Tiny closed her eyes, and sniffed at the honey-apple breeze that swirled through the village of Treetops. Her heart-bird gave a happy sigh. Fall was her favourite season—aside from winter, summer, and spring.
“Woohoo! Good morning Tiny!” boomed Mother-the-Sun from above. Her voice was deeper than that of her sister, Mother-the-Moon, but they shared the same mischievous smile.
But as Tiny opened her mouth to speak, a spiteful wind whipped under her skirt. It scratched at her legs and nipped at her neck. “Ooooh!” winced Tiny with a shiver, “that’s not very nice!”
“Don’t mind him,” chortled Mother-the-Sun, “it’s just the wind of change. Better prepare yourself, the season is shifting!”
Tiny’s face collapsed into a frown. “Oh, I do love the fall, I really do. But I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer!” She looked to the ground. A scarlet leaf danced around her feet. “I haven’t spent nearly enough time with Rocio and her Monarch family, and Woodmint hasn’t finished building his badger sett,” she said, her lip quivering.
Mother-the-Sun’s fiery eyes softened, her voice like warm caramel. “Love all that surrounds you, Tiny, for it will go too soon. . .”
Tiny nodded, and looked up to see Mother-the-Sun drift toward the horizon. Amid the lengthening shadows, a patch of glorious sunflowers swayed together.
If only I could take one home, thought Tiny, I could keep a piece of summer with me forever!
She scrambled up a thick bristly stalk, and teetered on a leaf. The sunflower grinned and gave her a wink. Tiny felt a stab of guilt in her throat. If she took the sunflower home, who would wave at Madame Orly tomorrow morning? And what would Constance Goldfinch have to nibble on?
Tiny stroked the bright petals, blinked twice, and took a picture for her box of memories. “Thank you, sweet flower of the sun,” she whispered, kissing its brown knubbly face.
She slid down the stalk and landed on the moist soil. Her hands were empty, but her heart was full—with a memory that would keep her warm all winter long.