By Jessica Scott
And so the day wore on, the shadows lengthening into thin lines on the ground. Autumn smiled and drew her leather jacket closer about her shoulders, the burned bronze a pleasing contrast against the burnished gold of her hair. A cool breeze blew a stray lock of it against her cheek, a message that her time on Earth would soon be ending. She knew it wouldn’t be long until Winter brought his harsh winds and cold touch to the world. Her heart beat sped up a little at the thought. She knew she was being impatient but it was hard to wait through her season for Winter to arrive. It was a long time, but in the end, it was always worth it. He was always worth waiting for. There was a time when she had railed against his forcing her away from the land, but she had, in the end, seen him as he truly was; the cold and snow hid the true beauty of his soul. She had finally understood why he had always given in to her sister Spring, though, maybe not so gently at times. That was just his way. It was never to stop Spring from having her season, but to let her know he had power, too. If not for him, her beauty would never be as stunning and appreciated as it was. ‘Spring may be gentle, Autumn thought, but she’s as vain as Aphrodite.’ Spring thought too much about herself while Summer laughed and played her season away, sometimes forgetting her heat could burn too hot at times. Autumn had always been the underappreciated one, the one the other two laughed at. They thought her plain because she always wore deeper, darker colors than they did. Their vibrant colors did make them more noticeable. At one time she had envied them their bright wardrobes, but not any longer.
Autumn walked through the meadow she was standing in, heading west. Spring and Summer had never seen the pure blue of the sky in her eyes as Winter had. They did not like the browns and rusts she painted into the land. They thought them ugly, but Autumn knew better. These plain colors held the depths of the Earth within them, the Earth’s soul as it was. The colors that Spring and Summer tried to hide and cover up, Autumn brought forth for it was beautiful in its plainness. They just did not understand. Their cosmetic surgery hid the stunning bones that held the Earth together, that gave them their power. But Autumn saw the clean lines and bare earth, and she felt the energy that coursed through them. It was deep and strong and it was her job to tap into that power and gently lull the Earth to sleep, to wait through Winter’s freeze so Spring and Summer could shine.
Spring and Summer had never learned that like the earth, Autumn’s true beauty lay hidden deep within her. She hadn’t seen it herself for centuries, until Winter had shown it to her. While Spring had been courted by Hades and Neptune and numerous others, and Summer had Apollo’s eye, Autumn had not once been the center of anyone’s attention. So, she had turned her focus to her time on Earth. She loved turning Summer’s emerald dresses on the trees into glorious gowns of scarlet and gold. The evergreens were the only ones she left untouched for those were Winter’s sentinels, his guard. Stately and tall, they towered over the Earth with strong limbs capable of holding the white uniform Winter left for them in the night.
Autumn inhaled deeply. She could smell the wood fires burning in the homes of the mortals. She loved mortals. They appreciated her. They had had good harvests this year and their celebrations would be merry. She had had centuries to learn how far she could tap into the Earth and draw its power through her and into the surroundings. Still, she could draw too much and kill the harvests. This year she had gone slowly, making sure she left the fields alone so the crops had plenty of time to ripen, giving the mortals plenty of time to gather everything to their homes.
At the edge of the meadow was a wood. She walked forward into it, unafraid. She touched the bark of a tree and looked up at the leaves, some of which were still green. She blew a gentle breath onto the nearest leaf and watched lovingly as it turned a deep red. She loved dressing the trees. It was her favorite part of her work. She was forever trying to turn the trees into the colors of the sunset for she knew she’d miss seeing it once her season was over. Not that she minded overly much. Once Winter’s work was done, he’d join her deep within the Earth’s Heart and they’d sleep and read and love until Autumn’s season returned once more.
She moved slowly through the forest, the falling leaves carpeting the forest floor. Not a sound did she make, not one crackle on the dead leaves, so light was her step. As she walked along, touching a plant here, breathing on a leaf there, and setting the forest on fire with color, she pictured Winter’s face in her mind. His sharp cheekbones angling down to his strong jawline. His skin white against the warm, soft pink of her own. His eyes were sometimes the color of the winter sky, bright blue and clear. Other times they were the pale grey of the clouds before the snow fell, full and heavy, but still mesmerizing in their intensity. His hair was white, as white as the snow he made to fall on the Earth. It was long and soft, falling in waves and reminding her of the drifts she sometimes saw through the crystal globe she and her sisters used to view the Earth as it spun around the sun, Apollo’s great orb. Autumn giggled to herself. She couldn’t help it. Apollo loved to talk about his ‘great orb’ a lot. Winter once commented that Apollo must be compensating for something, effectively shutting Apollo up. Autumn could never think of those two words without giggling now. It also served to make Summer mad, which was sometimes fun. Summer’s storms, they called her tantrums. Autumn laughed aloud. It was a joke. Apollo’s great orb and Summer’s storms. They worked well together though, Summer and Apollo, as if made to complement the other.
© 2014 Jessica Scott.
All Rights Reserved.