By Kaye Clyne

One early spring morning, mist consumed the air. As the sun rose over the landscape, sunlight poured over the hills and valleys which gave life to the forest creatures below. There within the illuminated forest hid in a burrow lay Merton the wood mouse. Merton lay dormant concealed from his predators that trod the world above.

Within his burrow Merton remained, consumed with fear of the potential perils that lay ahead. With every bellowing passing above his burrow heightened Merton’s trepidation. There he lay.

As the sunlight slipped away Merton allowed himself to dream. He dreamt of the times that he had before where food was plentiful and the gentle summers breeze cascaded through his fur to the tip of his tail. The earth was soft and warm underneath his paws. He recalls the birds rejoicing in song & the calming tones of the passing river in the mid-summer forest.

Days & days passed by while Merton remained in his solitude. As hunger grew Merton began to look ahead. Startled by his change of heart and noticing his fear turning into possibility.

Beginning with one stretch of a leg, then another and another and another, Merton began to crumble the earth around him, breaking not only physical barriers but embracing his true potential of the life he longed for. As the earth began to shift, the ever longed for sunlight began to pierce through the rumble.

Merton begins to move, although pauses and holds his stance in the moment. The reigns of fear pulling him to remain. Merton had a choice turning back to his burrow, tempted by the security if offered. Yet Merton pushed forward and more determined than ever before.

As adrenalin coursed through his veins with every step he took fear was close behind as he prepared himself to meet the certain dangers that lay ahead. As the darkness got smaller & smaller the brightness grew bigger and bigger until bright day break saturated his surroundings. Merton hesitated at the edge of his burrow, he looked out into the forest and the beauty in front of him. The fresh green grass swaying in the breeze, the plethora of colour and flowers dancing around him. Merton gazed at the tree tops imagining them reaching the stars in the vast night sky.

Bringing his view back to eye level he noticed another creature holding his gaze. Merton felt the tug to retract back into his burrow until Fergus the fox bowed his head ensuring Merton he meant no harm. Fergus gave a wry smile and said ‘welcome back’ before swiftly turning and continuing into the forest.

Merton filled his lungs with cold fresh air before coming across a fresh sycamore seed at his paws.