hanging from a branch of the cedar tree. Oak generally didn’t care for spiders, but this one was different. It had clothes on or at least it looked like that. She got a little closer and then the spider yelled, “Are you deaf?” Startled, Oak jumped back. She said nothing, just stared and stared. The spider was a creature of action. It sort of pulled itself up by its belt – yes, that’s right, its belt. It then jumped on a silver strand of its web and the strand began swinging. It went back and forth and on one of its forths, the spider leapt onto a leaf very close to Oak. It was pretty obvious the spider was a boy because of his belt, his jeans and his boots. He also had a shirt on with the buttons on the side of the shirt, you know, like boys. I have to add that jeans for spiders are, well, multi-legged. Oak just stared at him and he stared right back at her with 23 eyes! In the background, Oak heard her mother calling for her again. This time it sounded like her mother was crying. Oak felt so sad and the spider could see this.
“Who is that calling” Is it your mother?” By this time, reality set in and Oak realized that she was far far away from home and her mother; she was so lonely and scared. Nodding, Oak began to cry. This made the spider feel badly and he sat down on the leaf. “I’m Sam Spider, Jr.” Sam put out two of his arms to shake her hand, but then decided against it, knowing she was already distraught. She looked up and Sam winked at her. Although Sam had 23 eyes, he was very coordinated and winked with 17 of them. “Oh”, said Oak. “That’s really neat!” “Aw.” Sam said as he bashfully looked down – well, 12 of his eyes looked down, the others crossed. “Sam, I miss my mother. I miss her so much. I worry about her too. She must think something horrible happened to me.” Sam cocked his head and said, “No, Oak. Believe me, she has a good idea where you are. That’s not to say she’s not worried, for she knows what a strange land this place is.” Just as he finished is, a giant mushroom suddenly appeared right next to Oak. It was giant, as I said, and was brown and purple. It smiled too! Actually it grinned at both Sam and Oak. This was all so odd; so very odd for Oak. She began to feel lightheaded and woozy again. Oak thought she might fall against the Mushroom because the garden began moving – not spinning, just moving. The flowers were walking, the trees were swaying and the grass began moving, much like a river.
Within a moment of a dream, it was dark! Oak found herself in a swing in the garden and Sam and the Mushroom were nowhere to be found. She began to feel sad and scared and went to slow the swing down, but it kept lazily swinging – back and forth and back and forth. Actually the swinging made her feel better. The moon was so big! It was huge and the clouds were almost dancing in the sky. Lightning bugs were darting here and there and she could hear tree frogs chirping. Oh, she loved tree frogs. So did her mother. From the time Oak was a little girl, her mother taught her that frogs, especially tree frogs, could be her best friends. She would say, “Oak, if it storms really badly and you’re frightened by the thunder, just listen for the tree frogs to start singing; for they sing a lullaby to the thunder, which helps to calm and quiet it down. Also, if there should be a flood, tree frogs are famous for helping little girls and boys climb trees to get away from the flood waters.” Oak would listen to her mother for hours and hours talk about nature and all the wonderful things that most people don’t even know about or see.
Just thinking about her mother’s stories made her feel so much better. Oak leaned back on the swing to look straight up at that full moon. It’s here that Oak’s story begins to reveal a secret. (to be continued)