Deep in the forest she dreams of rain. 

She hears the children coming.

They laugh while walking down the winding trail.

She shakes her head, and her long hair stirs the wind.

They hear her.

They feel her breath.

That breath is air.

The air is life.

She smiles and shakes her head again.

Black walnuts fall before their feet.

“We need your help,“ she says. “My tree needs chocolate to survive. We must get it before it starts to rain.”

“Who are you? “ they ask.

“I am Dryad, this tree’s soul mate. If he dies, so shall I.”

“Well, you’re fine then! We have some chocolate bars right here!”

“It is not your kind of chocolate that will save us. It is something you must help me make.”


“It is made from my hair. Cut each strand in three places gently. Be careful not to break it.”

“But it’s so long and beautiful. Won’t you miss it?”

“The tree and I are a part of each other. Our lives are intertwined. From a small acorn, to a young sprout, to a mighty oak – every tree has a dryad that lives inside it. While he sleeps, she keeps guard and watches over him.  They are best friends.”

The children sadly cut her dark locks, as she sighs.

“Now chop them into small pieces and crush them. That is mulch.”

The children prune and chop very carefully making dark rich mulch to feed the tree.

“Mulch is like chocolate for trees.”

The children place the mulch at the base of the tree in a circle, being careful not to cover the roots.

“We are ready for rain and are eternally grateful. Thank you!”

The wind begins to whisper in their ears.

Jewel-like raindrops fall one by one, soon becoming a gentle spring shower.

The tree reaches his branches out to Dryad.

She throws her arms around him.

They hug happily, as they drink in the rainfall.

Revived, the tree springs back to life!

Green leaves appear on the branches.

Flower buds blossom.

Dryad’s hair starts to swirl like ribbons and grows back, long and beautiful just as before.

Joy fills the children’s hearts.

“You saved us and we’ll never forget it,” says Dryad. “Come back if there is anything you need. We will give you air, food and shelter for the rest of your lives.” 

Dryad © 2010 Yelena Burnett. All Rights Reserved.


I too needed to take a bite. And boy, did I have fun doing it! I practiced on two stand-ins while Tom tried several lenses and lighting set-ups on our hero subject. I used my front teeth, my canines and my molars. We were both laughing hysterically.

Behold, my perfect bite! I think Botero would have laughed with us.

Art That Brings Me Joy

Fernando Botero makes me laugh! Tom and I recently viewed a Botero exhibit at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana. It was pure joy! I had seen most of those paintings and sculptures of the comically plump human figures in the past. It was the still life paintings that surprised me. Generally, still life paintings throughout history were done to create a sense of abundance and wealth in the home. They amplified a festive mood with extra food and drink. The items portrayed were perfectly ripened and prepared. They were appetizing and enticing. So imagine my surprise when I saw the Botero still life paintings! Not only were they disproportionate and exaggerated, but they were also damaged. His gargantuan fruit and vegetables were rotting and surrounded by flies. Hilariously ironic!

My favorite of these is this “Pear”.  At first glace, it glows golden and voluptuous inviting me to taste it… I then notice that someone else has already tasted it! Some mysterious creature had bitten into it and vanished without a trace. And there’s more! There seems to be a tiny worm living inside it. He is burrowing corridors, making windows and redecorating the pear’s interior as if it were a new condo. This makes me giggle with delight!