Chêne could hear it, calling her name. A whisper shook through the forest around her, branches rustling with excitement as the whisper was heard throughout the grove. The wind was biting, chilly; it was the first cool wind of the season.
The glen hushed, waiting. The younger trees would rustle their leaves in anticipation; for most, this was their first chill in living memory, and they were wild with excitement. Their elders watched from further back, humming. Their song was one of contentment. There was something beautiful in seeing your children and your children's children witness their first chill.
The festive air continued into the night; Chêne felt the sun disappear over the horizon, sleeping as the stars and moon took its place. As the glen began their nightly fast, the fairies came.
It had been nearly a year since the fairies had made an appearance. Chêne sensed the tiny creatures along the ends of her branches, dancing along the outside of her leaves. Their touch was wet; their tiny fingers went to work massaging the reds and oranges into the tips of her leaves. She shivered with pleasure. Chêne heard a few of the younger trees giggle as the fairies started on their leaves.
Chêne always drew more of the tiny creatures; the eldest of the forest, her branches reached far and wide. It took three times as many of the tiny workers to paint her leaves. The fairies worked late into the night, slowly lulling the trees into sleep. Chêne yawned and stretched, her branches creaking in the midnight breeze as she settled down for Winter's Sleep. She heard a few of the younger trees continue to giggle into the night as she nodded off. Her dreams were filled with dancing fairies and warm summer suns as a blanket of snow came in to tuck them all in.