By Katie Barwise
It was a crisp autumnal morning and all was quiet in the deep, dark forest. Stanley the squirrel was going about his usual day, looking for smooth, shiny acorns, scuttling up and down trees, and rummaging through the dusting of amber leaves, which covered the damp, seasonal soil.

Some trees were bare, the whistling wind had already stripped them naked. To some they looked tall, slim and vulnerable, but not to Stanley, he seen them in a different light, their roots remained deep and grounded, ready to up-stand the weary winter, which Stanley particularly hated, as it always dragged on and on and on…

Stanley sat as still as a statue staring at the trees in awe, he thought to himself, the trees are the noble giants of the forest, keeping a gentle eye on the goings on far below. Reflecting on this, Stanley got a warm, tingling sensation pass from the top of his head, to the tip of his bushy vibrant red tail. He felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards the composed, gentle giants. Not only do they provide him with his food, but also a home too. They were the security blanket of the forest, and although their appearance changed season to season, they always provided shelter and familiarity, something Stanley loved and cherished, almost as much as his love of food. Why hadn’t I thought this before? Pondered Stanley as he continued his morning adventure.

Stanley followed the leaf carpeted path deeper into the forest, the beauty of the forest comforted his pounding heart. He took a deep breath, feeling brave, wearing strength and courage as clothing he continued his journey into the unknown.

He was amazed when he found the most magnificent tree standing alone, beautifully bushy and the most emerald shade of green he had ever seen. It took his breath away.

This tree was different to the others, it opened its big beautiful eyes, sucking Stanley in closer and closer. Stanley remained calm, trusting the tree and allowing himself to be hypnotised by the unknown. In his trance he could feel his body laying still, the crisp leaves providing a comforting blanket against his ruffled fur, the lucid tones of the forest were soothing. All that mattered to Stanley was the security the trusting tree gave him, to him in that moment in time, it was the tree that kept on giving.

Time stood still, Stanley lay feeling grateful to the tree, and yet again he got the warm, fuzzy feeling pass peacefully through his body.

When he felt ready, he slowly opened his eyes to see the tree was no longer there. Stanley stood up quickly and took a step back “was this all just a dream?”