The following is an excerpt from a book that Lindsay wrote in 5th grade at West Woodland Elementary school as part of the Writers in The Schools (WITS) program. She presented this version as one of 27 students selected from across the school district (only 5 were from elementary school) at Beneroya Hall on May 22nd.
A Journey Through Hibernation by Lindsay C. Fasser
Tessa the chipmunk bounded across the forest floor in search of food. It was late fall, and a cold breeze rippled through her fur, but she would not stop no matter what. Hibernation time was creeping nearer and she wanted to be prepared. Last winter was not pleasant, and Tessa didn’t want to relive her discomfort again.
A large oak tree came into view, and Tessa scurried into a small opening at its base. She ate most of her collected nuts and seeds, and then, feeling full and content, began to doze off.
About 2 weeks into hibernation, a great storm pounded the forest to its roots. Tessa’s tree wobbled and leaned, then with one last groan toppled to the ground. The startled Tessa peeked out of her uprooted tree to find that her view of the forest was upside down. Her den was out of order, and her ankle was twisted.
The rain turned to hail, then snow. Finally the clouds performance ceased. Tessa stepped cautiously out of her den to examine her surroundings. A vast white landscape stretched out in front of her, as she hobbled across the desolate landscape.
A shiver creped down Tessa’s spine as she herd a low growl come from somewhere deep inside the forest. Frightened, Tessa unfolded her poofy tail to its full length, and ran as fast as her little legs would carry her. Suddenly a loud pounding noise sounded behind her, and she recognized those heavy steps. They belonged to a bobcat!
Tessa headed into the ferns to examine her ankle. It had been injured when her tree fell over. A faint trickle of blood oozed from beneath her leaf colored pelt.
An earsplitting yowl rang a few yards behind Tessa, and she realized that the bobcat was near the ferns. The yowl sounded angry. Tessa didn’t move. Her trail of blood must have ended where the bobcat was now. A huff of anguish sounded, closer to the ferns then the yowl, as the large cat slowly trotted away. Tessa heaved a great sigh of relief, and began to vigorously lick her wound.
The sky began to change to a lovely orange as the sun went down, but that was instantly covered by a thick layer of cloud. Another snow was on the way. Tessa would have to find shelter or die. Sadly shelter was nowhere close.
As Tessa peered out of the ferns, she saw a tree in the distance that she recognized. As she scampered towards it, the bare branches towered over her head in a menacing way. While she searched for something to keep her warm, and safe while it snowed, she tripped and fell into complete darkness.
Tessa found that she was in an abandon mole den. Perfect! Although it seemed as if nobody has been in it for years, she was glad to have found something close to a chipmunk den. The den seemed nice and snug, so Tessa lied down, and was asleep within moments.
Tessa awoke with a cold sweat. She had herd a scary sound coming from inside the mole den.
Tessa jumped. She was wide awake now, and peering around the den. Nothing was there. The rumbling grew louder. She looked down. Sure enough, it was her stomach that was growling. But, where was she going to find food? Just then an idea popped into her head, and she began tunneling through the den wall. An image of food that she had stored earlier this year burned hot in her mind. “Now all of my problems will be solved!” she pondered. Or so she thought…
Tessa knew that there was enough food in the buried pile to last the rest of spring as well. It would be filled to the brim with things that Tessa now longed for. Hazel nuts, acorns, sunflower seeds, dried corn bits, and hickory nuts were all on that list. She was surprised to find that she still knew where the storage was, for it had been a few months ago that she had buried the food for a time like this.
Tessa continued to sink her paws into frost coated earth. Pad, pad, scrape. Tessa continued digging. Her digging began to speed as the soil around her became softer and easier to manage. Suddenly, all of the earth fell away into several hard objects. Tessa sniffed the air. They weren’t rocks as she had thought, they were nuts and seeds. She had done it! Tessa ate her fill of nuts and seeds, and then dozed off yet again.
Tessa awoke 2 months later to find that the air around her was warmer than when she had gone to sleep. She tunneled above ground, and her head was surrounded by fresh moss and grass. The great trees towering overhead had grown a leafy green canopy. Deer were grazing with their wobbly legged fawns. Spring was here at last!