This is how the Creative Beastie, the Muses (Tripletts who look like Betty White), and I play. I, noticing the change of light outside and a sudden onset of snow flurries, squeal in delight. They tickle the idea of a poem. One would think it ends there. No, because then the idea of a short story told from Winter’s point of view is floated for review. Now, I’m hooked and have to write the thing.
I hope you enjoy the following outlandish story.
Mother Nature had quadruplets. She named them Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring with the surname of Season. The identity of their father is unknown. Please, do not ask her who it is. If Mother Nature wanted you to know, you would know. The rumors flew faster than a chicken chasing a toad when everyone figured out she was pregnant. The current consensus is that she canoodled with a long-haired bearded deity (living in some place called Heaven). Mother Nature has been and continues to be mum about the whole thing.
The Seasons’s job is to oversee the weather patterns. Each quadruplet is assigned a three-month stint, give or take. Mother Nature neglected to leave clear instructions on the exact time for the shift change. This causes lots of bickering between the siblings.
This story isn’t about any of that. It is a story about one Season and a brief conversation with a human. Winter Season is maligned by humans who consider themselves modern, civilized, and the gold standard of species. Humans (a good majority) believe they are not part of the natural world and are in control of the whole thing. Please note that this is not a topic to discuss or bring up when having tea (or any meal, for that matter) with Mother Nature. She becomes irritated as much so, if not more than the irritation one feels when a mosquito is in the vicinity, won’t leave you alone with its whiney buzzing, and then dares to take a nibble. Mother Nature, when irritated, enjoys delivering a special-baked slice of humble pie via tornado, blizzard, or hurricane upon the heads of this exasperating and audacious species. It is not a pretty sight nor a good idea to irritate Mother Nature if one can help it.
Winter Season knew that Autumn was occupied with packing. They decided to make an early visit to the Flatlands of NW Ohio. Why Ohio and this section of it? Winter has a love/hate relationship with this portion of the state. They like to poke fun at it and tease with forecasts of copious amounts of snow only to have it drift to the north or south (sometimes both). It is important to note that by the time November rolls around these parts, Autumn is thoroughly pooped and ready for a nine-month break. They don’t give a rip if Winter shows up early, much to some human’s dismay. However, they are the first to throw a hissy fit when Winter is late.
On this particular day in November, Winter noticed a two-story house with light seeping out of a singular window. They couldn’t remember the last time they spoke to a human. Deciding it was a great, grand, best-ever time for a chat, they announced their arrival with a tonal change in the light outside and a sudden bluster of snowflakes. There was no response.
“Typical human behaviour,” Winter grumbled before tapping on the window.
The human looked up from their laptop and waved. Winter waved in return with a gusty breeze that caused a grouping of ornamental grasses to dance.
“Hi,” said the human, a fluffy middle-aged female by the looks of it.
“Hello,” Winter replied. “Thought I’d stop by, see if you had any questions or wanted to chat. I’m passing through as a reminder that I’m on the way.”
“You are early! I do have some questions. Are you sure you don’t mind?” she asked.
“No, not at all,” Winter replied like a mariachi band playing icy instruments.
“Oh goodie! So, what do you offer? Speaking on behalf of humans who enjoy the arrival of each season, what are you, specifically Winter all about?” the human asked.
Winter considered the question a tad insulting as if a Season had to be about something or have a valid reason (according to humanity) to exist. Each beastie, bird, insect, and reptile adapted to the shift change the Seasons provided. It was a beautiful baked system that kept everything in check. Ever since humans started on this industrial revolution track (and most likely well before that because it’s a thing with this species) they managed to muck it all up. It’s been scheduling chaos between the Seasons for many years now.
“What am all about?” Winter asked, “Did you really ask me that?”
She thought a beat before answering, “Uhm. Yeah. That was a bit rude. I’m sorry. My species likes to do our own thing and believe we know best. I know my ancestors lived a more seasonal based life. It seems like humans were happier when we were more tuned in with the natural world.”
“Well, then there is your answer,” Winter huffed. “Look at the “natural world” that you live in and are part of,” Winter added snow flurry air quotes to emphasize the natural world.
The human pondered while biting her upper lip. Winter wanted to throw icy snowballs at her head.
“Top of the food chain, my left foot!” Winter grumbled under their breath. “Think about what the beasts do or trees! Trees strip and hunker down. Are they sleeping? Are they daydreaming? Or, could they be playing chess with the mycelium?”
The human’s brain attempting to visualize a tree’s roots and mushrooms having hot cocoa while playing a lively chess game made her brow wriggle in a strange boogie-woogie dance. Winter almost laughed out loud at the sight of it.
“If you look back upon the time your species lived connected to the natural world, I herald in a time for simmering, slowing, dreaming, snuggling, hunkering, closeness, and, you will be surprised at this one, warmth. Oh, and let’s not forget connecting and presence!”
“That makes sense. I’m not surprised at warmth. I love a good roaring crackling fire… oh and presents! Sometimes I feel a bit jealous that other beasties get to take a nice long nap.” she replied.
“Really? That’s what you got out that? Presents and a long nap? First, I said presence not presents. Second, think of the energy it takes to eat enough to last through a long nap,” Winter said.
“Yeah, you’re right there. Plus the stretch and strain it would place on our skin. We’d look ridiculous with all that loose after-nap skin hanging about our ankles.” Winter was beginning to think stopping in for a chat was a bad idea.
“I get what your saying,” the human said. “It’s a choice to embrace seasonality, if we work that way. It’s just a tough thing to do with this societal set-up I live in.”
“Uhm, not really,” Winter said. “Use that gray matter betwixt your ears and think about it a bit more.”
“So…” she began, “If I want to make a change in the status quo by becoming more seasonal, I can use your time of year to slow down. I’m in a place where I can simmer and dream. I can use the upcoming holiday season to connect and reconnect with others that I love.”
“And?” Winter questioned.
“It’s another way to resist and clap back at how society wants me to be!” the human shouted. “And I knew you meant presence and not presents. I become quite present when walking out into bone chilling cold or snow finds it way into my socks, shirt or underpants.”
“I’m also beautiful,” Winter said without a spec of modesty.
“Oh, you are and deadly!”
She explained, “Ice storms that leave everything twinkling and sparkling in the bright cold sun can turn off our electricity, thus leaving us vunerable. Or, thick deep multiple feet of snow blanketing everything can also mess up how we stay warm. And don’t get me started on trying to drive in that sort of stuff.”
“Okay, you might have a point there.” Winter conceded.
“You are beautiful though. I’m filled with awe when you cover the land with snow or ice.”
“Aww, shucks, thank you for saying that!” Winter blushed.
“To sum up the gifts you offer it’s a time to reflect, connect and slow down.”
Winter added, “And as much as I don’t like to admit it, it’s also a good time to prepare for Spring’s arrival.”
“Spring reminds me of getting ants in your pants,” she replied.
“I have to remember that one!” Winter, sounding like soft falling snow, laughed. “It’s true. That one likes to tease with warm breezes and naughty stirrings.”
The human gave Winter a hard hairy eyeball stare, “Are you going to show up this year with snow?”
Winter put on their best innocent I-don’t-know-what you-mean-by-that-Ma’am face. “I haven’t sorted out who gets what quite yet. Still working on it.”
“Uh-huh,” she replied. “I’d love to have copious amounts of snow, please. A few snow days from school would be awesome.”
“Besides, I noticed southwestern Michigan and the eastern side of Lake Erie get all the good stuff. It’s not fair!” she added, becoming cranky.
Winter, who did not appreciate being put on the spot or cranky humans replied, “Well, I’ll see what I can do. There is a lot of calculations, tribulations, mathimations, mechanations, and other stuff that goes into who gets what.”
The human wasn’t buying a word of it.
“Well, time for me to get on!” Winter said. “It was nice chatting with you.”
“Harumph,” she replied.
Winter decided they would talk to a human again when they evolved further. The human, done with it all, turned her attention back to the laptop.
Winter heard Autumn stamping their foot and wondered how much of the conversation they heard. Feeling out of sorts, Winter left in a magnificent and gusty breeze.
Autumn swore they heard grumbling and mumbling about Seasons and their hoity-toity attitudes. They smiled because if humans only knew (even a tiny smidge) how it all works, their brains would contort into a baker’s dozen knots, then pack their bags and leave. After all, it was really just a bit much.