Twigs snapped and fallen leaves crackled underfoot, breaking the
stillness of the forest. Two children emerged into a clearing, a boy
about thirteen years old and a slightly younger girl. It wouldn't
take a second look to see they were brother and sister; the family
resemblance was striking.
The late-summer day was warm and the sun shone brightly in the
clearing. The children squinted after leaving the forest's cool
darkness. They saw butterflies fluttering over the tall grass, happy
in the sunshine; they saw a huge tree in the center of the clearing.
Its limbs were twisted and gnarled with age; its bark was rough,
cracked, and scarred.
The girl reached the great tree's shade and flopped down on theground. "I'm tired, Jeremy," she said.
"Aw, Alicia," her brother replied, "we just passed the three milemarker and already you're beat." "You're older than me", she retorted, "and your legs are stronger. I want to rest." "OK, Alicia," he said, "but just for a bit. Aunt Clara said if we climb to the top of the hill by the lake, we can see the woods
stretch on for miles, as far as the eye can see. I want to get there
before it gets too late; we have to be back before dark."
For many people a big forest is no big deal, but Jeremy and Alicia
were city children. Back home the largest stretch of trees was in
the city park, and from a tall building the park looked like a
postage stamp. The park had neat little trees in orderly rows,
nothing like the vast woods the children saw now. Here you could
get lost. This was a forest Davy Crockett might explore, a forest to
shelter an Indian nation. These trees were wild...so begins the Woodland Spirits story accompanying this pattern set.