For Brian @ https://bmhonline.wordpress.com/
Brian’s SoundCloud recording of the below wintry tale:
“The sun has forsaken us. In our hubris and our folly we struck the match that burned the world. Held aloft for years, our arms fell, whether from fatigue or spite it matters not. We lit the flame, the sprouting mushroom flames and now we cower in the ashen snow. For Ever-winter has come and the sun has forsaken us.”
I read the lines again. Crispin would have me memorize them for the evening celebration, such as it is. “Never forget,” echoes in his voice. “Those that forget are doomed to relive the mistakes of the past.” We both admit these thoughts, trite though they may be, must be honored.
But, forget? Not likely. Nine months we’ve lived like this. No. Not like this. The first few months were terrible. Terrifying, as if the primal monster that dwells within each of us were released to savage—not the land, not the bounty of what remained of nature, but each other. Terror became all that we knew. Yet eventually it subsided. And then an unnatural winter set in. Spring had warmed, bloomed and died—killed by our hand. Summer’s promise became the lie we live today, the Ever-winter.
“Aye, Crispin, I’ve set to mind most of the words for tonight. Yes, the foundlings have memorized their parts. No, the Travelers have not returned from their scavenging run.”
Tonight is New Years, or so Crispin has declared. His accounting of the days has become a ritual in its own right. Without the sun, without electricity to spin the hands of a clock, the ever-grey would have easily consumed us all. Crispin’s treks out into the half-light to mark the passing of days gives us hope that someday the sun will blaze through the dismal sky.
The little ones have already forgotten the warmth of the sun. The celebration tonight, the turning of the calendar, is all we can offer them. The knowledge that someday they will know the green of grass, the blue of sky and yellow of the sun again.
I return to my task.
“Though we scratch and struggle, our trials will not be in vain. To death’s breath we turn away, seeking the cleansing breeze that surely blows on high. Blow you wind from the north, gusts from the south, storms from the west and gales er’east. Drive these pallid clouds from our sight.”
Here the children will mimic the winds using their filthy cardboards colored blue and white and red and orange. Here Crispin will dip the ladle and divvy out portions of the citrus water we concoct to curtail the scurvy and rickets. And finally, after we’ve all sipped deeply, I’ll complete the reading.
“Winter is a time to bide. To rest and reflect on our sins and endeavors. Though winter lingers, we know, we hope, this season will release its wicked grasp to let the other seasons join us in the sun.”