I wandered down the meandering forest path, hoping that I might meet Oakryn on this fine autumn morning.

The trees were ablaze with colour—bronze, ochre, copper and vermillion. Only the oak trees remained stubbornly green, though their leaves were browning around the edges. The fallen leaves crunched as I trampled them underfoot. Branches were laden with food for the forest creatures. Acorns, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pine seeds and horse chestnuts were abundant. Squirrels scurried through the undergrowth and scrambled up the trees to collect food, burying it in their own secret places for their winter stores. A red squirrel, perched on an elephant foot fungi, chittered its annoyance as I passed.

I stooped to examine some other fungi, making a quick sketch, and picked up a particularly large conker, remembering the games I used to play in the schoolyard.

I tipped my top hat back into position, moved some dry brown bracken away from my path with my stick and continued my stroll, quite lost in thought, until I felt a light tap on my shoulder and turned to find Oakryn, my beloved Dryad. She stood up on her tiptoes—as usual her feet were bare—to receive my kiss.

“My Karl,” she said; a greeting that was now familiar to me. I didn’t mind her possessiveness. The rolling ‘r’ in my name was ever enchanting, and being loved by this beautiful, wild creature made me feel special beyond reckoning. “I take you; meet Mother.” She stumbled a little over the words.

I was startled by this, but didn’t object as she towed me deeper into the forest.

Eventually we reached a clearing, at its centre a mighty oak, its trunk as thick as twenty men and branches so long and heavy that they almost brushed the ground.

Oakryn pulled me to the tree. “This Mother,” she said, placing my hand against the trunk.

I was startled to feel the warmth and love emanating from within. Tears welling in my eyes I took Oakryn’s hand and she placed her free hand against ‘Mother’.

At that moment I felt complete.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
9 months ago

Love your descriptions of the forest and grateful for a happy ending. Good idea to make the dryad stumble over the English language; it was more realistic.

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
9 months ago

Oh, such a lovely description of the deep forest. I could smell the early leaf mould and the crisp pungency of the fungi and wanted to gather nuts (except conkers or acorns, of course) for a giant autumn cake with cloves and cinnamon. When I lived on the Isle of Wight we had red squirrels in the garden and adjacent woods and their coloration rendered them almost invisible in autumn if they… Read more »

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
9 months ago

Your love of nature and wild life shines through in this story, Carrie. I love trees. There was a beautiful cedar tree close to my back garden where I used to live. I never tired of just looking at it. I’m really enjoying your Oakryn stories and from the way you described that tree, I could just feel the love inside it. Beautiful writing.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
9 months ago

Suddenly it’s autumn! What a lovely description. I could almost smell the mushrooms… I almost didn’t take any notice of the love story as I was so immersed in the colours and feeling of autumn. Thank you, Carrie.

Bella Minyo
Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
9 months ago

A truly enjoyable tale of two lovers learning and accepting each other for who they are and their differences. You did a wonderful job writing, as always, Carrie.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
9 months ago

A nature lover here. Your story speaks directly to me, Carrie, because I live in a forest area. I can relate from the last line, “……. I felt complete.” It’s true. I also feel complete when I am in nature. The breeze of the air is cold, and the surrounding is peaceful. Well done for another great story.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Carrie OLeary
9 months ago

You’re always welcome, Carrie. Yes. I agree.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
8 months ago

So different from our forests here in Australia, Carrie, but from your description this is exactly as I imagined they are in the Northern Hemisphere. Beautiful. I hope I get the chance to experience one in the future. A lovely story with a very satisfying ending. Well done!

allinonefitness steven jenkins
allinonefitness steven jenkins(@allinonefitness-steven-jenkins)
8 months ago

An excellent story, Carrie  ? 

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
7 months ago

Congratulations, Carrie. So proud of you.

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