By Erin Hambidge, TIWP Student
A woman walked through the forest. Where her light footsteps touched the ground, green shoots burst through crumbling soil. Where her fingertips brushed the rough bark of trees, leaves blossomed. Flowers once wilted lifted their drooping shoulders to face her. Birds took to the sky, cawing in delight. The shyest hare poked her wiggling nose out of the dark burrow. For the women was light itself, and they knew spring had come.
Another woman soon came, her features harsher, her light brighter. Rustling green grass turned brown and hopeful new shoots sank back into the dry ground. The trees grew heavy, laboring under the weight of bursting fruit. Birds perched sleepily under the safety of shaded branches, their chirps as slow and heavy as their full stomachs. Soon even the birds fell silent, lulled into quiet by the slumbering forest. For this woman was fever herself, and they knew summer had come.
The forest was awakened by another woman, her auburn glow lighting through their haze of slumber. The still brown grasses crumbled into nothing, but small green shoots broke the earth once again. The bursting trees dropped their fruit, and shed green leaves for orange. The forest soon lay covered in carpets of the brightest flame, any green still hidden beneath. The birds grew hungry, their full bellies empty. They fluttered from tree to tree, waiting. Only the hares seemed content, for six small sets of ears followed the shy female as she dug a bigger burrow. No, she was not scared. For this woman promised the safety of the hearth, and she knew fall had come.
As the forest beheld the new woman, they knew she was the last. She radiated coldness and death, and the promise of a long sleep. As she strode beneath the first trees the birds took flight, chasing after the women who walked before. The other animals could only burrow deep into the dark crevices of the earth and hope to find a shred of warmth someone had left behind. The lush carpet of fire crackled before being extinguished entirely. Grass shoots froze over and trees shuddered with deep cold. As the forest watched her they were silent, for she had stolen life itself, and they knew winter had come.