The world was awakening from the frigid desuetude of winter, stretching the torpor from its limbs with the green sigh of a yawn. A thin sweep of snow blanketed the hills, kissing the deciduous treetops of the great forests; the coniferous and evergreen trees that filled the many valleys that were etched into this beautifully chaotic landscape had a similar covering atop their pines. Now this unearthly white was beginning to drip and melt away from the world, leaving behind glistening memories of green and ashen brown that had remained hidden in the months past.
This was the most noticeable metamorphosis of this season: the green. Leaves and grass and shrubs and plants and flowers of all kinds were summoned by the melting snow, a tacit understanding that it was time to awaken. Fresh life pushed through the forest floor that had previously remained a mausoleum of lives past, green emerging from death and decay. Flowers bloomed amongst the wet of the melted snow and a brilliant collective radiance of yellow and red and purple was violently cast into the blue of the cloudless sky as the trees above released their own verdant expanses of leaves.
The forest was as Lazarus in rebirth.
Ere long came the living things once more to meet the color: the birds returned from distant lands and perched idly atop the spindly branches, and once again the forest was met with song that permeated the day’s blue air. Coruscating plumages that dared to rival the flowers below darted between trees in a ravenous attempt to catch one of the many passing insects, while some drifted casually in haphazard loops, suspended in the incandescent light of the sun above. Scampering atop the fresh growth of the forest flower were the energetic squirrels and other such rodents that desperately hid from the larger hawks above. One wrong move for these creatures, one misstep, meant certain disembowelment by the esurient claws of a majestically terrifying bird of prey. However, this threat of impending doom did nothing to quell the intrepid spirits of the little creatures that so scurried about the forest. No, even in terror there could be found beauty here.
All was colorful, and all was alive. Spring was not yet in full effect, but this was certainly the beginning. The overture of a symphony performed by color and life.
Then came the snow.
It was an unexpected, spontaneous whirlwind that quickly swept across the land with a diabolical malevolence. First came the great, billowing clouds, stifling any hint of sunlight from the sky and replacing all the blue in the world with a hauntingly dull grey. The creatures of the world cast their eyes up in questioning innocence, wondering why here, why now. As if in answer, the clouds began to melt, and from them was birthed a snow so wicked and terrible that the very flakes seemed to writhe in anger as they plummeted. And plummet they did, for fall would be too sinless a word to describe the malice that fueled this storm. Without elegance it fell, without beauty, without virtue. Its howl was that of the laughter of a great bellowing daemon that now bewitched the world with his wretched presence.
Where could the living creatures flee? The birds could not fly, for their very wings were immobilized by the gelid sting of the air, and the wicked torrent of the snowfall assailed their fragile bodies, casting them back down to the ground. The squirrels and chipmunks and all other mammals of the forest were pelted violently with the snow’s malevolence; even the moles, safely ensconced in havens beneath the ground, were corrupted by the fowl cold. Nothing that walked the land could withstand this snow. Just as nature had given, nature had taken. And still the snow fell.
As the snow began to amass atop the hills and fill the valleys with its impersonal cold, the very plants of the earth were drowned- the grasses, the shrubs, the flowers, all were extinguished. All traces of the bustling, verdant colors that had blessed the land had been embraced by the breath of winter and wiped from the world. And still the snow fell.
Eventually, there lived not a single breathing creature upon the earth that could still suffer. All was cold. There was only winter. And still the snow fell.
Eventually, the trees themselves were drowned by the horrid caress of the cold. The forests were drowned, the hills leveled, the valleys flooded. And still the snow fell.
But one day, even as the vicious onslaught of winter still cascaded down, there rose a single leaf from the snow. Amongst a field of white, beneath a vile sky that rained down death, there was one single pinprick of absolute purity. The roots of this tree had been buried deep into the earth, deeper than the cold could reach, and now it had pierced through the layers of white to bring with it the color of green.
This harbinger of spring sat atop the field of winter in warm defiance, and still the snow fell.
—Jake Webber, Grade 11.