Following Through the Trees

Liese skipped through the back garden towards the playhouse that Teva had built for them.  Frieda was already there.  They were going to have lunch together there.  It was nice to have space of their own, particularly since they had three brothers.

Konrad wasn’t so bad.  He was old enough that he didn’t have any interest in pestering them.  The most he would do was come and get them for meals or check in on them.  Markus was also older than them.  He tended to be more keen on not having them bother him – as if they would!  That left Johannes.

He was younger than them.  Sometimes, he was busy doing his own thing.  Other times, though, he wanted to see what they were doing.  He very much wanted to see what their playhouse was like.  However, Teva had said it was theirs and he could only go in if they invited him.  They never did.  They did girl things there, after all.  He was a boy, so he had no business there.

Liese didn’t feel bad about excluding him from the playhouse.  After all, they didn’t keep him out of their room.  In fact, they often invited him to play with them in there.  There was nothing wrong with having one space that was just for them.  Was there?

As Liese reached the playhouse, she rapped on the door and then peered inside.  “Hey,” she said, grinning at Frieda.  “are you ready for our tea party?”

Frieda nodded.  “It’s not really a tea party, is it,” she said, frowning.  “I mean, we don’t have tea.  We have lemonade instead.”

“It doesn’t matter if we actually drink tea,” Liese said, shaking her head.  She sat down at the little table in the middle of the playhouse.  After a moment, Frieda joined her.  While Liese poured their lemonade, Frieda set out their sandwiches, fruit and vegetables.

While they ate, they discussed their plans for the afternoon.  Sometimes, they would make up plays or put on performances for Teva and their brothers after dinner.  Other times, they went on adventures in the garden.  It was a large enough garden that they could spend a couple hours exploring.

They were just finishing when they heard a sound outside of the playhouse.  For a moment, they just frowned at each other.  It was a scrambling sound that seemed to come from the roof.  Shrugging, they headed outside to looked.

“It’s a squirrel,” Liese said, grinning.  She pointed as the squirrel jumped from the roof to one of the nearby trees. They watched as it scrambled from one tree to the next.

Then, Frieda sprinted into the playhouse.  When she came out, she had their backpacks, a compass and a pair of binoculars.  “Let’s see where it goes,” she said, her eyes bright with excitement.

Nodding, Liese took her own backpack and shut up the playhouse.  Then, they headed through the trees after the squirrel.  It took them a few moments to find the squirrel again.  However, when they did, it was still scampering through the trees.

“It’s heading towards the east,” Frieda said, her voice soft.  By noting which way they were going, it would easy to find their way back to the playhouse once again.

They followed it for some time as it traveled along tree branches.  Then, they broke out into a clearing and the squirrel was scampering across the grass.  The girls paused as it clambered up the railing of a porch.  At the top of the railing, there was a bowl of nuts.

“Some one left treats for the squirrel,” Liese said, lifting the binoculars to her eyes.  She watched as the squirrel stuffed its face with nuts.  Giggling, she handed them to Frieda, so she could see as well.  “He’s filling his face with them,” she said.

Frieda hummed and then gasped.  Lowering the binoculars, she said, “He’s coming back!  Look!”

As she’d said, the squirrel was on his way back towards them.  They crouched low as it ran towards them, so that they didn’t startle it.  It leapt up into a tree.  Then, it was running back the way they’d come, over the tree branches.

They followed it back through the trees until they reached the playhouse once again.  Once there, it scrambled down to the ground of the maple tree that shaded their playhouse.  While they watched in amusement, it proceeded to bury the nuts all around the base of the tree.  Then, it clambered up to the roof of the playhouse once again.

As it scampered away, Frieda looked at Liese.  “I think we can guess where it’s headed,” she said.  When Liese nodded, she giggled. Then, she turned as they heard someone calling their names.  They ducked into the playhouse to leave their things and collect their lunch dishes.  Then, they ran back towards the house.


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