You Are Alive — a story

Giulietta M Spudich
4 min readJan 27, 2024

Please enjoy this beautiful and inspiring story by talented teen, Amber. The message is one that is important to me — our connection with nature and life. I hope you enjoy her story, which she has allowed me to share. Prepare to be enchanted!

‘You are alive’ by Amber Hoare

You walk slowly, the hard ground of the narrow brick path making your footsteps audible but not loud. Moving softly, you advance towards the small stone wall, a wall of ancient pieces of flint set in moss-covered concrete. Then you reach the rusting, little metal gate and it creaks slightly on its hinges when the breeze nudges it back and forth, as if protesting at its aching joints. Perhaps this gate needs replacing, but you don’t notice that as its antiquity seems so natural in this decaying place; the gate’s lichen is no more memorable than the moss on the wall. Going through the gate, you step onto a small, mud track. The track leads away into the woods. On either side there are trees. Oak trees. Big, beautiful, elderly oak trees, stretching their branches out in the sun like they are trying to hug the whole world.

You feel the faint almost-crackle of the almost-dry leaves underfoot, still remaining from last autumn. The archway of trees overhead appears like a net, yet you don’t feel trapped; you feel liberated. Liberated by the woodland, the outdoors, the fresh air. You smile, wide like a grinning kid who has not yet learned the word self-conscious. There is no reason for this smile. Just an enjoyment of life that comes not from complete happiness, and certainly not from lack of trouble, but from an enthusiasm and readiness to greet the world that fewer and fewer people possess. It is a gift. This appreciation of the simple pleasures. You know it is a gift. Please know it is a gift. Because not everyone smiles at a forest, or beams at nature. There is something special inside of you that gives you the power to just enjoy the pleasure of being alive in a single moment. A gust of wind rustles the leaves above you and tickles your cheek. You start to run simply for the joy of it. You race yourself along the small, winding woodland path. You are not running to anything in particular. You are not running from anything in particular. Just running to run. Running for that one moment of weightlessness as you leap over a tree root. The woods blur past you on either side. You feel, even if only for a few minutes, completely alive.

The cottage behind the gate, away from which the woodland path leads, is not yours. You do not live here. You wish you did. Or maybe you don’t wish that, because even the most powerful magic kingdoms can be torn to pieces by the weight of everyday life. That almost unbreakable, almost unchangeable force of routine could be enough to ruin this perfect paradise. The same way the sights you see everyday gradually lose meaning and beauty in your eyes. You are glad you only come here once a year, because every time it feels like you are discovering it again for the first time, yet also like you are coming home after a long interval away. Perhaps these woodlands will always be your home, regardless of where you live.

So, at the end of your stay, when you close the antique gate and wave to the ancient woodland, you are not, despite your love for this place, saying that you will not enjoy yourself in other places. Just that you enjoyed yourself in this woodland. Today. For a second. Here. Now.

Back where you live, you can still smile as the cold breeze bites your face when you set out in the morning before dawn. You can still run just for a few paces to feel that moment of pure exhilaration. You can still enjoy life, the essence of life, without any particularly logical reason to do so. You can still grin at the way the sun shines through the clouds during its ascent, or how the birds sing like nature’s notification, popping up and reminding everyone who has forgotten that they are alive. You are alive. Don’t forget that. You are alive.

Amber is sixteen and lives in Sussex, UK. She loves reading and writing stories. Her stories feature themes of emotion, friendship and connection to nature.



Giulietta M Spudich

I am a children’s author and young writers' workshop leader. Give me a young/teen fantasy novel and a cup of coffee. Magic.