There was a girl who went out picking flowers and raspberries and blueberries all day long. She carried a small metal pail. She was eight years old, old enough to know better and young enough to be a little girl about everything.
One day, as she grabbed her metal pail, her mother said to her, “Have fun!” And the girl smiled and waved. She skipped down the long gritty pebbled path in front of her house, and started walking slowly as she got to the woods. She made a whisper sound to herself, putting her finger over her lips, “Shhh.” She always told herself to quiet down as she was entering the woods. There were so many secrets in the woods that you could only see and hear if you yourself were not seen and not heard!
|There was the thistle and the moss. There were the puddles and the ladybugs.
The little girl walked slowly and sometimes just stood waiting for nature to move all around her.
Sometimes she saw rabbits hopping. Many times, she saw chipmunks and squirrels. In the spring, she had seens a whole duck family by the river. Her mother told her that other people had seen bears and wolves in the woods. The little girl had once seen a pretty, pretty fox.
Most days, after she watched and looked, the girl always went to her main raspberry bushes and ate enough berries to have red, red lips, and after that, she usually got tired, and went to lie down in the sun.
This day, after she had stood still and had looked around, she went to her main raspberry bush and ate the raspberries. She was walking to the sunny clearing when she saw a beautiful flower. She stopped completely. Then she took a step closer. It was a soft-petaled flower. And the petals changed from an inner pink to an outer white layer. She stood and looked and looked at it.
“Hello,” said the flower.
“What?!” said the girl, taking a few steps back, looking around her in the woods.
“Hello,” said the flower again.
“Is that you, beautiful flower?” asked the girl bending down.
“Yes, I am a camellia.”
“You are a wonderful camellia,” said the girl, “I wish I were a beautiful colorful flower like you!”
“Shh, shh,” said the pink camelia, “You don’t wish you were a flower like me! In the woods, what we wish is what happens.”
“I don’t care, I don’t care,” the girl’s voice fluttered, “I want to be a flower.”
“And anyway,” said the pink camelia in a slightly haughty voice, “I don’t know that you would be a camellia. A camellia is a very special kind of flower. I was most pleased to be given the camellia.”
“Given?” asked the girl.
“Why, yes, given. I used to be an owl. I used to sit on the thick, thick branch of the third tree in the woods, and I used to give advice-vice-vice to everyone. But this was before you were a little girl, I presume.”
“–What is presume?”
“To presume is think you know, to have an opinion, to have an image about how things happened.”
“And what is your image?”
“My image is that you are a very questioning little girl, and that you may want to go pick some more raspberries and blueberries.”
“Oh no,” said the girl, “I like speaking with you. You told me the word presume and you told me about becoming a beautiful flower. How did you beome a flower?”
“It was after a long happy life as an owl that one day I flew over the flowers, and said that I want to be a flower, peaceful in the sun, closing its leaves every night, and waking up with the dew every morning. I wanted that calm.”
“And what happened?” asked the girl.
“I told the flowers many times that I wanted to be a flower, and I became a flower.”
“You became a flower?”
“Yes, I became a flower.”
“You mean if I say it many times, then I might become a flower?” asked the girl.
“From a girl to a flower. I told you wishes come true in the woods.”
“Well, do I want to be a flower?”
“Oh, I like this life.”
“Well, then, I shall! I wish–”
“Wait! Wait!” cried the camellia. “Are you sure? Because then you won’t be a girl anymore. And you won’t go home to your mother and father.”
“Oh, I would want to go home.”
“And there are many dangers in being a flower… some little girl can come by and pick you,” and the camellia looked sad to relay this to the girl. “You might not get enough sun or enough water and then it would be hard to be a strong, healthy flower.”
“I guess maybe I won’t be a flower today then,” said the girl. “Thank you, camellia flower. I like talking with you.”
And then the girl turned to softly leave the woods, when what should she see standing behind a tree trunk?! A wolf! A wolf with a soft rumble in his throat and sharp eyes focused on the girl. And he took a step towards her.
She took a surprised step back.
He took another two wolf-steps toward her.
She jumped back and jumped back again.
He took another step, and the little girl turned, and started running!
He pounced after her, and overtook her, then stopped, and drooled and growled loudly. He moved towards her slowly, seemily cautiously, growing a little and a little more. Then he grabbed the hem of her dress and pulled a piece off.
She ran! She ran and ran and he was right behind her, and the little girl yelled again and again, “I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. I wish I were a flower. ”
And she turned into a flower.
A bright orange zinnia.
And the wolf smelled around the area, made a gigantic woods-wide growl of pain and disappointment. He hit his paw against the ground again and again. And he turned around and left.
And then the zinnia girl-flower thought to herself, “What do I do now?”
(to be continued here in the second part…)