Autumn

Grade 6

Fort Saskatchewan
Alberta

The Meaning of Home

Hi, my name is Kathy. I live in a forest. I know it might sound crazy to you, but to me, it’s actually quite peaceful. I´m going to tell you the story of how I ended up in a forest, and how I came to live in these conditions.

It was the year 2000, my family and I were going on a camping trip in the mountains. I was super excited. On the way, we drove by this very forest. I remember thinking it was HUGE. It is. That’s why I haven’t found my way out. Anyway, once we got farther up the mountain, it started to get snowy and slippery. My dad lost control and we crashed into a tree.

I flew out of my open window, and tumbled down a hill, my backpack following me. I tried climbing back up, but I had no luck. So I started exploring. I kept walking and walking and walking, until I found a little bunny. He seemed tame like he had been around humans before. The look in his eyes screamed, ‘’Follow me! Follow me!’’ So I followed the little bunny. Soon we reached a beautiful meadow. It was filled with cool grass and soft moss.

I sat there and rested. Around me, there were piles and piles of sticks and logs from the trees surrounding me. I knew I was going to be there for a while, so I got to work. I gathered lots of sticks and stones. I built a shelter good enough for royalty. Ok, maybe not that good, but I was proud of it. Ever since I’ve been finding resources, hunting, and even painting! I find different berries, crush them up, and use that as paint. It’s not perfect, but it works.

Today was a hunting day, so I got my supplies. I got my camping backpack. I carved a spear out of some birch wood that I found so I could go hunting. I usually catch deer, but I get the occasional bird if I´m lucky. I was in the deep thick forest when I spotted a deer in the bushes. I got ready, then I threw the spear in through the air. It hit the deer. ‘’Bullseye!’’ I thought. I dragged it back to my home. Deer are usually good for a few days

I cut it up and then I made a fire with some matches from my backpack. I ate dinner and put the rest of the meat away. After that, I put the fire out and went to sleep. I had a dream about being with my family. About eating a big meal with turkey and potatoes, with pie for dessert. I have the same dream every night.

I had a good night’s sleep, rested for the day ahead of me. I woke up feeling refreshed. I made a fire and had my breakfast. Then I relaxed. I sat down and painted a sunset. Then I heard raspy voices. I went to explore. The voices got louder as I walked deeper into the forest. Finally, I pushed my way through the brush and came face to face with a man.

He had a thick, brown, bushy beard. His eyes were like sparkling diamonds. His face was familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

‘’Kathy?!’’ he screamed. He hugged me so tight I thought my ribs were going to break. At last, I knew who he was.

‘’Bill? What are you doing here?’’ Bill was one of my dad’s best friends.

‘’I was looking for you! When you didn’t come back from your camping trip, I started getting worried. I filed a missing person report. After a while, the police gave up their search. We all did really. But last week I had a dream about finding you. That’s what motivated me to come and search some more.’’

I was overjoyed. I could finally go home and eat big meals and celebrate my birthday and Christmas and other holidays. But then I remembered something else.

“Where are my parents?” I asked.
Bill’s smile turned into a frown, and everything around us turned grim.

“When they lost you they were devastated. They moved away, somewhere in Europe. We haven’t heard from them since.”

I couldn’t believe it. The last time I saw them they were fighting. Bill guided me back to their car. The whole ride back was silent. When we got to Bill’s house, he showed me a bonus room, in which I would be staying in. He made chicken and peas for dinner. It was delicious. Even though I was happy, it felt like something was missing. I loved the food, but I missed the fresh deer. I loved the soft bed, but I missed the soft, cool grass. I loved their dog, but I missed the bunnies and squirrels.

That night I didn’t dream about having a big meal, I dreamt of being back in the forest. I dreamt that I was painting on a huge, smooth stone. It was a picture of the bunny that I met in the forest that led me to the meadow on that day I got lost. When I woke up, I knew what I had to do.

I ate breakfast, which was waffles and bacon. I told Bil what I was going to do. He was confused at first, but after I explained it to him, he understood. Bill gave me some leftovers, and I set out on my journey. I was going back to the forest. I had to. Bill’s house is his home, but it is not mine.

The forest is my home.