Volume 8, Number 41, 2005

A Walk In The Woods
By Hannah Clifford

“Crack.” The twig snapped beneath my foot. The sound rang out through out the woods. The only other sound I heard was Roxy, my golden retriever, feet trotting behind me. Mother said to be back by dark and to stay on the main path. So far I’ve followed all the rules. Roxy stopped in her tracks and pricked her ears up toward the tree line. I saw movement. My mom’s voice echoed in my head, “Sarah Lee, stay on the path....” I kept walking and whistled Roxy over. As we continued, the autumn leaves crunched beneath our feet. I heard something that sounded like a drum roll and a partridge rose into the air. It must have heard us coming. I was hoping that was the movement I saw. I looked up and watched it fly away and noticed the sky darkening rapidly, a storm was brewing. I realized I had to take cover, but I didn’t know the woods as well as the path. I scrambled up the hill in front of me. Roxy was running beside me. I fell in an old abandoned fox den hidden in the grasses. I rolled out of it but realized I twisted my ankle when I fell. Roxy kept bounding ahead but I couldn’t keep up. We kept going but not nearly as fast. I ignored my mom’s rules and went off the main path to take cover. I found a large rock beneath some cedar trees. I had to rest. My ankle was now throbbing with pain. I heard a loud bang, thunder. Roxy was now shaking. She, like me, was nervous. We continued on, the rain was now pouring, and even with the cover of the trees, we were both getting drenched. Not only was it thundering and pouring rain it was now getting dark. Mom and Dad would start to look for me soon accompanied by our other dog, Max. They would be sure to find us, I hoped.

We pushed our way through the dense underbrush, for maybe only five paces. Roxy and I reached a clearing. Roxy trotted to the other side of the clearing and I followed slowly limping behind. We sat down and leaned up against a huge aspen. The aspen’s branches were bare and boney. All the other trees had leaves to spare. The leaves were creating a canopy protecting us from the rain. They were various colours, from bright red to burnt sienna, and electric orange to the colour of a sunrise. I loved fall. The ground was covered by leaves, which were damp. The damp leaves smelled of mold or something decaying. I could not hear my own thoughts because of the booming thunder overhead. It was getting louder and louder. The storm was upon us.

The fifty-foot aspen with the bare, bony branches was hit. I soon found out the branches were not bare because of fall, the tree was dead. I heard a blood-curdling crack! I, Sarah-Lee Hewett did not want to die at the age of thirteen! The huge tree came crashing down towards us. I scurried out of the way with Roxy following. I was slow because of my ankle. I was stuck! My sweater caught on one of the protruding branches on another tree! I saw the tree come hurtling towards me, then it stopped. I couldn’t believe it! I was alive. Roxy came over, sniffing, whining, desperately signalling me to get out but I couldn’t. Even though I wasn’t hurt, I was trapped. On the way down the tree had brought many smaller trees down with it. I was lodged between the big aspen and two smaller birch trees. I tried to wiggle my way out but I just got more stuck. Hours passed and I was getting cold and it was very dark. I saw a faint glimmer of light in a bush. Then I heard someone cry out, “Sarah, Sarah!” I heard the person cry out my name now closer. It was my Mom. I called out in hopes she would hear me and soon enough she did. My Mom scrambled through the trees and into the clearing. She froze at the sight of me. We were both happy to see each other. My Mom said in a low tone, “What happened?” I explained the whole thing in under a minute. My Mom ran over to me and with my Mom’s help I struggled out of the trees. By this time my Dad and Max were both there. They had attached a search and rescue cart to Max and they pulled me home. I told them every detail of what happened. To this day I don’t go off the trails without an adult.