TITLE: Sometimes I Want to Be Alone
By Yvonne Blake
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Can you see the lesson without me preaching it?
Sometimes, when I want to be alone, I sit on a branch in the apple tree behind our barn. Its branches are low and easy to reach, and one is curved just right to make a nice seat for me. It is a place where I can think and get away from my pesky little brother, Billy. He wants to play with me all the time, but I’m a big boy now. Sometimes, I just want to be alone.
Corky, my puppy, sniffs around the bottom of the tree. His tail wiggles when he thinks he has found something interesting. I drop a little twig on his back, and he looks up at me. Putting his front paws on the trunk, he whines at me. I wish puppies could climb trees. A chipmunk squeaks nearby, and Corky chases it down a hole. Leaning back against the trunk, I close my eyes.
I hear a train whistle far away and the chugging of a tractor mowing the hayfield. Crickets chirp in the grass, and above me a blue jay squawks. I feel a soft breeze blowing the leaves. It brings the scent of dried hay and ripened corn. The farm smells like our horse and cows and chickens, but it smells good to me. I can even smell the swampy pond where I like to catch frogs. The sweet scent of apples tickles my nose, and I open my eyes.
I look around at the apples hiding beneath the green leaves. One is too little, and another has a worm hole. Oh, look at that big red one way up high! I stand up and hold on tight as I stretch out my fingers. Can I reach it? It snaps from the branch, sending a flutter of leaves into the air and smaller apples thumping to the ground. I take a big bite. The skin pops as my teeth dig deep into it. The sweet juice drips down my chin and I wipe it with my sleeve.
Still standing on my perch in the tree, I peer into the nest that the robins built. It’s empty now, but there were four chirping babies there last summer. From up here, I can see all the way to the road, and I watch a boy riding his bike to town. I can see the steeple of the church and the flag pole in front of the bank. I can see Papa on the tractor down in lower field and Mama hanging sheets out to dry behind the house. There is Billy with a bucket and a big spoon.
Billy walks right under my apple tree and doesn’t even know where I am. He sits down by the old shed and starts to dig. Corky scratches with his paws and helps him. Billy scrapes and dumps the dirt a pile. What a silly thing to do! I’m too big to waste my time digging in the dirt. Billy puts the spoon down and takes something out of the hole. What did he put in the bucket? It made quite a loud clunk! I wonder if it is a marble that I lost, or maybe it’s a quarter.
I climb down from the tree, branch by branch, and jump the last bit into the tall grass and fallen apples. I walk slowly around the barn and behind the shed. Billy looks up at me and smiles. “Hi, Billy,” I say. “Will you let me play with you?” Billy hands me the big spoon. Maybe I’m not too big, after all, to play in the dirt with my little brother.
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