Denton Writes 2012 Winner Youth Fiction; Victoria Langham

 

The Map to the Magical Forest

by Victoria Langham

 

I walk out from a trail that is etched in moss and vegetation. The moss is thick and mysterious. As I survey my surroundings, I take in the crisp air of untouched nature.

The thin, moss-covered trees rustle in the wind eager to gossip about the visitor.

A small stream calmly runs past me. The sun comes out of hiding to show off her garden for the explorer. The flowers have bloomed, and the animals are peaceful. I hear the soft whooping call of a spotted owl.

 

As I cautiously make my way among the brush and foliage, I see two shiny black eyes staring at me. “Whoop, Whoo?” The little owl blinks and ruffles its feathers.

I gazed at it in astonishment. The little owl lifts off and begins to ascend through the forest calling gently as if to say, “Follow me!”

 

A few minutes later, I found myself racing through the thick forest following the queer owl. “Whoop Whoop WH-Hoo,” the little owl screeched as he soared through the air. Suddenly, he lands and begins to waddle along the trail that leisurely wends through the thick forest. The mossy undergrowth is becoming more prominent and thicker as we travel deep into the forest. A little waterfall trickles sluggishly; down, down, plink, plink, swish. I scan the area for the little owl. I found him looking at me. He whooped softly and turned his head as if to say, “Magnificent isn’t it!”

 

My trip continues through the maze of flora and vegetation. All the while, I cannot believe this journey is taking place. The little owl, acting as my guide, swoops through the thick growth. The trees tower above me like sleeping giants. Plants and vines entangle them. The orchestra of plants below is composed mostly of small pines, ferns, and various fruits and flowered verdure. If you concentrate, you can hear the bees and humming birds whispering excitedly, “Look at the courageous explorer!” as I pass by. The forest seems to be ecstatic about a visitor, which I must be their first in a while.

 

The deer and birds crane their necks for a glimpse of me. They act like I am their new king. I shrugged and continued to follow the owl through the forest. How did I get here?

I wondered in my mind. How exactly you wonder? I can tell you how. Books are the map to one’s imagination. To follow that map, all one has to do is read, and one’s magical journey begins.

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